A superb Rossinian tenor in a so-so compilation of excerpts
Ralph Moore | Bishop's Stortford, UK | 05/07/2010
(3 out of 5 stars)
"There is no doubt that Bruce Ford at his peak is a superb Rossinian tenor; his care with text, the agility, range and eveness of his voice provide real pleasure, reminding us how rare it is to find an artist who combines so many admirable qualities. Too many Rossinin tenors regale us with a mixed falsetto bleat - which bings me to the hideous vocal quality of the companion tenor featured far too often on this disc: William Matteuzzi. He single-handedly constitutes my reason for knocking off one star from my assessment. His horrible, squeezed whine makes a fearful contrast with the virility of Ford's tone; he manages to obtrude in all but two of the fourteen tracks here and leaves me wondering why any label wants him to record for them and how anyone derives pleasure from such a sound. His inadequacy is apparent at every level, from the white top notes to the inaudible low ones - whereas Ford retains firmess of vocal production throughout his impressive range, from ringing top D's to baritonal low notes.
I deduct a second star for the fact that this disc is not a solo recital, merely extracts of ensembles taken from complete Opera Rara recordings, and not all the music - particularly that from "Ricciardo e Zoraide" - is top-drawer Rossini. The best music is from "Otello", although I retain a preference for the old Philips set with Carreras and Von Stade, conducted by Jesús López-Cobos. No libretto is provided.
I wondered why, despite my admiration for Bruce Ford, I rarely felt the impulse to play this disc and the omnipresence of Matteuzzi goes a long way to explain it. Fans of Ford would do better to acquire one of his complete recordings on Opera Rara such as the excellent "Rosmonda d'Inghilterra" with Renee Fleming."
Fine tenor shortchanged by a poor compilation
Ralph Moore | 03/20/2003
(2 out of 5 stars)
"The first thing anyone considering buying a recital disk from any company will want to know is how much of the star singer is actually on the disc? - answer quite a bit, but most of the pieces, by the nature of the Neapolitan "serious opera" style are ensembles where Bruce Ford does not even always get the major spotlight.The second thing anyone will want to know is - is it a new recital (like the fine Matteuzzi 'Ferme tes yeux' disc) or is it a compilation of chunks from Opera Rara's back catalogue (like the 'Tyrants and Lovers' 'Meyerbeer in Italy' CDs)? Answer - what we have here is a compilation, mainly of highlights from two full opera sets. Highlights from Otello fine, but this many highlights from Ricciardo, one of Rossini's least known works, mark the disc out as one for real specialists - who probably will already have bought the full set.And finally, the third thing (or perhaps even first thing) any non-native-Italian purchaser will want to know is does the release include texts and translations? Answer - No, neither.With this in mind, this doesn't provide much competition for the much better chosen, recorded, presented (and cheaper) Florez disc. Further, and I hate to say this because Bruce Ford is still a master of this repertoire, to my ear a lot of the hype about Florez being the new Rossini tenor sounds justified."
Great to get a Rossini disc from this great Rossini tenor
Ralph Moore | 05/25/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Bruce Ford has made quite a name for himself singing Rossini, and it is wonderful to get some of his portrayals on this disc. It is nicely interspersed with duets and ensembles with other great singers, so it makes for a very enjoyable album which never gets boring (I found Florez' Rossini disc boring because it's the same voice for the whole disc)
I listen to it all the time now in the car on the way to work
Definitely worth getting."