Subscribe to
Opera Today

Receive articles and news via RSS feeds or email subscription.


facebook-icon.png


twitter_logo[1].gif



9780393088953.png

9780521746472.png

0810888688.gif

0810882728.gif

Recently in Recordings

John Joubert's Jane Eyre

Librettists have long mined the literature shelves for narratives that are ripe for musico-dramatic embodiment. On the whole, it’s the short stories and poems - The Turn of the Screw, Eugene Onegin or Death in Venice, for example - that best lend themselves to operatic adaptation.

Through Life and Love: Louise Alder sings Strauss

Soprano Louise Alder has had an eventful few months. Declared ‘Young Singer of the Year’ at the 2017 International Opera Awards in May, the following month she won the Dame Joan Sutherland Audience Prize at the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World.

A Master Baritone in Recital: Sesto Bruscantini, 1981

This is the only disc ever devoted to the art of Sesto Bruscantini (1919–2003). Record collectors value his performance of major baritone roles, especially comic but also serious ones, on many complete opera recordings, such as Il barbiere di Siviglia (with Victoria de los Angeles). He continued to perform at major houses until at least 1985 and even recorded Mozart's Don Alfonso in 1991, when he was 72.

Emalie Savoy: A Portrait

Since 1952, the ARD—the organization of German radio stations—has run an annual competition for young musicians. Winners have included Jessye Norman, Maurice André, Heinz Holliger, and Mitsuko Uchida. Starting in 2015, the CD firm GENUIN has offered, as a separate award, the chance for one of the prize winners to make a CD that can serve as a kind of calling card to the larger musical and music-loving world. In 2016, the second such CD award was given to the Aris Quartett (second-prize winner in the “string quartet” category).

Detlev Glanert : Requiem for Hieronymus Bosch

Detlev Glanert's Requiem for Hieronymus Bosch should be a huge hit. Just as Carl Orff's Carmina Burana appeals to audiences who don't listen to early music (or even to much classical music), Glanert's Requiem for Hieronymus Bosch has all the elements for instant popular success.

A Falstaff Opera in Shakespeare’s Words: Sir John in Love

Only one Shakespeare play has resulted in three operas that get performed today (whether internationally or primarily in one language-region). Perhaps surprisingly, the play in question is a comedy that is sometimes considered a lesser work by the Bard: The Merry Wives of Windsor.

A Resplendent Régine Crespin in Tosca

There have to be special reasons to release a monophonic live recording of a much-recorded opera. Often it can give us the opportunity to hear a singer in a major role that he or she never recorded commercially—or did record on some later occasion, when the voice was no longer fresh. Often a live recording catches the dramatic flow better than certain studio recordings that may be more perfect technically.

Karine Deshayes’s Astonishing New Rossini Recording

Critic and scholar John Barker has several times complained, in the pages of American Record Guide, about Baroque vocal recitals that add instrumental works or movements as supposed relief or (as he nicely calls them) “spacers.”

Knappertsbusch’s Only Recording of Lohengrin Released for the First Time

Hans Knappertsbusch was one of the most renowned Wagner conductors who ever lived. His recordings of Parsifal, especially, are near-legendary among confirmed Wagnerians.

Kathleen Ferrier Remembered

Kathleen Ferrier Remembered, from SOMM Recordings, makes available on CD archive broadcasts of British and German song. All come from BBC broadcasts made between 1947 and 1952. Of the 26 tracks in this collection, 19 are "new", not having been commercially released. The remaining seven have been remastered by sound restoration engineer Ted Kendall. Something here even for those who already own the complete recordings.

Color and Drama in Two Choral Requiems from Post-Napoleonic France

The Requiem text has brought out the best in many composers. Requiem settings by Mozart, Verdi, and Fauré are among the most beloved works among singers and listeners alike, and there are equally wondrous settings by Berlioz and Duruflé, as well as composers from before 1750, notably Jean Gilles.

Matthias Goerne - late Schumann songs, revealed

Matthias Goerne Schumann Lieder, with Markus Hinterhäuser, a new recording from Harmonia Mundi. Singers, especially baritones, often come into their prime as they approach 50, and Goerne, who has been a star since his 20's is now formidably impressive. The colours in his voice have matured, with even greater richness and depth than before.

LALO and COQUARD: La Jacquerie

La Jacquerie—here recorded for the first time—proves to be a wonderful opera, bringing delight upon delight.

Urania Remasters Marriage of Figaro

Good news for lovers of Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro: the famous Living Stereo recording, a co-production of RCA Victor and English Decca, is now available again, well remastered, on Urania.

Opera Rara: new recording of Bellini's Adelson e Salvini

In May 2016, Opera Rara gave Bellini aficionados a treat when they gave a concert performance of Vincenzo Bellini’s first opera, Adelson e Salvini, at the Barbican Hall. The preceding week had been spent in the BBC’s Maida Vale Studios, and this recording, released last month, is a very welcome addition to Opera Rara’s bel canto catalogue.

Jonas Kaufmann : Mahler Das Lied von der Erde

Jonas Kaufmann Mahler Das Lied von der Erde is utterly unique but also works surprisingly well as a musical experience. This won't appeal to superficial listeners, but will reward those who take Mahler seriously enough to value the challenge of new perspectives.

The "Lost" Songs of Morfydd Owen

A new recording, made late last year, Morfydd Owen : Portrait of a Lost Icon, from Tŷ Cerdd, specialists in Welsh music, reveals Owen as one of the more distinctive voices in British music of her era : a grand claim but not without foundation. To this day, Owen's tally of prizes awarded by the Royal Academy of Music remains unrivalled.

Early Swedish opera - Stenhammer world premiere

The Feast at Solhaug : Henrik Ibsen's play Gildet paa Solhaug (1856) inspired Wilhelm Stenhammer's opera Gillet på Solhaug. The world premiere recording is now available via Sterling CD, in a 3 disc set which includes full libretto and background history.

Walter Braunfels Orchestral Songs Vol 2

Honours yet again to Oehms Classics who understand the importance of excellence. A composer as good, and as individual, as Walter Braunfels deserves nothing less.

The Tallis Scholars: Josquin's Missa Di dadi

‘Can great music be inspired by the throw of the dice?’ asks Peter Phillips, director of The Tallis Scholars, in his liner notes to the ensemble’s new recording of Josquin’s Missa Di dadi (The Dice Mass). The fifteenth-century artist certainly had an abundant supply of devotional imagery. As one scholar has put it, during this age there was neither ‘an object nor an action, however trivial, that [was] not constantly correlated with Christ or salvation’.

OPERA TODAY ARCHIVES »

Recordings

Salvatore Licitra -- Forbidden Love
21 Oct 2006

Salvatore Licitra — Forbidden Love

As the careers of the “three tenors” drew to a close, it became more and more obvious that replacements would have to be found, if not for all of them, then certainly for one or two.

Forbidden Love

Salvatore Licitra, tenor, Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano Giuseppe Verdi, Robert Rizzi Brignoli (cond.)

Sony 82876-78852-2 [CD]

$18.98  Click to buy

In an ideal world, we would have a lyric tenor for the bel canto repertory, a lyrico spinto or spinto for the basic Verdi, Puccini, verismo and French repertory, and a dramatic tenor for Otello, Pagliacci, and some of the heavier French operas, such as Samson and Juive. But, in the real world, the bulk of these roles, with the possible exception of Otello, might well be all taken by the same tenor.

The way this reviewer sees it, such a tenor should have a beautiful voice, a secure and reliable top, going up at least to a high C, plenty of squillo, be able to sing with artistry, sensitivity, imagination and musicianship, be a fine actor with an endearing personality, as well as having an interest in expanding the repertory.

My initial reaction on listening to the first of the 14 selections on Salvatore Licitra’s second aria CD, Forbidden Love was something like: “Hey, this could be the guy”. While not quite at their level, his voice is almost beautiful enough to put him in the select company of Lauri-Volpi, Bjoerling, Pavarotti, and Carreras, and well ahead of most other recent tenors. Just as importantly, he exhibits plenty of squillo, and sings with great artistry and sensitivity. There is no way to judge his high C from this CD, since the arias selected just do not go this high. But he did record “Di quella pira” on his debut CD, which I have not heard, and I understand from reviews on the Internet that he has plenty of high Cs.

Looking more closely at the individual selection, I was delighted to see that he starts off with one of the young Verdi’s most thrilling arias: “Come rugiada al cespite” from Ernani, and that he includes the striking cabaletta “O to che l’alma adora.” But I was disappointed to see that he omits the cabaletta to the Luisa Miller aria, and only sings the slow part. The ”Lamento di Federico” from Cilea’s L’arlesiana demonstrates his ability to sing with great lyricism, while in “Vesti la giubba” he sings with deep feeling without excessive sobbing. His voice is not yet powerful enough to be fully satisfactory in the “Dio! Mi potevi scagliar” from Otello, but it is one of the best versions since Mario del Monaco’s.

Perhaps the best selection is the “Improvviso” from Giordano’s Andrea Chenier, which shows off his dramatic abilities a well as his ringing high notes. He grabs you with his first words, and holds your attention throughout.

My one disappointment with this CD was the absence of at least one genuine rarity—an aria that no other singer or almost no other singer had ever recorded. Ideally, such an aria should be from some opera he might eventually be the first to sing and record complete. There are many such operas, including less well known works by composers like Ponchielli, Montemezzi, Giordano, Halévy, or others who are now regarded as “one opera composers”.

This one quibble not withstanding, I think that Licitra has a bright future, and can recommend this CD without hesitation.

Tom Kaufman

Forbidden Love



Send to a friend

Send a link to this article to a friend with an optional message.

Friend's Email Address: (required)

Your Email Address: (required)

Message (optional):