COMPOSERS: Bizet,Delibes,Donizetti,Flotow,Handel & Rimsky-Korsakov,Lalo,Mozart,Rossini,Verdi
WORKS: Tenor arias by Donizetti, Delibes, Lalo, Bizet, Flotow, Verdi, Mozart, Rossini, Handel & Rimsky-Korsakov
PERFORMER: Bruce Ford, Barry Banks (tenor), Mary Plazas (soprano); Geoffrey Mitchell Choir, Philharmonia Orchestra/David Parry
CATALOGUE NO: CHAN 3006
One of the finest of today’s bel canto tenors, Bruce Ford here extends his range to sing nine arias – mostly well-known ones – and two duets, from Handel and Mozart to Verdi and Rimsky-Korsakov. Ford’s attractive timbre, smooth legato and impressive high notes are well deployed throughout this disc.
The opening item, Nemorino’s romanza from L’elisir d’amore is sheer delight, arias from Lalo’s Le roi d’Ys and Bizet’s La jolie fille de Perth are elegantly despatched, and the duets from Delibes’s Lakmé (with the sweet-voiced Mary Plazas) and Rossini’s Armida (with fellow tenor Barry Banks) are equally enjoyable.
What is unusual about this disc is that all of these items are sung in English. Most of their composers would probably agree that they preferred to hear their works performed in the vernacular of the audience, and once one gets used to hearing, for example, ‘I saw the tear that furtively…’ instead of ‘Una furtiva lagrima’, there is added pleasure to be derived from Ford’s clear diction. The final item, superbly rendered, is the most exciting: Almaviva’s rarely heard ‘Cessa di più resistere’ – sorry, this futile argument’ – from Act II of The Barber of Seville. Charles Osborne