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This is a glorious debut recital by a tenor, from whom, if he sings the right roles and keeps way from jet-setting and too much singing, might just be the lyrico-spinto tenor we’ve been waiting for. He has the class of Carlo Bergonzi and a ringing tone which is somewhere between Domingo’s big, dark sound and Pavarotti’s brightness; he sings with a true mezza voce (not a falsetto); he always obeys the composer’s markings and delineates character. He seems incapable of vulgarity, refusing to gulp or sob when a musically expressive gesture will do. The opening aria here–from L’Arlesiana–is so beautifully, touchingly sung that it’s a heartbreaker; he doesn’t take the usually opted-for high note near the end, but never fear: in the Traviata and Bohème excerpts, Villazón offers big, whopping high Cs. This CD is a knockout; let’s hope it’s only the beginning of an illustrious career, both recorded and live. –Robert Levine

Album Info

Label: ‎ Erato
Original Release Date: September 2, 2000
ASIN: ‎ B00018TIOA