The Romantic Hero
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Established as one of the world’s leading Italian tenors, an integral vehicle in Vittorio’s operatic trajectory has been French opera. His extraordinary international breakthrough came in the role of Des Grieux in Massenet’s Manon alongside Anna Netrebko at the Royal Opera House in 2010. He astounded the audience and critics:
‘The birth of a star’ - EVENING STANDARD
‘The most sensational debut to be heard at Covent Garden for some time’ - THE GUARDIAN
The following year critics applauded his return to the Royal Opera House London to sing the title role in Faust alongside a stellar cast including Angela Gheorghiu, René Pape and Dmitri Hvorostovsky.
His previous professional appearances in key French repertoire also include performances as Romeo in Romeo & Juliette at both La Scala and Los Angeles Opera (both in 2011) and the title role in Zürich Opera House’s production of Les Contes d’Hoffmann that same year.
To the famous heroic arias such as Romeo’s “L’amour, l’amour…Ah, lève-toi soleil”, Des Grieux’s “ah fuyez, douce image” and Faust’s “Salut, demeure chaste et pure”, Vittorio has also added lesser-known arias from La juive , l’Africaine and Le Cid. All roles meet the description of the romantic hero, full of love, passion, and jealousy.
As Vittorio explains:
“In this very special album, my first departure into the French repertoire, I wanted to look back on and explore the kind of figure that is the true romantic hero. It’s the hero that makes me feel alive when I am on stage. I chose the French hero because each aria is special for me in a certain way, and reveals something hidden inside me. For example, the love in Roméo et Juliette is very intense, quite unlike anything today, when everything is so fast. Is it still possible to love like this, to know this kind of feeling?
Manon, Les Contes d’Hoffmann and Le Cid –the roles in these works encompass every aspect of the French hero. Again that is part of the reason for my choice. The Italian way of singing is native to me. But sometimes in life we change course to follow a sign that is not the one of our birth; instead we go forward in the ascendant. The French hero is my ascendant.
Though I started learning to sing using the Italian bel canto technique, I have now got to the point where I am conscious of what I can express in, what I have to say about, the French hero. And that is partly because of my natural temperament. When I was a kid, I was always the hero, I was too much, I had to rein myself in; now I don’t need to, because I can use that aspect of my personality on stage in these marvellous French operas and everybody loves it. What was excessive then in a child works well now for the stage.”
Top Customer Reviews
Top notes allied to an unfailingly beautiful tone come easy to this singer; his top C in "Salut, demeure" soars upward with nary a hint of strain and his poetic delivery of the French text, virtually flawless except for a minor error on "jeter" in the "Carmen" aria, makes him sound entirely idiomatic and fluent. He even emulates the French-speaking Alagna by using the guttural "R" instead of the forward Italianate trill favoured by some singers when singing in this notoriously difficult language.
Great singers like Corelli and Björling were able to span this repertoire, too, and Grigòlo by no means sounds over-parted in it. I still pefer to hear Björling above all in the top B's of "Parais! parais!" but I enjoyed this recital so much that once I had listened once through I immediately started all over again.Read more ›
My reservations about this disc, then, are stylistic rather than vocal, so it's important to say that what bothers me might not bother most listeners. There isn't an ugly sound to be heard, the orchestral work is fine, and the balance of voice and orchestra is well managed. Add to that the fact that here we have an Italian tenor singing less familiar (in some cases) material in excellent French throughout. There's much to enjoy here.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I enjoyed the singing even though some critics were very sniffy about itPublished 14 months ago by Stephen (Opera buff)
Vittorio at his beautiful best ... Throughly worth buying and listening to .Published 15 months ago by Amazon Customer