Various Artists

Masters of the Voice: Tenor

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It's great when an album lives up to its name. A few idiosyncrasies aside, Masters of the Voice: Tenor is a great survey of tenor singing, touching on as many of the great singers from the past 40 years as is possible on a two-disc set. The big names, like Domingo, Pavarotti, and Carreras, are of course well represented, but so are a number of less bankable names, like Jon Vickers, Anthony Rolfe Johnson, René Kollo, and James McCracken, whose presence makes the collection much more representative. The music is nicely varied also; although most of the selections are operatic chestnuts, you'll also find "Vi ricorda, o boschi ombrosi" from Monteverdi's L'Orfeo, "If With All Your Hearts" from Mendelssohn's Elijah, and "Now the Great Bear and Pleiades" from Britten's Peter Grimes, just to keep things interesting. Best of all, most of the singers on Masters of the Voice: Tenor are captured at their best, unlike some collections that are assembled from cutting-room leavings. The one real oddity: countertenor Andreas Scholl singing "Che faro senza Euridice?" from Gluck's Orfeo. Although the brief notes in the package make a passing attempt to link the tenor and countertenor singing traditions, the inclusion seems like a jarring afterthought. And a note to the producers: more Jussi Björling, please. Anyone looking for a good sampler of tenors should definitely check this album out, and even operatic diehards may enjoy it as a collection of greatest hits. It's a fun listen.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
Rigoletto, opera
1 2:49
L' elisir d'amore, opera
2 4:40
Der Freischütz, opera, J. 277 (Op. 77)
3 6:44
Guillaume Tell (William Tell), opera
4 9:42
Martha, opera
5 3:04
La fille du régiment, opera
6 1:44
7 5:10
Fidelio, opera, Op. 72
8 5:19
9 4:52
Don Giovanni, opera, K. 527
10 4:49
Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute), opera, K. 620
11 4:40
Serse (Xerxes), opera, HWV 40
12 3:40
Orfeo ed Euridice (Italian version), opera in 3 acts, Wq. 30
13 3:42
La favola d'Orfeo, opera, SV 318
14 2:56
Messiah, oratorio, HWV 56
15 2:30
16 3:52
Le Roi d'Ys, opera in 3 acts
17 3:18
Turandot, opera
18 2:58

Track Listing - Disc 2

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
Aida, opera
1 5:00
La bohème, opera
2 5:18
Samson et Dalila, opera in 3 acts, Op. 47
3 8:41
La Juive, opera
Pagliacci, opera
Requiem Mass, for soloists, chorus & orchestra (Manzoni Requiem)
6 4:18
Andrea Chénier, opera
7 3:03
Elijah (Elias), oratorio, Op. 70
Die Walküre (The Valkyrie), opera, WWV 86b
Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, opera, WWV 96
Werther, lyric drama in 4 acts
11 2:38
Tosca, opera
12 4:24
Cavalleria rusticana, opera (melodramma) in 1 act
13 3:07
L' Arlesiana, opera
Die lustige Witwe (The Merry Widow), operetta
Der Rosenkavalier, opera, Op. 59 (TrV 227)
Peter Grimes, opera, Op. 33
17 2:36
The Rake's Progress, opera in 3 acts
18 2:37
West Side Story, musical
19 2:58
blue highlight denotes track pick