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This is an interesting move for Juan Diego Flórez,from the bel canto and coloratura specialist repertoire to tackling a group of 19th-century French arias, some better known than others and most that the tenor won’t essay on stage. It’s a well-sung selection – no one could deny that Flórez has a remarkable instrument and he surmounts all of the vocal hurdles with ease as one would expect. As recent live experience bears out, his voice is getting slightly richer, almost darker, without losing its flexibility or range. So far so good; but it doesn’t sound very stylish or as though he’s overly enjoying himself here. His Werther, a role he promises to sing live in a couple of years, is suitably ardent, but at its vocal extremes the tenor sounds quite pushed in a way that recalls Carreras when he took his lyric instrument into deeper waters. And his aria from Offenbach’s La belle Hélène, despite its vocal security, misses the joyous insouciance that tenors from Björling to Alagna have brought to it. Roberto Abbado’s conducting seems to follow suit, always accomplished but sometimes over-impassioned.

Francis Muzzu Read the full review on Agora Classica

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