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Jaume Aragall en Vivo
07 Feb 2007

Jaume Aragall en Vivo

During any recital by an aging divo there comes a moment of truth when he sings an operatic aria (usually E lucevan le stelle , as the highest note is an A). That is the defining moment when he no longer can hide behind idiosyncratic interpretation, expressive breathing and a lot of clever transpositions.

Jaume Aragall en Vivo: Songs and arias by Bassani, Durante, Tosti,Cardillo, Bellini, Puccini, De Curtis,Sorozabal, Pérez Freire, Di Capua, Pennino.

Jaume Aragall, tenor, Amparo Garcia Cruells, piano.

Columna Musica 1CM0084 [CD]

$15.99  Click to buy

That’s where the audience automatically remembers the younger singer and his recordings and that’s when one grudgingly has to admit the star has aged after all. I remember Nicolai Gedda at De Munt sounding very fresh in a lot of songs and then all at once labouring his way through a Mignon aria he didn’t dare to transpose. That’s where the many older Bergonzi recitals catch the tenor flattening. And that’s where Jaume (his Catalan name) Aragall has to throw in the towel as well in this recital. Suddenly one hears he is somewhat short of breath and he doesn’t phrase adequately. Not so surprising as by the time he gave this recital he already sang 37 years professionally; so think of Beniamino Gigli in 1951.

The middle voice is still audibly Aragall though some harshness has crept into it but it is a fine lyric sound. Do not forget that in the early sixties he was hailed as the greatest promise in opera and it was no co-incidence that in Bologna and at La Scala he got the title role in I Capuleti ed I Montecchi with Luciano Pavarotti taking the second tenor role. What disturbs me more is the unremitting forte without the relief of a piano or a pianissimo. A song like ‘Ay, ay, ay’ so well spun out by Miguel Fleta, loses all its charm and the same goes for ‘A vuchella’. The arie antiche sung in this way serve only to warm up the voice. Aragall is at his best in some canzone napoletane like ‘Pecché’ and ‘Tu ca nun chiagne’ where a full voice is apt. And I offer a reward to the first Spanish company that succeeds in spelling correctly titles in a foreign language on the sleeve. This time we get ‘e lucevan l’estelle’ and ‘tu can nun chiagne’. Aragall-fans will be glad with the issue though lovers of fine tenor singing won’t need the record in their collection.

Jan Neckers

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