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Much more tenorial fun is to be had from Javier Camarena with Contrabandista, a title surely crying out for an exclamation mark. An interesting and original homage to Manuel García, the 19th-century singer, impresario, composer and teacher, the CD is mentored by Cecilia Bartoli and her Music Foundation. (Why does a tenor who is starring at the Met, Paris, Munich and Covent Garden in the first half of 2019 need mentoring?) But it’s a hugely accomplished set of performances, with three world premiere recordings of numbers by Garcìa, plus Zingarelli and Rossini. Bartoli joins Camarena for a duet from the latter’s Armida, which leaves one wishing for a complete performance or recording featuring them. Camarena has a rich-bodied tenor, clarion at full throttle. His acuti are exciting, his phrasing exemplary; his coloratura is remarkable for its blend of robust tone and agility. Not every number is wonderful music, but it is a great opportunity to hear them in such confident performances. Gianluca Capuano conducts with a lean and taut sound.

Francis Muzzu Read the full review on Agora Classica


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