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Roberto Alagna - Bel Canto


Release Date: 07/04/2006 
Label:  Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog #: 000686102   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Gaetano DonizettiVincenzo Bellini
Performer:  Roberto AlagnaSimon PreeceAngela GheorghiuRachel Masters,   ... 
Conductor:  Evelino Pidò
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic OrchestraLondon Voices
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 7 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Roberto Alagna's Gramophone Award-winning disc of French arias (EMI, 4/01) was so successful that it's no surprise that some of the finest tracks on this ambitious canter through some of Bellini and Donizetti's best-known operas are those in French. In particular, Alagna's performance of 'Un ange, une femme inconnue' from La favorite has great style and ardour. The head voice he employs at the end is both daring, and I suppose authentic. It's interesting to compare it with Robert Lassalle, in the earliest complete recording (on Marston), who doesn't attempt anything so delicate.

In his notes to the CD, Alagna writes that he was torn between another, similar 'pianissimo, very light' ending to 'Ange si pur' or the more measured
Read more one he has opted for. Fernand in La favorite was a role created by Gilbert Duprez, the tenor often accused of introducing the modern, full-voiced high Cs. He must have been quite something - Poliuto and Dom Sébastien were also Duprez creations. Alagna opens the recital with Poliuto's outburst of jealous rage, melting into religious fervour, 'Sfolgore divino raggio'. This is an aria particularly associated with Franco Corelli in the La Scala recording (EMI, 11/97), and although Alagna sings a fuller version, he cannot quite achieve Corelli's full-voiced dramatic thrust. Similarly, Pollione in Norma (composed for the 'dark and low' tenor Donzelli) sounds rather outside Alagna's natural sphere. The aria is given in a curiously truncated form: anyone familiar with the opera will miss the gong and march that prompts the cabaletta. This is the least successful track but it is followed by a really beautiful account of the first part of the dungeon scene from Roberto Devereux. This is a role that Alagna has sung on stage and I think one can sense an extra committed tension here. What a shame not to go on into the rousing cabaletta - one of Donizetti's most infectious tunes, composed specially for Giovanni Battista Rubini to sing at the first Paris performance in 1838.

The scenes from four operas that were created by Rubini also offer very different challenges. The duet from La sonnambula is beautiful, Gheorghiu and the chorus adding their parts to Alagna's solo. This is so effective that, again, I wished they had gone on into the next part of the scene. The Puritani quartet goes with a good swing, although I find it impossible to imagine Alagna (or Gheorghiu for that matter) in this opera. Perhaps they will prove me wrong. The little aria from Don Pasquale offers a moment's repose from all the high drama, but best of the Rubini items is the aria from Act 1 of Il pirata: a swift cavatina in which the pirate describes the fury of the sea-waves, it has a tune which rather suggests a jolly dance on land.

Alagna's Nemorino in L'elisir d'amore is already familiar from two complete recordings, but he returns to 'Una furtiva lagrima' here with some new decorations and little turns, and once more back in the original key, rather than the lower version he and Evelino Pidô chose for the Decca set. Alagna finishes off the recital with two arias from La fille du regiment. Donizetti composed the role of Tonio for the Parisian tenor Mécène Marié de l'Isle, who must have been a remarkable singer. He went on to be a noted Eléazar in La Juive, switched to baritone roles including William Tell, and had two remarkable daughters, Celestine (the first Carmen) and Paola (the first Clairette in Lecocq's La fille de Madame Angot). None of this may seem to have much to do with the business in hand, but I think it does. Alagna is obviously keenly aware of the different approaches demanded by these arias, composed for six quite different tenors. He polishes off the high Cs in 'Pour mon ame' but it is the quietly passionate 'Pour me rapprocher' that shows him again at his best. While I cannot say I enjoyed this as much as his all-French CD, with the spirited accompaniment provided by the LPO under Pidè, and London Voices when they are needed, this is a satisfying follow-up.

-- Patrick O'Connor, Gramophone [7/2002]
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Works on This Recording

1.
Poliuto: Veleno è l'aura ch'io respiro! by Gaetano Donizetti
Performer:  Roberto Alagna (Tenor)
Conductor:  Evelino Pidò
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1838; Italy 
Length: 2 Minutes 25 Secs. 
Language: Italian 
2.
Poliuto: Sfolgoro divino raggio by Gaetano Donizetti
Performer:  Roberto Alagna (Tenor), Simon Preece (Bass)
Conductor:  Evelino Pidò
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1838; Italy 
Length: 3 Minutes 44 Secs. 
Language: Italian 
3.
La sonnambula: Prendi, l'anell' ti dono by Vincenzo Bellini
Performer:  Angela Gheorghiu (Soprano), Roberto Alagna (Tenor)
Conductor:  Evelino Pidò
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  London Voices
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1831; Italy 
Length: 5 Minutes 17 Secs. 
Language: Italian 
4.
La Favorita: Una vergine, un angiol di Dio by Gaetano Donizetti
Performer:  Roberto Alagna (Tenor)
Conductor:  Evelino Pidò
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1840; Italy 
Length: 3 Minutes 49 Secs. 
Language: French 
5.
La Favorita: Favorita del re! by Gaetano Donizetti
Performer:  Roberto Alagna (Tenor)
Conductor:  Evelino Pidò
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
Written: 1843 
Length: 4 Minutes 40 Secs. 
Language: French 
Notes: This selection continues with "...Ange si pur" 
6.
Don Pasquale: Sogno soave e casto by Gaetano Donizetti
Performer:  Roberto Alagna (Tenor)
Conductor:  Evelino Pidò
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1843; Italy 
Length: 2 Minutes 41 Secs. 
Language: Italian 
7.
Norma: Meco all' altar di Venere...Me protegge by Vincenzo Bellini
Performer:  Roberto Alagna (Tenor)
Conductor:  Evelino Pidò
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1831; Italy 
Length: 4 Minutes 11 Secs. 
Language: Italian 
8.
Roberto Devereux: Ed ancor la tremenda porta by Gaetano Donizetti
Performer:  Roberto Alagna (Tenor)
Conductor:  Evelino Pidò
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1837; Italy 
Length: 6 Minutes 57 Secs. 
Language: Italian 
Notes: This selection is followed by "A te dirò, negli ultimi..." 
9.
Dom Sébastien: Deserto in terra by Gaetano Donizetti
Performer:  Roberto Alagna (Tenor), Rachel Masters (Harp)
Conductor:  Evelino Pidò
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1843; France 
Length: 5 Minutes 33 Secs. 
Language: Italian 
10.
I puritani: A te, o cara, amor talora by Vincenzo Bellini
Performer:  Roberto Alagna (Tenor), Angela Gheorghiu (Soprano), Paul Keohone (Bass),
Simon Preece (Bass)
Conductor:  Evelino Pidò
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  London Voices
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1835; Italy 
Length: 6 Minutes 37 Secs. 
Language: Italian 
11.
L'Elisir d'Amore: Quanto è bella! Quanto è cara! by Gaetano Donizetti
Performer:  Roberto Alagna (Tenor)
Conductor:  Evelino Pidò
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1832; Italy 
Length: 2 Minutes 40 Secs. 
Language: Italian 
12.
L'Elisir d'Amore: Una furtiva lagrima by Gaetano Donizetti
Performer:  John Price (Bassoon), Roberto Alagna (Tenor)
Conductor:  Evelino Pidò
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1832; Italy 
Length: 4 Minutes 22 Secs. 
Language: Italian 
13.
Il pirata: Nel furor delle tempeste by Vincenzo Bellini
Performer:  Roberto Alagna (Tenor), Paul Keohone (Bass)
Conductor:  Evelino Pidò
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1827; Italy 
Length: 3 Minutes 33 Secs. 
Language: Italian 
Notes: This selection begins with "Ascolta..." 
14.
La fille du régiment: Pour me rapprocher de Marie by Gaetano Donizetti
Performer:  Roberto Alagna (Tenor)
Conductor:  Evelino Pidò
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1840; Italy 
Length: 3 Minutes 34 Secs. 
Language: Italian 
15.
La fille du régiment: Ah, mes amis...Pour mon âme by Gaetano Donizetti
Performer:  Roberto Alagna (Tenor), Darren Moore (Baritone)
Conductor:  Evelino Pidò
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  London Voices
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1840; Italy 
Length: 7 Minutes 1 Secs. 
Language: Italian 

Sound Samples

Poliuto
Poliuto
La Sonnanbula
La Favorite: Un ange, une femme inconnue
La Favorite
La Favorite
Don Pasquale
Norma
Norma
Roberto Devereux
Roberto Devereux
Dom Sebastien
I Puritani
L'elisir d'amore
L'elisir d'amore / Act 2: "Una furtiva lagrima"
Il pirata
La fille du régiment
La fille du régiment
La fille du régiment
La fille du régiment

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