Massenet, Offenbach, Donizetti, Gounod, Verdi, Meyerbeer, Rossini

Our rating 
3.0 out of 5 star rating 3.0

COMPOSERS: Donizetti,Gounod,Massenet,Meyerbeer,Offenbach,Rossini,Verdi
LABELS: Sony
ALBUM TITLE: Collection: French Arias
WORKS: Arias
PERFORMER: Marcelo Álvarez (tenor); Nice Opera Chorus, Nice PO/Mark Elder
CATALOGUE NO: SK 89650
Just about anyone who saw or heard Marcelo Álvarez’s Duke in last summer’s Rigoletto at Covent Garden or, indeed, his Hoffmann before that, will have had high hopes riding on this recital of arias by Massenet, Offenbach, Donizetti, Gounod, Verdi, Meyerbeer and Rossini. Another of the astonishing current generation of South American tenors (José Cura, Juan Diego Florez, Ramón Vargas among them), this young Peruvian has the voice, the looks and the acting ability to make him a star of the first order – a genuine triple threat. In the CD’s accompanying interview, much is made of the importance of not ‘emphasising technique at the expense of expression’. Unfortunately it isn’t advice he heeds here. For though there’s no faulting the voice – warm, distinctive, steady in the sustained top notes, burnished at

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the bottom – his interpretation is disappointingly cool and one-note: his Don Carlos unmoved (and unmoving), his Werther untroubled, his Romeo unintoxicated, his Faust unenraptured. Only his Hoffmann, perhaps because it’s a role he’s been directed in, seems genuinely animated and impassioned. The disc isn’t helped either by the fact that the sound is weighted in favour of the orchestra – odd in a recording intended to showcase a voice. There are great things to come from Álvarez. But this isn’t one of them. Claire Wrathall