Bellini, Donizetti: Una furtiva lagrima: arias & ensembles

Our rating 
5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

COMPOSERS: Bellini,Donizetti
LABELS: Decca
WORKS: Una furtiva lagrima: arias & ensembles
PERFORMER: Juan Diego Flórez (tenor), etc; Milan Giuseppe Verdi SO & Chorus/ Riccardo Frizza
CATALOGUE NO: 473 440-2
This new recital finds the 30-year-old Peruvian tenor, already a world star, very much on his home ground. A number of attributes combine to bring him outstanding success in this repertoire: a bright, forward and highly appealing tone, an incredible facility in the faster passages and the highest register, and perfect diction. He also characterises well, whether as the melancholy Ernesto, cast-off nephew of Donizetti’s Don Pasquale, or as Tebaldo, the vigorous young rival in Bellini’s version of the Romeo and Juliet story.

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There’s a high level of musicality on display, too. The much-travelled lines of ‘Una furtiva lagrima’, an aria few famous tenors from Caruso onwards have neglected to record, are delivered by Flórez with a delicacy, charm and distinction all his own.

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Sonically, Decca has served him well – this has some of the company’s most vivid and full-bodied sound throughout. Less even are the accompanying forces. The orchestra is good and the conductor neat and attentive. But the choral tone is woolly, and several of the principal singers fleshing out the ensembles are way below Flórez’s high standards. The star-rating is therefore for his exceptional interpretations.