Notes and Editorial Reviews
Tenor Kristian Benedikt began his career as a lyric tenor in his native Lithuania, but has since blossomed into one of the opera world’s finest dramatic tenors in challenging roles like Otello. His immensely powerful and dark-hued voice enables him to shine in several of Wagner’s “Heldentenor” roles as well; yet he remains a highly versatile singer who also continues to excel in lyric and spinto roles. In this, Kristian’s debut recording, he proves his wide-ranging artistry in a highly varied program of mostly well-known arias by composers including Verdi, Puccini, Saint-Saens, Massenet, Tchaikovsky and Wagner (among others). He also treats us to a rarely-heard novelty: an aria from his countryman Vytautas Klova’s Pilenai- an opera that is practically unknown beyond Lithuania. Kristian is beautifully supported by the Lithuanian National Symphony Orchestra and the Lithuanian National Opera Chorus under the deft baton of conductor Modestas Pitrenas.
Lithuanian tenor Kristian Benedikt, who started out as a lyrical tenor at the Lithuanian National Opera in Vilnius, has gradually conquered the dramatic repertoire and is today one of leading exponents of the title role in Otello, a role he has sung more than 120 times all around Europe as well as in North and South America. His power and brilliance, which impressed me greatly eight years ago, are even more impressive here and his deep involvement and sensitive soft declamation in the opening Otello aria amply demonstrate why he is such great demand for this role. His rising to a magnificent climax at che mi fa vivo, che mi fa lietocreates goose-pimples, which persist when he delivers a super-charged final santo coll’orrida larva infernal.
Vytautas Klova’s Pilenai is by far the most popular Lithuanian opera, though it is practically unknown outside Lithuania. It is set in the same period as the Ponchielli opera. The aria was originally written for high baritone and Benedikt sings it transposed slightly upwards. Rarities in recitals are always welcome and this programme is a healthy mix between standard arias, more rarely performed pieces and the completely unknown. Conductor Modestas Pitrenas draws excellent singing and playing from the choral and orchestral forces, and Delos’ recording is up to their usual standard. Really good dramatic tenors are still in short supply and Kristian Benedikt is a valuable addition to that supply.
– MusicWeb International