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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
New Kids On The Operatic Block
on 21 June 2014
Until I read the enthusiastic review of this disc in Gramophone I had never heard of the featured artists (he's American, she's Puerto Rican). Looking at some of the accompanying notes and the slightly 'showbiz' photographs, and bearing in mind several of the other reviews here, I thought perhaps this was a case of 'opera-lite' : more than a notch or two above Katharine Jenkins and Russell Watson but somewhat below Angela Gheorghiu and Roberto Alagna. But no : it seems the singers' credentials are quite impressive, including, for example, having sung La Traviata together in a number of major opera houses around the world. Moreover, the disc is 'produced in association with BBC Radio 3 and the BBC Symphony Orchestra', so no dumbing down there. This has, in fact, given me a lot of pleasure and I am rather mystified by some of the adverse comments made by two of the reviewers : is the artists' singing really 'very 'mannered'' and Perez, 'weak and often reedy' ? Not to my ears, although their interpretations may mature as time goes by. The four Broadway numbers are, perhaps, more contentious. The three-minute version of 'If I Loved You' from 'Carousel' is a poor thing compared with the full, 12-minute sequence wonderfully performed by Samuel Ramey and Barbara Cook on an MCA disc; and with 'One Hand, One Heart' from 'West Side Story' we are up against the contention that opera singers, per se, should steer clear of singing roles in which the characters are supposed to be no more than 'tenement teenagers'. The other drawback to this disc is that there are no English translations of the foreign texts - not good. But full marks to the artists for selecting an interesting range of repertoire. And let's hope their marriage doesn't end up like Gheorghiu's and Alagna's.