WGBH Radio WGBH Radio theclassicalstation.org

Vittorio Grigolo - The Italian Tenor

Grigolo, Vittorio
Release Date: 10/05/2010 
Label:  Sony   Catalog #: 775257   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Giuseppe VerdiGaetano DonizettiGiacomo Puccini
Performer:  Vittorio Grigolo
Conductor:  Pier Giorgio Morandi
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Parma Teatro Regio OrchestraParma Teatro Regio Chorus
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews

I leave it to my colleague Bob Levine to assess the finer qualities of newest tenor sensation Vittorio Grigolo as an opera singer; I come to this major-label debut recording simply as a singer who has heard (and sometimes written about) the major-label debut of nearly every "newest tenor sensation" over the last 25 or so years, and who, like most fans of singing, has his own very definite preferences and prejudices.

Whatever the meaning of the label "THE Italian Tenor", one thing is certain: Vittorio Grigolo is deserving of serious attention from anyone who cares about and loves the operatic tenor voice and beautiful, sensitive, tasteful, musical, technically solid, expansively expressive--as in
Read more big-hearted--singing. Here is a young singer who brings the elements of heart, soul, and mind together in thrilling, captivating harmony, instilling beloved and often belabored arias such as Una furtiva lagrima, Che gelida manina, and E lucevan le stelle with luminous, rich-toned personality--these aren't just arias but utterances from a real feeling person who happens to have vocal chops like we haven't heard in quite a while, especially from an Italian singer.

I never was a fan of Pavarotti--the spread, tension-forged tone possessed a too-bright, hard edge that I just never found appealing. Grigolo, who has something of a claim to Pavarotti's legacy--Pavarotti himself endorsed and predicted the young tenor's future as "Vittorio Primo!"--may remind you at first of a young version of the late legend--albeit technically freer and more facile and tonally alluring. And indeed, if you listen carefully, you hear a similar brightness and strength, a Pavarottian (Italian?) edge in the timbre--but its ultimate expression is realized with an altogether different, more musical, character-centric placement of the ego. Yes, Grigolo is very much front and center--and why not?--but even in these out-of-context arias he affectingly draws us into the emotional core of each setting. In the end you will just be enchanted, captivated, maybe even bedazzled by the sheer freshness and joy and vigor of the singing. (Be sure to take note of your emotional response to the conclusion of the opening aria Quando le sere al placido--you'll be back for more; indeed, you'll marvel over and over at Grigolo's masterful control and shaping of every phrase- and aria ending.)

After years of being less than impressed by promising yet ultimately disappointing aspirants to the throne of world tenorial supremacy, I really believe that here is one who--provided he chooses his roles wisely and guards his most precious asset with his life--could become not only the "Primo" proclaimed by Pavarotti, but one whose voice could be "il più bello" among operatic tenors of the coming decades. Bravo--and buona fortuna!

--David Vernier, ClassicsToday.com

It's too early to faint in the aisles, and I'm gun shy since Rolando Villazon--the most interesting tenor to appear in 10 years--seems to have developed permanent vocal problems; but let's face it, Vittorio Grigolo has a gorgeous voice and sounds like the real thing. By now, the publicity machine has been working overtime and Grigolo himself thinks he is the greatest thing since sliced bread. But on the basis of this recording--I have not heard him live--he is precisely what we used to think of as an "Italian tenor", nationality notwithstanding: a voice of power and sweetness, with a "ping" in the top notes, and a style that includes natural, easy phrasing and portamento, impeccable diction, and a certain morbidezza (softness). He is a lyric tenor (he describes himself as a "full lyric" rather than "leggiero" or "grazie"; he is far from a "spinto" or "eroico")--think early di Stefano, Gigli, Pavarotti, etc., and you're on the right track. And it's a wonderful track--light, bright, and youthful. He has been a "popera" performer for years (not "crossover", mind you) and in fact sang the role of the Shepherd Boy opposite Pavarotti's Cavaradossi years ago, when the late tenor dubbed him "il Pavarottino". Enough about that.

Certain of these roles are too heavy for him now and may always be: Manrico, Des Grieux, Cavaradossi. Others, sung properly on stage (Riccardo in Ballo, Rodolfo in Luisa Miller), could be brilliant. The CD opens with the Luisa aria and it is sung beautifully, with the occasional Gigli-like hitch in the voice, but mostly spotlessly and with great nuance and dynamic shading. Once or twice Grigolo over-extends himself vocally, but he seems incapable of a thoughtless run-through. His "Una furtiva lagrima" is lovely--winsome and gentle; "Parmi veder" and "Possente amor" both have a sexy urgency, but he ends the latter with a big high D that sounds torn from his tightened throat. In fact, high Cs, though plentiful, tend to be a bit squeezed; perhaps the microphone exaggerates it.

Rinuccio's little arietta from Schicchi is sung so brilliantly, with such expression and ardor, that you'll want to hear it again immediately; his "Che gelida manina", taken at a snail's pace, is utterly beautiful, the area of the voice around f-g-a simply gorgeous. The big C is sensuous and victorious. The aria from Le Villi stretches him to his limit but it's thrilling; "Ah si ben mio" is caressing and warm.

There's very little else to say: this CD gives great pleasure, and unless Grigolo decides that he wants to go the route of Cheniers and Josés and Manricos, he may be great for as long as Pavarotti was--a good 25 years. His musical intelligence seems instinctive and he apparently loves to sing. Let's hope for many more years of success. Orchestral accompaniments are excellent.

--Robert Levine, ClassicsToday.com
Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Luisa Miller: Quando le sere al placido by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Vittorio Grigolo (Tenor)
Conductor:  Pier Giorgio Morandi
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Parma Teatro Regio Orchestra,  Parma Teatro Regio Chorus
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1849; Italy 
2.
L'Elisir d'Amore: Una furtiva lagrima by Gaetano Donizetti
Performer:  Vittorio Grigolo (Tenor)
Conductor:  Pier Giorgio Morandi
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Parma Teatro Regio Orchestra,  Parma Teatro Regio Chorus
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1832; Italy 
3.
Rigoletto: Ella mi fu rapita!...Parmi veder le lagrime by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Vittorio Grigolo (Tenor)
Conductor:  Pier Giorgio Morandi
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Parma Teatro Regio Orchestra,  Parma Teatro Regio Chorus
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1851; Italy 
4.
Rigoletto: Parmi veder le lagrime...Possente amor mi chiama by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Vittorio Grigolo (Tenor)
Conductor:  Pier Giorgio Morandi
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Parma Teatro Regio Orchestra,  Parma Teatro Regio Chorus
Written: 1851 
5.
La Favorita: Spirto gentil by Gaetano Donizetti
Performer:  Vittorio Grigolo (Tenor)
Conductor:  Pier Giorgio Morandi
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Parma Teatro Regio Orchestra,  Parma Teatro Regio Chorus
Written: 1843 
6.
La Bohème: Che gelida manina by Giacomo Puccini
Performer:  Vittorio Grigolo (Tenor)
Conductor:  Pier Giorgio Morandi
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Parma Teatro Regio Orchestra,  Parma Teatro Regio Chorus
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1896; Italy 
7.
Gianni Schicchi: Firenze è come un albero fiorito by Giacomo Puccini
Performer:  Vittorio Grigolo (Tenor)
Conductor:  Pier Giorgio Morandi
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Parma Teatro Regio Orchestra,  Parma Teatro Regio Chorus
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1918; Italy 
8.
Le Villi: Ecco la casa dio by Giacomo Puccini
Performer:  Vittorio Grigolo (Tenor)
Conductor:  Pier Giorgio Morandi
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Parma Teatro Regio Orchestra,  Parma Teatro Regio Chorus
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1884; Italy 
9.
Il corsaro: Ah si, ben dite...Tutto parea sorridere by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Vittorio Grigolo (Tenor)
Conductor:  Pier Giorgio Morandi
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Parma Teatro Regio Orchestra,  Parma Teatro Regio Chorus
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1848; Italy 
10.
Il corsaro: Si, de' corsari il fulmine by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Vittorio Grigolo (Tenor)
Conductor:  Pier Giorgio Morandi
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Parma Teatro Regio Orchestra,  Parma Teatro Regio Chorus
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1848; Italy 
11.
Un ballo in maschera: Ma se m' è forza perderti by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Vittorio Grigolo (Tenor)
Conductor:  Pier Giorgio Morandi
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Parma Teatro Regio Orchestra,  Parma Teatro Regio Chorus
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1859; Italy 
12.
Manon Lescaut: Donna non vidi mai by Giacomo Puccini
Performer:  Vittorio Grigolo (Tenor)
Conductor:  Pier Giorgio Morandi
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Parma Teatro Regio Orchestra,  Parma Teatro Regio Chorus
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1893; Italy 
13.
Tosca: E lucevan le stelle by Giacomo Puccini
Performer:  Vittorio Grigolo (Tenor)
Conductor:  Pier Giorgio Morandi
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Parma Teatro Regio Orchestra,  Parma Teatro Regio Chorus
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1900; Italy 
14.
Il trovatore: Ah si, ben mio by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Vittorio Grigolo (Tenor)
Conductor:  Pier Giorgio Morandi
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Parma Teatro Regio Orchestra,  Parma Teatro Regio Chorus
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1853; Italy 
15.
Il trovatore: Ah si, ben mio...Di quella pira by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Vittorio Grigolo (Tenor)
Conductor:  Pier Giorgio Morandi
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Parma Teatro Regio Orchestra,  Parma Teatro Regio Chorus
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1853; Italy 

Customer Reviews

Be the first to review this title
Review This Title
Review This Title Share on Facebook




YOU MUST BE A SUBSCRIBER TO LISTEN TO ARKIVMUSIC STREAMING.
TRY IT NOW FOR FREE!
Sign up now for two weeks of free access to the world's best classical music collection. Keep listening for only $19.95/month - thousands of classical albums for the price of one! Learn more about ArkivMusic Streaming
Aleady a subscriber? Sign In