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Bel Canto Spectacular

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Bel Canto Spectacular + Juan Diego Flórez - Rossini Arias
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Product details

  • Audio CD (7 July 2008)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Decca (UMO)
  • ASIN: B0014QNGA0
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 120,986 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Ralph Moore TOP 100 REVIEWER on 8 July 2008
Format: Audio CD
If anything, this recital shows Florez to be in even better voice than in his last album "Voce d'Italia: Arias for Rubini" (see my review). Despite the beauty of Florez' singing there, a few top notes showed signs of strain; here, the voice is more easily produced, sweeter and more characterful than ever before. For me, the plum item is his newly minted account off that old warhorse "Una furtive lagrima"; he sings with power and delicacy, managing some heart-stopping diminuendi and maintaining seamless legato. The Italian version of Florez' calling card aria with the nine high C's is as thrilling as ever and the more interesting for being less frequently heard. The choice of repertoire is judicious: a preponderance of Donizetti but a very varied selection of his arias, then two excerpts from Rossini and one by Bellini ; five are solo arias and the other five are each with a different "guest artist". I cannot, in all honesty, say that I am as impressed by any of those five other singers as I am by Florez himself; Netrebko sounds very like Freni at the beginning of her "Puritani" duet but the voice lacks the older artist's delicacy and nuance - fine singer though she is. The Polish baritone Kwiecien and Patrizia Ciofi are both fine, if nothing special; Ciofi's attractively smoky, slightly breathy voice combines well with Florez in the romantic duet from "Linda di Chamonix", and Kwiecien sings ably but ordinarily, with a rather lumpen sound and a wide vibrato. I positively disliked Daniella Barcellona's rather clumsy, laboured singing as the Marchesa Melibea in the duet from "Il Viaggio a Reims" - her voice really does not match his. Placido Domingo, in the "bonus aria" from Rossini's "Otello" proves that, despite a little straining, his voice is a miracle of preservation.Read more ›
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 12 reviews
36 of 36 people found the following review helpful
Another winner from Florez 8 July 2008
By Ralph Moore - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
If anything, this recital shows Florez to be in even better voice than in his last album "Voce d'Italia: Arias for Rubini" (see my review). Despite the beauty of Florez' singing there, a few top notes showed signs of strain; here, the voice is more easily produced, sweeter and more characterful than ever before. For me, the plum item is his newly minted account off that old warhorse "Una furtive lagrima"; he sings with power and delicacy, managing some heart-stopping diminuendi and maintaining seamless legato. The Italian version of Florez' calling card aria with the nine high C's is as thrilling as ever and the more interesting for being less frequently heard. The choice of repertoire is judicious: a preponderance of Donizetti but a very varied selection of his arias, then two excerpts from Rossini and one by Bellini ; five are solo arias and the other five are each with a different "guest artist". I cannot, in all honesty, say that I am as impressed by any of those five other singers as I am by Florez himself; Netrebko sounds very like Freni at the beginning of her "Puritani" duet but the voice lacks the older artist's delicacy and nuance - fine singer though she is. The Polish baritone Kwiecien and Patrizia Ciofi are both fine, if nothing special; Ciofi's attractively smoky, slightly breathy voice combines well with Florez in the romantic duet from "Linda di Chamonix", and Kwiecien sings ably but ordinarily, with a rather lumpen sound and a wide vibrato. I positively disliked Daniella Barcellona's rather clumsy, laboured singing as the Marchesa Melibea in the duet from "Il Viaggio a Reims" - her voice really does not match his. Placido Domingo, in the "bonus aria" from Rossini's "Otello" proves that, despite a little straining, his voice is a miracle of preservation. Perhaps inviting distinguished guest artists is a confirmation of Florez' standing in the operatic world today and perhaps Decca wished to avoid the charge of monotony which a whole disc of one beautiful, but intense tenor voice can provoke, but the fact remains that the raison d'etre of this recital is Florez himself, and the solo items are the best things on this CD.

The bonus DVD has a not very interesting talk by Florez about bel canto in general, his fellow singers, and the specific repertoire he has chosen to sing on this disc, then two excerpts from RAI and Zurich productions - the former being, of course, THAT aria - this time in French, the second being, rather disappointingly, only the recitative before the big romantic aria "Cerchero lontana terra", not the aria itself. However, rather confusingly, the cover states that we are to have the aria, too -but it doesn't feature on my copy! (I would be interested to know if other purchasers' DVD's have the same flaw - or maybe it's just my copy. I don't think so, as the aria is not mentioned on the menu.) The trailers for the DVD's are quite good for giving a flavour of their quality, giving quite extended snippets, but it's the recital I wanted, not the extra fripperies.
24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
FLOREZ HITS ANOTHER HOME RUN 31 Aug. 2008
By L. Mitnick - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
The previous reviewer alluded to a bonus DVD accompanying this recital. I can't comment on it because it is not included in the particular edition I received upon delivery by Amazon. What I have is the recital itself, which, I suppose, is quite sufficient. It's a real stunner. To my ear, Florez' voice sounds even brighter and sunnier when he sings the "Fille" aria in Italian. The vowels are opened wider, and the voice itself seems to ingratiate itself even more vividly than it does in French. The "Puritani" duet is very, very well done, with Anna Netrebko singing a beautiful Elvira. We we get here is the traditional duet, which does not include the extra music included by Pavarotti and Sutherland on their complete London recording. The "L'Elisir d'Amore" aria "Una Furtiva Lagrima" is spun out like silk, with some new variations I've never encountered before. In fact, all the Donizetti selections are as well done as you are ever likely to hear them, with the duet from "Linda di Chamounix" (with the noted European soprano Patrizia Ciofi) proving that there's a lot more good music in this particular opera than merely the one showpiece soprano aria (made famous by Beverly Sills on her very first recording after she reached international attention). The bonus track contains the two-tenor duet, where Florez is partnered with Placido Domingo no less. Domingo, of course takes the lower line, which is appropriate at this time in his fabulous career (his continued vocal health continues to amaze me - I mean, at age 67, to sing this well, is a miracle), and he makes a grand account of it. Florez, of course, sails through this music like a race horse at the flick of a whip. I am a tremendous admirer of Mr. Florez, and I freely admit that I find him astounding. Unlike the previous reviewer, I do not hear any opaqueness or
hints of strain in his top notes. While I enjoy and repeatedly play the "Arias for Rubini" album of Florez, I do agree with the previous reviewer that this recital is more enjoyable. For anyone who wants to hear truly great singing of a repertoire long known for it's vocal difficulties, you can't go wrong with this. The music just bursts from this beautiful Decca release.
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Bel Canto Spectacular, indeed! 19 Feb. 2009
By wolfgang731 - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
As much as I enjoyed JDF previous effort, Voce D'Italia - Arias For Rubini, there were times when the voice sounded a bit too pressurized and strained, though his musicality and intelligence were never more present. We have none of the former in this new recording, the aptly titled "Bel Canto Spectacular." This recording is also a bit more varied in the repertoire than its predecessor and that makes for a more stimulating sonic experience; it thankfully avoids being tiresome. As thrilling as the bravura arias are, high C after high C (and occasional high D) can prove a bit wearing. There was far too little room left for him to exhibit the seamless legato and the multi-hued qualities of his voice. Last year, I had the pleasure of hearing JDF live in concert and it proved a magical experience, especially after he delivered what to me was the most moving and eloquent "Una Furtiva Lagrima" that I've ever heard, surpassing (sorry folks) Kraus, Gedda, Bjorling and Gigli in terms of phrasing and all around purity of tone and an aching, lyrical quality that nearly brought me to tears. It was a heartfelt a performance as one could possibly wish for. In this recording he's managed to recapture the magic of that evening. What amazes me most about this artist is his ability to make the most difficult musical feats sound positively effortless as if though throwing out 9 high C's were the most routine thing in the world; as natural as yawning. Though I've enjoyed Ciofi in the past, I must admit that I'm not too thrilled with her in the Linda Di Chamounix duet. I found the voice a little lacking in heft and color but it blended nicely with Florez's. Anna Netrebko is in very good voice and her contribution to the Puritani duet wants for nothing. I'm afraid I could have done without Daniela Barcellona's presence. Ms. Barcellona's voice sounded labored and is tinged with a Slavic tonal quality that seems to work exclusively in Eastern European repertoire, but certainly is very much out of place in the frothy world of Rossini's Viaggio A Reims. The contrast between her voice and that of Florez's is positively jarring. Domingo's role is a minor one, but as one has come to expect from this legend, is delivered with commitment and panache; quite comfortable (some straining notwithstanding) in the duet from Otello, which serves as the disc's bonus track. The orchestra provides glorious support as does the chorus in its too brief appearances. Lovers of first rate singing should not pass this up. Vocal recitals such as this are very rare.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
A Promise Fulfilled 1 Feb. 2009
By Stanley H. Nemeth - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Though I've always admired the singing of Juan Diego Florez, I've questioned whether his voice is one the microphone does justice to. Having heard him on several occasions in the opera house, I've lamented the tendency of CDs to highlight an unpleasant stridency in his topmost notes and to fail to capture the sweeter, fully-rounded sound that distinguishes his live performances. Happily, this current CD does the Peruvian tenor far more justice. Though a few topmost note do sound bleated out, for the most part, along with his skills in the upper register and in fioritura passages, the frequent beauty of his voice in mid-range and softer passages for once is adequately captured. He is able to come off a high note into a dimuendo and sound tender without being saccharine.
I agree with an earlier reviewer that Florez' "Una Furtiva Lagrima" is a standout. He ornaments the familiar, beautiful aria in a tasteful way, and he emerges as second to no other current singer in this repertoire.
Simarly, his Rossini duet with an astonishingly fresh sounding Placido Domingo is a must hear for all opera fans. Bravo to the new king of bel canto.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Juan Diego Flórez and Friends Celebrate Bel Canto 2 Sept. 2009
By Grady Harp - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Though Juan Diego Flórez is now well established in the opera houses around the world as the king of bel canto, this new CD reminds of one of his traits too often forgotten: this artist is more about the music than he is with the splendor of career. In this well recorded CD he is joined by distinguished colleagues who share the bel canto repertoire when duets alternate with arias. These 'collaborations' range form the 'incidental' with Placido Domingo in the Rossini 'Otello' to the completely shared duet with Anna Netrebko in Bellini's 'I puritani' - examples only.

But when Flórez stands alone he is even more radiant. His performance of Donizetti's aria 'Una furtiva lacrima' from 'L'elisir d'amore', probably one of the most recorded and most often sung arias in the repertoire, is true bel canto singing. His treatment of the line and his sensitive embellishments refuse to go to the sobbing Italiante style, but instead demonstrate just what the bel canto style is all about. This is a glorious album and one that would serve as a fine introduction to the art of bel canto as well as to the gifts of this young Peruvian tenor extraordinaire. Grady Harp, September 09
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