- Tosca, opera
This Tosca is Andrea Bocelli's second recording of a complete opera, following his La Bohème, and as before, the popular tenor proves an able operatic leading man. He sings Cavaradossi's big arias -- "Recondita armonia," "E lucevan le stelle" -- with supple phrasing, emotional warmth, and the relaxed, natural-sounding voice that is his signature. The last-act "E lucevan" is arguably his finest moment, featuring some well-sustained soft high notes, and he carries off this moving plea dramatically but without resorting to the excessive histrionics of others, although some may find his portrayal undercharacterized. Bocelli's partner, the Italian lyric soprano Fiorenza Cedolins, makes a compelling Tosca, fiery and ardent and possessing a rich, potent voice, though, like her costar, she also floats some beautifully soft high notes. Her "Vissi d'arte," sensitively sung, is a touching highlight in the stirring and lurid second act. Carlo Guelfi is persuasive as the dastardly tyrant Scarpia, and in the small role of Angelotti, the escaped prisoner, the marvelous baritone Ildebrando D'Arcangelo proves a luxurious piece of casting. For the multitude of Bocelli fans who have yet to discover the wonders of Tosca, here's a fine introduction; indeed, the synopsis in the accompanying booklet -- with descriptive captions and extra explanatory text -- seems aimed at novices. Those in the know will still point to Callas and di Stefano's legendary recording as the ultimate Tosca. They may be right, but there ought to be room for Cedolins and Bocelli, too.