Verdi, Puccini, Donizetti, Mozart, Gluck, Rossini

COMPOSERS: Donizetti,Gluck,Mozart,Puccini,Rossini,Verdi
WORKS: Operatic excerpts by Verdi, Puccini, Donizetti, Mozart, Gluck and Rossini
PERFORMER: Juan Diego Flórez (tenor); Giuseppe Verdi SO & Chorus, Milan/Carlo Rizzi, Riccardo Frizza, Riccardo Chailly (2002-04)
CATALOGUE NO: 475 8418
This assembly of items from the Peruvian tenor’s discography has been well chosen to highlight both his strengths and the wisdom with which he has held to his ideal repertoire. In the opening Duke’s aria from Rigoletto, his sweetness of tone and careful delineation of notes and text are exemplary. A good Italian speaker could write down every word he sings. The melting delivery of ‘Una furtiva lagrima’ makes this a classic modern account, and there’s a knockout version of Tonio’s aria from La fille du régiment, with its plethora of top Cs, each one unflawed. The two popular Spanish songs drip with Latin charm, but it’s in the pieces by Flórez’s calling-card composer – Rossini – that he is more or less unchallengeable. The sheer technical accomplishment of his singing is astounding, but it’s the way the he finesses this music with the delicacy of a true tenore di grazia that make his performances truly memorable. In the history of Rossini singing on record, these accounts stand comparison with any. The general standard of the orchestral accompaniments is high, the sound quality clear and direct. If you’re still uncertain whether contemporary vocal standards are as high as they were, listen to this. George Hall