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Signor Gaetano (Javier Camarena)

Javier Camarena (tenor); Gli Originali/Riccardo Frizza (Pentatone)

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

Signor Gaetano: arias from Betly, L’elisir d’amore, Roberto Devereux, Don Pasquale etc
Javier Camarena (tenor); Gli Originali/Riccardo Frizza
Pentatone PTC 5186 886   76:03 mins


Maria de Rudenz, Caterina Cornaro, Rosmonda d’Inghilterra… These works and others that feature on this disc were booed, withdrawn, or quietly shelved during Donizetti’s lifetime. Now Mexican tenor Javier Camarena has teamed with the Fondazione Teatro Donizetti – an extremely active Bergamo-based organisation dedicated to promoting its local hero – to prove that rarities can contain music that is still worth hearing. Camarena has sung bel canto roles at leading opera houses the world over and is noted for being only the third singer in 70 years to sing an encore mid-performance at the Met. It’s interesting, then, that he has largely avoided the pyrotechnic showstoppers on this disc. Instead, we have arias and duets from works such as Marino Faliero and Roberto Devereuxthat allow him to plumb the emotional depths, balanced by occasional lighter numbers from the comedies Betly and Il giovedì grasso.

A couple of concessions are made to popular taste: ‘Povero Ernesto’ (Don Pasquale) and the evergreen ‘Una furtiva lagrima’ (L’elisir d’amore), both of which are performed with deep expression and have something genuinely new to say. The voice is elegant, flexible and carefully controlled, with sympathetic support provided by Gli Originali under the baton of Riccardo Frizza.


Alexandra Wilson