Vittorio Grigolo

Ave Maria

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Italian tenor Vittorio Grigòlo has been touted as the next Pavarotti, or perhaps as the next Andrea Bocelli. Neither description is really apposite. He has nowhere near the musicality of Pavarotti, but what he does have, unlike Bocelli, is power in reserve. Grigòlo has aimed his music squarely at the large crossover segment of the British classical market, and he has experienced rapidly ballooning success. Here, he moves mostly to the classical side with a well-worn selection of short sacred pieces. There's nothing here to dismay the followers Grigòlo has accumulated so far with the likes of his recording of West Side Story with Hayley Westenra (to whose fans this release is heartily recommended), but he does get to stretch his voice out a bit. The results are mixed. The sound does not vary much from piece to piece, from text to text, or even from phrase to phrase, but there is no question that it's a voice that's enjoyable to hear. It promptly enters the head register and stays there, resulting in a sound that loses none of its pure power while adding a bit of resonance and just a hint of noise. There is every chance that you will fall in love with Grigòlo on first hearing him, although there are plenty of singers who can do more even within the relatively restricted set of materials he gets to work with here. By all means, if you're hooked on Grigòlo, pick the available deluxe version of this release, which includes Schubert's Ave Maria (one might have thought this a natural for the standard version, but perhaps the intent was to push the faithful toward the higher profit margin), along with full lyrics.

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