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Cielo e mar
     

Cielo e mar

4.5 2
by Rolando Villazón
 
Whatever affliction caused Rolando Villazón to withdraw from performances at the end of 2007, there's not a hint of vocal trouble on this outstanding recording, the tenor's first solo effort for the prestigious Deutsche Grammophon label. All the usual Villazón trademarks are on display: the rich, dark tone that blossoms in the high range, the impassioned singing, the

Overview

Whatever affliction caused Rolando Villazón to withdraw from performances at the end of 2007, there's not a hint of vocal trouble on this outstanding recording, the tenor's first solo effort for the prestigious Deutsche Grammophon label. All the usual Villazón trademarks are on display: the rich, dark tone that blossoms in the high range, the impassioned singing, the subtle and expressive phrasing. But what makes this CD a cut above a typical Villazón opera recital is the adventurous programming. Yes, the singer starts out with Ponchielli's "Cielo e mar" -- a tenor favorite since the days of Caruso -- finding hidden depth in the familiar melody. Yet the rest of the disc largely avoids the tried and true, unearthing beautiful rarities that attest to the breadth of the 19th-century Italian operatic tradition. If Giuseppi Pietri's "Io conosco un giardino" occasionally appears on tenor recitals, Antonio Carlos Gomez's "Intenditi con Dio" digs deep into unheralded repertory; and if "La dea di tutti i cor" from Saverio Mercadante's Il Giuramento rings few bells, Villazón finds the lyrical charm at its heart, revealing a seldom-heard link between Donizetti and Verdi. The selections from Boito's Mefistofele and Cilea's Adriana Lecouvreur move closer to the tenor canon, and nothing is more central than Verdi, but even here Villazón skirts the overly familiar. The lovely Act Two aria and finale from Luisa Miller may remind us of Verdi's bel canto roots, yet it's the Simon Boccanegra scene that inspires Villazón's most ravishing performance of the disc. Not to be missed.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Stephen Eddins
The Romantic arias Rolando Villazón chose for his first solo recital on Deutsche Grammophon all come from operas he has never sung on-stage. Given the selection, that's not surprising, because there is some pretty obscure material here. The most familiar operas are Verdi's "Luisa Miller" and "Simon Boccanegra," Ponchielli's "La Gioconda," Cilea's "Adriana Lecouvreur," and Boito's "Mephistofele," none of them are exactly at the core of the contemporary repertoire. From there, Villazón reaches even further afield, to works by Mercadante, Pietri, Gomes, and obscure operas by Donizetti and Ponchielli. It's a pleasure to hear a recital devoted to rarities sung with such passion and conviction; it's clear Villazón is thrilled to have discovered these little known or virtually unknown arias and to offer them to modern audiences. The most familiar aria is the title track, "Cielo e Mar!" and with it Villazón sets the tone for the whole album: an intensely warm tone with the substance and richness of a lyric baritone, seamless legato, absolute technical security, and interpretive sensitivity to the variety of musical styles represented. The most familiar arias are, perhaps unsurprisingly, the musical highlights of the album, but some of the rarities are real finds; the cavatina "La dea di tutti I cor" from Mercadante's "Il Guiramento," "Ah! Sei tu fra gli angeli" from Gomes' "Fosca," and the scene from Donizetti's "Poliuto" stand out for their melodically memorable lyricicism, and all the Verdi excerpts display a sense of dramatic urgency and orchestrational sophistication that set them apart in a class by themselves. Baritone Gianluca Alfano, who fills in incidental solo parts in several of the scenes, is very weak and sounds out of place on an undertaking of the quality of this recital. Coro e Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano Giuseppe Verdi, led by Daniele Callegari, provide a solid accompaniment, and the sound is clear, present, and well-balanced.
Gramophone - Patrick O'Connor
Villazón sings them all with admirable intensity, his diction is excellent, and he can float a pianissimo when necessary.... The aria from Boccanegra is one of the best things Villazón has done so far on disc.
Daily Telegraph - Richard Wigmore
In glorious voice, Villazón identifies ardently with each of these dreamy or distraught Romantic heroes.... He compels with his thrilling, darkly burnished tone, generous phrasing and care for legato and shading.
Toronto Star - John Terauds
The Mexican sensation, just turned 36, is, on this fabulous disc of soaring, lesser-known opera arias, at the peak of his form.

Product Details

Release Date:
04/22/2008
Label:
Deutsche Grammophon
UPC:
0028947772248
catalogNumber:
001087102

Related Subjects

Tracks

  1. La Gioconda, opera in 4 acts: Act 2. Cielo e mar
  2. Adriana Lecouvreur, opera: Act 1. La dolcissima effigie sorridente
  3. Il Giuramento, opera: Act 1. La dea di tutti i cor!
  4. Mefistofele, opera in prologue, 4 acts & epilogue: Act 1. Dai campi, dai prati
  5. Maristella, opera: Act 1. Io conosco un giardino
  6. Fosca, opera: Act 4. Intenditi con Dio! - Ah! Se tu sei fra gli
  7. Simon Boccanegra, opera: Act 2. Oh inferno! Amelia qui! - Sento avvampar ne
  8. Poliuto, opera: Act 2. Veleno è l'aura ch'io respiro! - Sfolgorò d
  9. Il Giuramento, opera: Act 2. Compita è omai - Fu celeste quel contento
  10. Adriana Lecouvreur, opera: Act 2. L'anima ho stanca
  11. Il Figliuol Prodigo, opera: Act 4. Il padre!... Il padre mio! - Tenda natal
  12. Mefistofele, opera in prologue, 4 acts & epilogue: Epilogue: Giunto sul passo estremo
  13. Luisa Miller, opera: Act 2. Oh! fede negar potessi - Quando le sere al
  14. Luisa Miller, opera: Act 2. L'ara, o l'avello apprestami

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Cielo e mar 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Mr. Villazon is an extraordinary artist. Cielo e mar is shockingly beautiful.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago