Puccini, Verdi

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COMPOSERS: Puccini,Verdi
WORKS: Arias from Tosca, Turandot,
PERFORMER: Salvatore Licitra (tenor); LSO/Carlo Rizzi
Salvatore Licitra made the headlines in the US when he replaced an ailing Pavarotti in what would have been the latter’s New York Met farewell in Tosca, but even before that he had sung half a dozen Verdi roles with the company of La Scala, Milan. It’s this repertoire that he reprises here in his debut solo album (his live recording of Il trovatore from La Scala has already been issued).


His is a rare voice today – a true Italian tenor sound with the weight to tackle the heavier ‘spinto’ roles such as Manrico in Trovatore, Alvaro in La forza del destino and so on. It’s a solid, if rather monochrome instrument, and his interpretations are careful and sometimes rudimentary. Pretty well all of these Verdian and Puccinian heroes, whatever their predicament, register as identical.


But he doesn’t cut any corners. The often simplified leap down nearly two octaves in the Barcarolle from Ballo he attempts twice, with success, and the top Cs in ‘Di quella pira’ are stirring. Best are Pinkerton’s brief aria of remorse from Butterfly, Gabriele Adorno’s complex scene from Boccanegra and Gustavo’s final renunciation from Ballo. An inconsistent, though undeniably promising singer. George Hall