Verdi Arias from Aida, Il Trovatore, La forza del destino, Don Carlo and Otello
Joseph Calleja (tenor); with Angela Gheorghiu (soprano), Vittorio Vitelli (baritone); Orquestra de la Comunitat Valenciana/Ramón Tebar
Decca 483 1539 65:15 mins
This is an exceptionally well-planned recording, in that it shows today’s most advertised young tenor in duets as well as in solos. Normally in these types of recitals we get a tour through the most hackneyed of Italian or other countries’ operas. In this case – although we start with ‘Celeste Aida’, the most hackneyed and perhaps the least rewarding of the lot, and a couple of bracing arias from Il trovatore – we go on to great duets from Verdi’s La forza del destino, Don Carlo and Otello. For the love duet from Otello, Calleja is partnered by soprano Angela Gheorghiu – music she has never sung in the theatre – but she is not in good voice, whereas he sounds marvellously virile and tireless. His baritone partner in the two tenor-baritone duets is Vittorio Vitelli, and they make a fine pair. Calleja has not yet learnt the required inwardness for Otello’s two great monologues, but he has the voice for all these difficult arias and duets, and so long as he doesn’t attempt too much too soon he may well become the leading Italianate tenor of his generation, and this disc will be looked back on as a mainly happy demonstration of his promise.