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Two superstar tenors tackle new repertoire for our entertainment. Juan Diego Flórez sings Mozart, conducted stylishly by Riccardo Minasi. Flórez has a naturally high vocal placement and solid technique that seemingly isn’t fazed by the challenging writing across the passagio and above. Nor is he daunted by the coloratura, which he sings with ease, as one would expect from a tenor so comfortable with Rossini, and he essays some interesting decorations. His tone has developed more gravitas over the last few years and his style is forthright, so he doesn’t fall into the trap of mimsy Mozart singing. He does differentiate his characters, but one might ask for even more: his Ferrando could sound a little more enraptured, his Don Ottavio more enamoured. So Flórez might not replace your favourite Mozart tenor (supply your own choice), but he will bring much pleasure.

Likewise Jonas Kaufmann with his selection of French arias. He sings some roles he has performed onstage, most notably Werther and Don José, both which suit his dark-hued tenor and vocal thrust. But he also offers some rarities from Thomas’ Mignon (an opera he sang in 2001), a student piece of his from Lalo’s Le roi d’Ys, as well as warhorses from Le Cid and La Juive (would it be too much to hope he might tackle the latter’s tenor role, Eléazar, now the opera is gaining more widespread recognition?) He teases us with the Enée we never did get from him in Les Troyens. Sonya Yoncheva (Manon) and Ludovic Tézier (Les pécheurs) offer glamorous support. Kaufmann pours out his usual rich tone and his surprisingly delicate softsinging. His voice is very forward in the recording, so Bertrand de Billy’s idiomatic conducting takes a back seat. Kaufmann’s French is confident but often strange.

Francis Muzzu Read the full review on Agora Classica

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