The Italian Tenor
WORKS: Opera arias for tenor voice by Donizetti, Puccini & Verdi
PERFORMER: Vittorio Grigolo (tenor), Maria Cioppi (soprano), Luca Casalin (tenor), Danilo Rigosa (bass); Orchestra e Coro del Teatreo Regio di Parma/Pier Giorgio Morandi
CATALOGUE NO: 88697752572
On stage Vittorio Grigolo cuts a vocal dash, whether singing seriously or performing what he calls ‘popera’. But despite the definite article in the title of this debut recital CD Grigolo is neither ‘the’ Italian tenor of the moment nor the much heralded second Pavarotti.
The repertoire is ambitious with hunks of early Verdi (Il corsaro) and Puccini (Le villi) alongside familiar debut material. In ‘Che gelida manina’ from La bohème there are indeed hints of the young Pavarotti, but the ‘squillo’ that made the older singer so exciting isn’t really there. And while ‘Una furtive lagrima’ from L’elisir d’amore starts well there’s a shiver in the voice in the cadenza that begins to grate.
As for ‘E lucevan la stele’ from Tosca it’s here a pop ballad with Grigolo’s Cavaradossi a lovesick youth drooping over his Lambretta rather than a man facing the firing squad.
However, all is not lost. Now and then there are hints of another great Italian-style tenor, the stylish Alfredo Kraus. It’s there in the hushed tone Grigolo adopts for the ‘Favorita del re! … Spirto gentil’ from La favorita and Manrico’s elegant swagger in the cabaletta ‘Di quella pira’. Here is the real promise in this much-hyped release. Christopher Cook