What is it that makes tenors interesting? Their high notes. We put up with tenors because every piece needs a lover, but, from a strictly dramatic point of view, that is as much as can be expected from these swashbuckling heroes of the high Cs. The real movers and shakers of the world of opera are the basses and baritones; it is they who are politically and socially powerful, they who pull the strings, intervening in the action and lording it over life and death – and invariably over money.
Baritone Thomas Hampson and Bass Samuel Ramey perform duets from: Cimarosa's Il matrimonio segreto, Donizetti’s Don Pasquale, Donizetti's Marino Faliero, Bellini’s I puritani, Verdi’s Attila, Verdi’s Don Carlos, Verdi’s Simon Boccanegra, Verdi’s Un giorno di regno (‘King for a Day’)
“The singers adapt … well to the changing moods and characters. In the delightful number from Verdi’s first comedy, Un giorno di regno, they play off each other with a genuine sense of fun. … The idea is a jolly one and so is the title. The programme too has been well devised…” (Gramophone)