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Rossini – Figaro? Si! (Florian Sempey)

Florian Sempey (baritone), Karine Deshayes (mezzo-soprano); Orchestre National Bordeaux Aquitaine/Marc Minkowski (Alpha Classics)

Our rating 
5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

Rossini – Figaro? Si!
Arias from Il barbiere di Siviglia, La scala di seta, La Cenerentola, L’Italiana in Algeri etc
Florian Sempey (baritone), Karine Deshayes (mezzo-soprano); Orchestre National Bordeaux Aquitaine/Marc Minkowski
Alpha Classics ALPHA791   67:14 mins

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As a child, Florian Sempey was curious to know more about the man whose alabaster bust was displayed above his grandparents’ piano. Fittingly, the bust that sparked the French baritone’s interest in opera now graces the cover of his first solo album, a very personal disc devoted entirely to the music of Rossini.

The appealingly voiced Sempey has sung Figaro in Il barbiere di Siviglia in major opera houses throughout Europe and beyond, and his immersion in the role is abundantly clear in the witty, well-characterised rendition of ‘Largo al factotum’ that opens this recording. But this is not simply an album of lollipops. ‘Amor dolcemente’ from La scala di seta, for instance, showcases the lesser-known Rossini and demonstrates Sempey’s ability to move seamlessly between contemplative and ebullient moods. Arias and duets from La Cenerentola, L’occasione fa il ladro, Le Comte Ory and more are performed with panache by Sempey and friends (including virtuosic mezzo Karine Deshayes), while overtures from Il barbiere di Siviglia and L’Italiana in Algeri nip along cheerfully in the hands of the Orchestre National Bordeaux Aquitaine under Marc Minkowski.

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Alexandra Wilson