Baritone Arias from La traviata, Il Trovotore, Rigoletto, Otello, Nabucco, Ernani, etc
Ludovic Tézier (baritone); Orchestra del Teatro Comunale di Bologna/Frédéric Chaslin
Sony Classical 19439753632 79:50 mins
The sleeve note accompanying Ludovic Tézier’s new disc of baritone arias is entitled ‘The Verdi Chameleon’. It would have made a fitting title for the album as a whole, so variegated are the moods demanded from the singer: nostalgia (Germont), vengefulness (Ford), ardour (Il Conte di Luna), malice (Iago) and sombre reflection (too many roles to mention).
With his richly burnished voice, Tézier gives a compelling account of all these diverse characters but is at his best in the arias that call for psychological nuance and contrasts in vocal shading. Particular highlights include the disc’s curtain-raiser, an authoritative ‘Morir! Tremenda cosa!’ from La forza del destino, and the dying Rodrigue/Rodrigo’s bittersweet aria from Don Carlos/Carlo – presented here in both its French and Italian versions and sufficiently attractive to merit including twice. Expressive support is provided by the Orchestra del Teatro Comunale di Bologna under Frédéric Chaslin, with individual instrumental lines gleaming attractively through the texture. Only once, in Rigoletto’s ‘Cortigiani, vil razza dannata’ – taken here at a gallop – is the balance skewed too much in the orchestra’s favour, threatening to overwhelm the voice.
Critics raved about Tézier’s performance alongside Kaufmann and Netrebko in La forza del destino at Covent Garden in 2019 – his only British outing in Verdian repertoire to date. On the strength of this disc – so much more interesting for featuring something other than the usual over-sucked lollipops – we must hope for a return visit soon. His Iago, Germont, Macbeth and other meaty Verdian roles will be something to relish.