Bizet: Carmen – arias and duets; Puccini: Tosca – excerpts; Turandot – excerpts; Madam Butterfly – excerpts
Freddie De Tommaso (tenor), Lise Davidsen, Natalya Romaniw (soprano), Aigul Akhmetshina (mezzo-soprano); Philharmonia Orchestra/Paolo Arrivabeni
Decca 485 2945 48:32 mins
In this sequel to a much-admired debut, Freddie de Tommaso wisely sticks to roles that he has sung in the theatre or is booked to perform soon. He starts with Tosca and proves a natural Puccinian, producing a steady stream of spun tone in ‘Recondita armonia’. There’s breath control that you rarely hear in the Act I duet with soprano Lise Davidsen – a surprisingly passionate ‘Floria Tosca’. Better yet is Cavaradossi’s ‘E lucevan le stelle’, as De Tommaso reveals himself as a master storyteller. His ‘Nessun Dorma’ is less a triumphant anthem to tenorial masculinity than a man screwing his courage to the sticking point. Only in final ‘Vincero’ does he let rip. And what heft!
He is a young and headstrong Pinkerton in the love duet with soprano Natalya Romaniw as his Butterfly, with careful characterisation as well as vocal finesse. In his final aria ‘Addio fiorito asil’ he seems he really does understand what he has done. If he is less satisfying as Don José, then perhaps he is striving for a faded vocal colouring to convey the emotional cul-de-sac this man has reached. But conductor Paolo Arrivabeni must take some of the blame as he fashionably stretches tempos to breaking point throughout. Yet it allows you to hear this young tenor for what he is – a thoroughbred.