Listening to this CD, I was reminded of La Fontaine’s fable about the ant and the cricket, the moral of which is, ‘whistling in the summer is fun, but when the winter comes you need your savings’. More or less.
Change the ‘savings’ to voice and you have the secret of Piotr Beczala. Starting with the delicate Mozarts and the most lyrical Verdis, he climbed, via poetic Rodolfo and Massenet’s Des Grieux, to what’s generally considered heavier repertoire. First, a careful step towards Lohengrin and Gustavo (Ballo in Maschera), but then the floodgates opened and voilà! Here is a tenor at the beginning of the third important phase in his professional life, that of the lyrico-spinto.
After Mario (Tosca) and Maurizio (Adriana Lecouvreur), it’s now the turn of Radames and Calaf and these roles are no small endeavour. And guess what? He can do it! He approaches these roles less ‘heroically’ than some, since it’s not really necessary. Listen to his illustrious predecessors whose voices most resembled his, with the sob and the tear, Tauber and Kiepura. He approaches his heroes emotionally and does not shy away from sentiment, which doesn’t mean he robs the role of anything.
What I do regret is that he has chosen the most famous arias from the repertoire. But on the other hand, this has given him a chance to compare himself to others in this repertoire and the comparison is in his favor, especially with regard to his contemporaries.
Radames is not on the CD, but Calaf is, which immediately explains the title. His ‘Nessun dorma’ is mainly tender and the Cor de la Generalitat Valenciana supports him well. There is one downside: ‘Aveto torto … Firenze è come un albero fiorito’ from Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi. Beczala has long since outgrown this role.
English translation Douglas Nasrawi
Puccini, Cilea, Mascagni, Giordano, Leoncavallo, Verdi
Piotr Beczala (tenor)
Evgenya Khomurtova (mezzo-soprano)
Cor de la Generalitat Valenciana
Orquestra de la Comunitat Valenciana conducted by Marco Boemi
Pentatone PTC 5186 733