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Roberto Alagna - Nessun dorma
Giacomo Puccini, Amilcare Ponchielli, Pietro Mascagni
Roberto Alagna - Nessun dorma
Genre: Classical
  •  Track Listings (20) - Disc #1

Here Roberto Alagna takes on verismo arias, works which require a type of exclamatory delivery very unlike arias from the bel canto period or the French repertoire. The danger for any tenor in this music is overstatement a...  more »


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Here Roberto Alagna takes on verismo arias, works which require a type of exclamatory delivery very unlike arias from the bel canto period or the French repertoire. The danger for any tenor in this music is overstatement and oversinging - passions run high in this music, and the orchestral accompaniment is big and aggressive. Alagna is, for the most part, remarkably successful, bringing interesting nuances to even the most familiar of the arias ("Nessun dorma," "Cielo e mar") and making a fine case for a beautiful, sad aria from Zandonai's Giulietta e Romeo and painting a vivid portrait of the drunken title character from Wolf-Ferrari's Sly. He occasionally sings sharp: a phrase or two at the close of Turiddu's "Addio" from Cavalleria and every so often in the otherwise mellow "Amor ti vieta." But this recital never bores or tires the listener, and there's a good chance that Alagna is finally living up to his reputation as "the fourth tenor." This is terrific, and worth repeated hearings. --Robert Levine

CD Reviews

A Wonderful Collection of Lesser Known Verismo Arias
Timothy Kearney | Hull, MA United States | 01/19/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)

"When I hear Roberto Algana on broadcasts from the Metropolitan Opera, I am usually impressed. I have also been impressed when I have seen him perform in full length operas, especially when he is paired with his wife, soprano Angela Gheorghui. I am also impressed with his complete recordings of operas, but when I hear albums where he is the solo performer, I am often disappointed. His voice is pleasant enough, but somehow it does not always compare with other great tenors, particularly Pavarotti, Corelli, Domingo, or Bergonzi. The great tenors have so established themselves, that at times Alagna seems to pale in comparison. I have often found that when Alagna performs less familiar works, he is usually on more solid ground. For this reason, I approached this recording with some hope. Since so many of the pieces are unfamiliar to modern listeners, I thought he would have a better chance at producing a superior recording.Well, I was certainly pleased with his performance of the less familiar works and appreciate his taking the time to record them. Some of these works can be found on compilations of older recordings, but since we seldom hear performances of ZAZA, Leoncavallo's version of LA BOHEME, LA WALLY, I ZINGARI, or CHATTERTON, we are fortunate to have contemporary interpretations of these works. Alagna seems to have the passion necessary to sing these verismo works and often exudes power and beauty in his renditions. The surprise for me would be his renditions of the more well known pieces. His "Ceilo E Mar" has the beauty we often associate with tenors of the past who have recorded this work. His rendition of "Viva Il Vino Spumeggiante" may be one of the best available. Alagna really stands on his own in this recording.Alagna fans will certainly love this recording, but all opera buff will probably want this CD in their collection, not just for its sheer beauty, but also its array of lesser known pieces we would not otherwise have the opportunity to enjoy."
What a cool recital!
Rosomax | Boulder, CO United States | 02/17/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"After a downright magnificent account of Berlioz, Roberto Alagna ventures into an equally demanding world of verismo. With Ruggero Leoncavallo most prominently featured, a wealth of material abounds.
Some of the grounds covered here were recently treaded by Argentinean tenor José Cura. I would venture to say that while Cura's recital was unusual and interesting, the CD at hand provided a lot more exciting moments in its 65-min time span save for the double-take of "Nessun Dorma." (the "updated" version would be welcome on another disc, I don't believe we need to have them both here for contrast).
Alagna's matured tenor is remarkably agile and the top notes are very secure. Even the rare sharps don't sound out of place. While there is an occasional unsteadiness in upper range, he makes up for it by a strong attack and seemingly endless breath span. He is also able to infuse a little sob when called for - some argue that this sob and not a hair more is what verismo demands. Such treatment of little known aria from Zaza "mai piu, Zaza, raggiar vedro" brought to mind young Carreras on his extremely rare Philips album. It's really a heart-gripping piece and it's a shame that a full recording of the opera is not available. Aside from this brief comparison, I wish Mr. Levine et al would stop the senseless references to the "4th tenor". The only "package" deal that Alagna participates in is with the missus - soprano Angela Georghiu. I sincerely hope he would not ever consider forming another duo or trio and ever venturing into pop. It's better to be a leader than a follower, even if the latter approach makes more money.
With his latest two CDs, Alagna shines as a pioneer of wonderful, but forgotten material. I have little doubt that composers such as Zandonai and Franchetti just found legions of fans thanks to this recital. I hope to be treated to a full recording soon!"
The One Tenor
C. E Witteck | Jackson Heights, NY | 01/03/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)

"In a recent ad, the Rolex Corporation recycled the sobriquet,
"The Fourth Tenor", to this singer. Dear, sweet ladies and gentlemen as Dr. Phil would put it: get real. Nowadays, there is only one tenor: the Corsican Roberto Alagna.The NY Times critic Anthony Tommasini wrote apropos of my father's favorite tenor, Jussi Bjoerling, that "the greatest Italian tenor of the twentieth century was a Swede." Alagna is arguably the finest tenor since Bjoerling. (Here's where disagreements between my Dad and I crop up.) True, Alagna lacks Bjoerling's truly sterling top notes, but, really who does possess them? Nonetheless, Bjoerling was reportedly lazy, thus limiting the number of roles he performed (and recorded). By contrast, Alagna is hardly content to rest on his laurels (seemingly given out by the French government every other week) or on his obvious capacities. He searches out new material and even new mediums, i.e. film. Also, I prefer his warm (Mediterranean?)timbre and how he shapes each aria with his own distinctive stamp. Bjoerling's Nordic power (which deservedly brought the house down at Carnegie Hall, in 1959 with his "Nessun Dorma")may be peerless perfection, but
I still like the earthy sound of Alagna. (I know, Dad, I didn't hear him live, but c'est la vie.) Finally, why the MET has not cast him in the role of Teriddu must remain one of the early mysteries of the new millenium."