Carol S. from PARADISE, CA Reviewed on 8/8/2006...
One of my favorite operatic tenors.
Heppner just may be the perfect tenor.
Rick Holden (sceptic.one@mindspring | Huntsville, AL | 09/27/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"How on earth did I miss this one?! Recorded in 1995, I just stumbled across it the other day. What a voice! Here is that true rarity: a genuine Heldentenor with a sweet, flexible, well-placed voice; and he is definitely NOT a tenor-baritone. I've heard "Nessum Dorma" a thousand times, sung by a hundred tenors, but never like like this--your hair will stand on end! Who said a so-called dramatic tenor can't hit a decent high-C? Heppner not only hits it--dead center--he demolishes it. And the "Un di all'azzurro spazio" is a "textbok" in vocal agility. I know of no other tenor today (or yesterday) who can so perfectly handle the two distinct "styles" of the aria, at times lyrical, and others dramatic. This aria was meant to be difficult and, although many can sing it with fair success, only Heppner grabs it, shakes it for all it's worth, and conquers it. How nice to have a North American (albeit from British Columbia) do us so proud,"
Finally, a real dramatic tenor voice.
Derek Fitzgerald | 09/28/1999
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Since the days of Del Monaco and Corelli, there have not been many dramatic tenors worthy of note. The few dramatic tenors I have seen live in recent years, namely the Russians, Atlantov and Bogachev, and the Americans, Margison and O'Neill, have indeed had big voices but not particularly attractive ones. They have also lacked the musicianship and style of singers like Del Monaco and Corelli, not to mention their top registers! Now comes a tenor like Heppner who, although he cannot fill the shoes of Corelli and Del Monaco, as indeed who can, is nevertheless worthy to walk in their footsteps. Heppner has an immense, bronze colored tenor voice. It is not darkly shaded like Corelli's or perhaps as stentorian as Del Monaco's. But Heppner displays a rich, even timbre throughout his singing, from bottom to top. In many of the arias on this CD, Heppner effectively employs dynamic shading for someone with as big a voice as his. But, above all, Heppner offers us a clinic in fine, subtle legato phrasing. His musicianship is impeccable. Heppner has enough voice and breadth to be patient with these arias, shaping the phrases in long, flowing lines without tiring or compromising his tone. Although sometimes Heppner thins out at the top, I suspect that's more of a problem with the engineering than the voice. One small criticism to be made, however, is that perhaps Heppner's performance is too controlled, lacking the spontaneity and thrill characteristic of performances by greats such as Corelli and Del Monaco. Nevertheless, we should consider outselves lucky to have this wonderful heroic tenor on the stage today."
Heppner -"Beauty and the Beef"
Derek Fitzgerald | 11/02/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Comparing tenors is always risky-no matter what, someone's feelings get hurt.Ben Heppner is, as others have suggested, the leading heldontenor of the day.What seems to separate him from others, with whom he has been compared-Corelli,del Monaco,Melchior, is the obvious fact that Heppner has a stunning lyrical quality to his sound.Many of the Mellochi, dropped larynx technique singers, are simply incapable of producing a "sweet" sound.Size isn't everything.Volume and a sweet sound are qualities that when combined add so much more musical, and hence listening value.Heppner can sing everything, because his lyrical sound is listenable.When will they get it right...a triple forte presentation all the time isn't all there is to singing opera. With Heppner we have a sense of line, modulation and all the musical aspects that make performances enjoyable. As well, Heppner is a fine musician. I dislike over done portamento. Heppner sings and delivers as the composer intended-at least as far as one can tell.I loved Corelli's sound but his magnificence was diminished by a chronic failure to follow the score.And I don't think Del Monaco ever sang anything pianissimo.I am sorry fans, but that isn't good singing.With Heppner we have an artist who delivers music with great musicality. What a concept!This CD offers example after example of how it can and should be done. This CD has all the goods to illustrate the point.Big sound plus sweet sound equals success.Great tenor arias from a great tenor!"
A Fine Recital By Maestro Heppner
Jeffrey B. Andersen | Clinton Twp., Michigan USA | 08/01/1999
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is a typical collection of arias but nontheless it is a recomended disc to those who love great Tenor singing. This man has a very powerful and sensual voice, but here he sounds distant in the recording. It seems at times the Orchestra overpowers Heppner but I know this really can not happen. It is probably an engineering problem. There a few outstanding recordings I would like to point out. Nessun dorma (even though it lacks that last ringing Vincero of Pavarotti like blazen), Testa adorata, The Flower Song from Carmen, and O Paradiso. The Chenier arias lacked a little enthusiasm for my liking. But still Heppner does come through in a brash way. That, to me, is a Tenor."