The French Collection by Piotr Beczala: practically perfect!

February 2015 was the day: The French Connection, the long-awaited sequel to Piotr Beczala’s DG debut CD was out.

And it was worth the wait. Not least because of the repertoire: French opera, along with the more lyrical Verdi, is Piotr Beczala’s strong suit. I truly know of no singer who can surpass him in Massenet and Gounod.

His wonderfully juicy tenor voice is light and elegant and his Werther, Des Grieux, Faust and (certainly!) Roméo are among the best interpretations you can expect from the current generation of young tenors. You could say that Beczala is the epitome of French singing.

The tone is set with a perfectly sung “Pourquoi me réveiller” from Werther. Beczala’s languorous recitation betrays not only text understanding, but also (or perhaps mainly?) his affinity with the music. In one of his last interviews, he said he prefers to sing sad roles, roles in which he dies at the end, because then he can express all his feelings. You can really hear this.

That the Polish tenor is gradually moving towards heavier repertoire is rather logical. His voice has developed considerably in depth, without his high notes having to suffer for it.

Don José (Carmen) is therefore on his “to do list”, hopefully he will also add Don Carlos. But most of all, I would love to hear him right now in the complete Herodiade and (why not?) Robert le Diable. And most certainly in “Le Cid”: I cannot remember the last time I heard “Ô” Souverain” sung so beautifully.

The only downside I can find is the duet from Massenet’s Manon, in which he is accompanied by Diana Damrau. Her voice does not appeal to me personally and I find her a not very sexy Manon.

Other than that: a CD to have and to cherish for ever!

Trailer of the album:

The French Collection
Arias by Massenet, Berlioz, Verdi, Donizetti, Boieldieu and Bizet
Piotr Beczala (tenor) with Diana Damrau (soprano)
Orchestre de l’Opera National de Lyon conducted by Alain Altinoglu
DG 4794101

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