Verdi Opera Scenes

Our rating 
3.0 out of 5 star rating 3.0

WORKS: Arias and duets from Un ballo in maschera, Don Carlo, Simon Boccanegra & Il trovatore; plus arias by Dvorák, Mozart & Puccini
PERFORMER: Dmitri Hvorostovsky (bass-baritone), Sondra Radvanovsky (soprano); Philharmonia of Russia/ Constantine Orbelian


Ever since his Cardiff victory, Dmitri Hvorostovsky’s sleek dark-brown voice and effortless legato have sounded good in Verdi roles, and rising American soprano Sondra Radanovsky has also made substantial successes in Verdi. But though this 2008 live concert is reasonably enjoyable, it doesn’t reveal an exceptionally well-matched team.

If Hvorostovsky’s tone has become leaner, its smoothness and security are still distinctive; whereas Radanovsky has an idiosyncratic ‘beat’, a fast, controlled vibrato, and just the occasional slide into the note, though it wouldn’t be noticeable in the theatre. She’s a passionate singer, and not uncharacterful; but while one can distinguish Hvorostovsky’s benign Boccanegra from his curtly venomous di Luna, comparisons with Tito Gobbi or Piero Cappucilli suggest how much more feeling he could achieve. Here, at least, the pairing of these singers doesn’t strike many sparks; nor does Constantine Orbelian’s accompaniment add more. The programme’s quite short, too, and more variety might have enlivened things. Michael Scott Rohan