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Rolando Villazón’s career is built not just on his voice, but his ability to convey extremes of temperament, so I was slightly dismayed by the first half of his new disc Treasures of Bel Canto. His tenor sounds in good form, the repertoire suits him vocally, but the first eight songs just come and go with only a couple of bursts of energy; in fact I had to start again as Morpheus claimed me before too long. Bellini and Verdi are evenly sung but don’t ignite the flame. Thankfully, Villazón has four more numbers each by Donizetti and Rossini, and he suddenly springs into life. By the time he gets to a spirited ‘La Danza’ he’s having a great time. Cecilia Bartoli joins him for ‘Les Amants de Séville’ and they convey their enjoyment. Conducted by Marco Armiliato, the arrangements are new and rather swooshy, with their cascading strings veering towards Mantovani at times.

Francis Muzzu Read the full review on Agora Classica

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