This is the debut album of Benjamin Bernheim, signed to the Deutsche Grammophon after several sensational appearances with major opera companies. Like many other debuts, it mixes French and Italian arias, with an odd Tchaikovsky item thrown in, but pay attention, and it will be apparent that Bernheim is a cut above. Raised in Switzerland, he has perhaps a natural way with both French and Italian music. You get the feeling, though, that Bernheim could sing almost anything and make it convincing. His voice is not big, but it has many shades, and he falls easily into the grooves of Massenet and Verdi without seeming to shift gears in any way. Bernheim even champions a little-known composer, Benjamin Godard, whose Dante (1890) seems to fit right into its illustrious company. Maybe that's because Bernheim has a tendency to put his vocal surfaces onto much of the music rather than delving more deeply into the characters, but that will come with time, and as it stands now, the final "Che gelida manina," from Puccini's La bohème, already makes one want to see him on a major operatic stage in the role. Bernheim gets understated support from the PKF-Prague Philharmonia in a notable operatic debut.
AllMusic Review by James Manheim
|L' Elisir D'Amore|
|Roméo et Juliette|
|Lucia di Lammermoor|
|La Damnation de Faust|