Forget vocal fireworks, long-held high notes, tenorial over-emoting, and blazes of sound: listening to Romanian tenor Petre Munteanu is an entirely different experience. If you have ever enjoyed the likes of Tito Schipa, Cesare Valletti, and Leopold Simoneau, then Munteanu is the man for you. He sang primarily in the late-1940s and '50s all over Italy, at the Edinburgh Festival, at Wexford, Bregenz, and many other venues; his repertoire included the composers represented here as well as Bach and Schubert.
Like the tenors named above, he was an elegant tenore di grazia, incapable of a vulgar sound or gesture, with a somewhat short top--his B-natural at the close of "La donna e mobile" is fine here, but it's clearRead more that it's the very top of his voice. His use of legato and portamento is even more natural than Schipa's, and the slight melancholy in his voice makes him ideal as, say, Ernesto in Don Pasquale, as Ottavio in "Dalla sua pace", and Ferrando in "Un aura amorosa", which receive exquisite, languid readings, with just enough dramatic emphasis to build character. His piano and pianissimo singing are astonishing; the tonal center is never lost. He brings a buoyancy to the first- and last-act music of the Duke in Rigoletto that lightens the character and defines "carefree". The voice is somewhat pressed in Edgardo's Tomb Scene and Rodolfo's "Quando le sere al placido", but he refuses to resort to tricks and blustering. This is a beautiful recital, apparently recorded for radio, with unidentified orchestras and conductors, in excellent mono sound.