Having mined the obvious crossover sources of music for his undeniably mellifluous voice, the phenomenally successful Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli has taken to the stage and to recordings in several standards of the operatic repertory. He obviously hopes for respect from Italy's operatic community, and this he deserves: in each of his performances he has striven to master the relevant tradition rather than just delivering the arias that work that way in Bocelli voice and faking the rest. So it is here in this recording of Gounod's Roméo et Juliette (1867), an opera that somewhat de-emphasizes the tragic element of its source material. Instead, the focus rests on a series of lovely romantic duets between the titular lead characters. This is all to the good for Bocelli, for it plays to his strengths, and he has a similar collaborator in the lyric soprano Maite Alberola. Does he show signs of strain, which may be growing as he enters his sixth decade? Certainly. This recording was made over no fewer than eight nights at a series of performances at the Teatro Carlo Felice in Genoa, Italy, and that may be because the tenor was ordered onto vocal rest during the opera's run. In several places he's overpowered by the Orchestra del Carlo Felice di Genova or by his ensemble partners. The operatic hard core, which goes looking for vocal flaws, will find them. But the fact is that in this rather Italian-style opera he seems comfortable and does a reasonable job. The high-powered young bucks of opera may have vocal problems, too, and they don't have Bocelli's knack for snaring a wide audience. The recording of the production, handsome to judge from the lavish photos (a DVD is on the way), is nicely put together by Decca's engineers; several of the supporting singers have fun with their roles; and in general the whole thing hangs together and does its star credit. And, if you're wondering whether Bocelli has been lost to the world of popular music, the CD version of this release comes with a flyer advertising an upcoming album of love songs.
AllMusic Review by James Manheim
Track Listing - Disc 1
|Roméo et Juliette|
Act 1. No. 2a. Recitatif et scène. Non! non! je ne veux pas t'écouter plus longtemps... / No. 3. Ariette. Ah! Je veux vivre dans le rêve qui m'enivre
Track Listing - Disc 2
|Roméo et Juliette|