Colpito Qui M'avete...Un Di All'azzurro Spazio (Improvviso)
Come Un Bel Di Di Maggio
Quando A Solden
Giulietta, Son Io
Non Parlate Cosi...Io Non Ho Che Una Povera Stanzetta
Musetta! O Gioia Della Mia Dimora!...Testa Adorata
Cielo E Mar!
Comare Lola...Viva Il Vino Spumeggiante
Mamma! Quel Vino E Generoso
La Dolcissima Effigie Sorridente
L'Anima Ho Stanca, E La Meta E Lontana
Dammi Un Amore Selvaggio E Ribelle
Che Piu Mi Resta! Tu Sola A Me Rimani
E Un Riso Gentil Qual'alba D'April
Mai Piu, Zaza, Raggiar Vedro
Tornato E Maggio Dopo Lungo Viaggio
Amor Ti Vieta
Un Orso In Musoliera Innamorato
Nessun Dorma!...O Sole! Vita! Eternita!
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 »nd 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« less
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
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."
Alagna brings verismo favorites and rarities to 'real life'
Joy Fleisig | New York, NY United States | 03/21/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The composers of the verismo school made it their mission to take opera away from the gods, royalty and nobles which it had exclusively depicted in the previous centuries and to finally have it concern people who lived 'real lives.' Unfortunately, too many opera fans and performers - especially tenors - make the mistake of assuming that the intense passions and 'crude realism' depicted by these composers is a license for excessive sobbing, gulping, screaming, macho posturing and other inartistic distortions of the music and drama. Roberto Alagna doesn't. What is so wonderful about his new disc of verismo arias is that none of what he sings is here merely a 'tenor showpiece'. His emotion is absolutely genuine, never 'look at me emote!'. He is always totally in tune with the dramatic situations, and serves them with a wide palette of tonal colors and vivid word-painting made even more intense by the clarity of his Italian diction, as superb as his native French. Although he has plenty of power and drama when required, more often he sings sweetly, smoothly, gently, and lyrically, even in the heaviest repertory. Best of all, Alagna's recent tendency to overuse the darker, rougher sides of his voice in recordings of Italian works has disappeared. This CD is his best work in that language and his singing here bodes extremely well for his future live excursions into these roles. The title track 'Nessun Dorma' sets the stage for much of what follows. I can think of no higher praise than to say that it recalls that of Jussi Bjorling. Although Alagna doesn't have Bjorling's blazing voice and unsurpassable tonal beauty, he provides just as much sensitivity, nuance, and soft singing - this is a young man in love with a beautiful princess, not a soccer fan. His Andrea Chenier truly is a poet - youthful, passionate and desperate, and is Loris is equally impressive. Turridu in 'Cavalleria Rusticana' is surely an ideal vehicle for this tenor of Sicilian parentage, with his high spirits and smile in the voice for the drinking song turning serious and repentant for 'Addio alla madre'. For Enzo in 'La Gioconda', Alagna's 'Cielo e mar' is thoughtful and introspective, with a gorgeous diminuendo on 'O sogni d'or'. And what a joy to have Maurizio in 'Adriana Lecouvreur' sung by such a beautiful lyric voice, especially with more lovely pianissimo singing in 'L'anima ho stanca'! Can we hope for at least a live performance of the complete opera with his wife Angela Gheorghiu, who would be ideal in the title role?Of course, any CD project Alagna undertakes will include a high percentage of rarities, and the very best of these are 'variations on a theme' to operas that Alagna is already famous for singing. Many consider his greatest role to be Romeo in Gounod's 'Romeo et Juliette', so it is no surprise that he is just as moving a Romeo in the tender and passionate tomb scene from Zandonai's 'Giulietta e Romeo'. In going from Puccini's version of 'La Boheme' to Leoncavallo's, Alagna switches from Rodolfo to Marcello, who is the tenor lead in this version. Having heard this opera in its entirety, I had originally thought that it was interesting but clearly inferior to the Puccini. Now I'm beginning to think all it needs is the right cast! More Leoncavallo rarities show Alagna at his most lighthearted and ebullient, even while playing some rather unsympathetic characters, from the feckless, selfish prince in 'I Zingari' to the married man having an affair with the title character in 'Zaza'. But in the wonderful 'Tu sola a mei rimani, poesia' from 'Chatterton', written by Leoncavallo when he was 17, Alagna is once again a heroic figure unlucky in love.The 'Song of the Bear' from Wolf- Ferrari's 'Sly' is another triumph. Alagna darkens his tone to a rich bronze to become both the drunken poet of the title and his alter ego, the pathetic, lovestruck performing bear. He even improvises a delightful growl after 'voglio l'orsa!' ('I want the she-bear!'). Giordano's 'La Cene della Beffe' with its tale of a tenor jester's terrible revenge, would be a superb stage vehicle for Alagna's considerable dramatic talents, although here we only hear the character sweetly serenading about love in springtime. It is also nice to hear 'Quando a Solden', Hagenbach's anguished apology to the title character from Catalani's 'La Wally', an opera known mainly for the soprano aria 'Ebben? Ne andro lontano'.The only problem I have with this disc, and I considered but decided against deducting the final star because of this, is that at least in the familiar selections I find conductor Mark Elder's tempos a little too slow. Although this allows Alagna to be at his most expressive, it takes away from the drama and urgency that is so necessary in this music. The Covent Garden orchestra does their usual splendid job, as does London Voices in their choral contribution, and Marianne Coterill and Tasmin Dalley are fine as Lola and Mamma Lucia. In addition to a wonderful background essay by John Steane, the documentation includes full texts and translations and - FINALLY - a biography of Alagna, as well as one of Elder.I hope Alagna will get the opportunity to perform much of this material on stage, especially the rarities, although it might be best to limit his appearances in these roles to small theaters. Although Alagna has recently left EMI to go freelance, I am sure we will hear and see more of him in this and other interesting repertory - especially as he wants all his roles on DVD. Until then, "Nessun Dorma" is an ideal showcase for the marvelous voice and adventurous spirit of one of the greatest tenors of our day."
Eclectic & Interesting...
Jon M. De Benedictis | Fairfield, CT United States | 11/20/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is quite an entertaining CD, indeed! Though it is not without its flaws, it makes a strong case for two unjustly criticized aspects of todays opera world: verismo & Roberto Alagna.
Verismo may seem like a tough sell to some: it is over-the-top, melodramatic, and downright absurb sometimes. And yet, musically, it is so rich and passionate that it can often move one to tears. Boring opera purists would disagree, but I would take verismo over most snooze-fest German operas or emotionally empty Mozart works.
Roberto Alagna is plagued by what some seem as over-hype and his widely-publicized marriage to the diva, Angela Gheorgiou. But, when you get right down to it, Alagna is the real deal. His voice is powerful, ringing, sensous, and he has a keen sense of how to use this voice. Face it folks- he's the best we've got these days. And we should be glad we have him! In the past, I hve found Alagna voice to be a tad stiff...Lacking feeling. That is far from the case here. He is alive with passion and intensity in each aria here, something necessary for verismo. Those who have any doubt should check out his singing of the aria "Io Non Ho Che Una Povera Stanzetta" from Leoncavallo's LA BOHEME. The subtle sob his voice makes on the last phrase, "sempre vi vedra," can easily give one goosebumps!!
In general, this disc finds Alagna in most unfamiliar territory, but it works!! Critics may raise an eyebrow at his choice to do this album, and rightly so, but for the most part, he triumphs.
Now, why the album is called "Nessun Dorma" is beyond me. TURANDOT is the most un-verismo of all Puccini operas. Perhaphs the arias from the uber-verismo IL TABARRO would be better here. Oh well. "Nessun Dorma" is probably a way to get more people to buy this.
Alagna's renderings of "Nessun Dorma," the two arias each from ANDREA CHENIER & ADRIANA LECOUVREUER, and the selections from GIOCONDA and CAVALLERIA RUSTICANA won't exactly erase memories of Corelli or Domingo, but Alagna does better here than past lyric tenors who bullied their voices into these arias (Carreras, Di Stefano, Shicoff, etc).
Where he does succeed amazingly are the rare, obscure selections. His renderings of the two Leoncavallo BOHEME arias are terrific! The same must be said for his versions of the arias from ZAZA and the ultra-obscure Leoncavallo opera CHATTERTON. These arias alone could make a case for a revival of Leoncavallo rarities!
Alagna sings with such passion and conviction here that one can't help but be amazed by what they are hearing.
Verismo is a natural progression for Alagna as his voice gets darker with age. While I'm not suggesting that he abandon the Massenet Des Grieux for the Puccini Des Grieux, I do think that he could be an excellent verismo singer in years to come.
The only flaw is that there weren't even more obscure verismo works here! While Leoncavallo is well represented, I would've loved to have heard more from the likes of Zandonai, Cilea, Ponchielli & Wolf-Ferrari. Or what about works from such forgotten composers as Mascagni & Franchetti? I certainly would've preferred that to hearing NESSUN DORMA twice.
All in all, this CD is a find because it showcases the talents of one of the best singers out there today and a forgotten opera craze of yesteryear."