Roberto Alagna

Nessun Dorma

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Looking over a pile of recital albums by operatic tenors, a person could easily conclude that there are only a dozen or so arias out there to be sung -- over and over. Not so here. Although its title, Nessun Dorma, suggests otherwise, Roberto Alagna's latest solo album is loaded with arias that will be familiar only to those who know obscure verismo works like Umberto Giordano's La cena delle beffe or Leoncavallo's La bohème, which has been eclipsed by Puccini's opera of the same name. The result is an interesting, and mostly well sung, album that gives a number of neglected operas a moment in the sun. Curiously, the few chestnuts on the album are the least musically satisfying. Alagna sounds unsettled in the titular "Nessun dorma" and occasionally pushed beyond his vocal limits in selections from Giordano's Andrea Chénier and Mascagni's Cavalleria rusticana. The opening of "Cielo e mar!" from Ponchielli's La Gioconda even reveals an alarmingly fuzzy, rough vocal quality. But Alagna finds his stride in "Giulietta, son io" from Zandonai's Giulietto e Romeo -- managing to capture a desperate emotionalism without overstressing himself -- and in general delivers much better performances in the less familiar material. Heartfelt and exciting performances of immediately appealing selections from Leoncavallo's Zingari and Chatterton, and Ermanno Wolf-Ferrari's Sly beg the question of why these arias (maybe even the operas themselves) aren't heard more often. The upshot is that Nessun Dorma opens a window on the emotionally charged and sumptuous world of late nineteenth century Italian opera, and establishes Alagna as an interesting interpreter of that material. Throughout, Mark Elder and the Royal Opera House Orchestra Covent Garden play with color and electricity, lending weight and pathos to the entire album.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
Turandot, opera
1
3:33
Andrea Chénier, opera
2
5:01 Amazon
3
3:03
La Wally, opera (dramma musicale) in 4 acts
4
1:46 Amazon
Giulietta e Romeo, opera
5
4:21 SpotifyAmazon
La bohème, opera
6
3:01 Amazon
7
3:19 Amazon
La Gioconda, opera in 4 acts
8
5:10
Cavalleria rusticana, opera (melodramma) in 1 act
9
3:33 Amazon
10
4:03 Amazon
Adriana Lecouvreur, opera
11
2:47 Amazon
12
2:00
Zingari, opera
13
2:10 Amazon
Chatterton, opera
14
2:41 Amazon
Zazà, opera
15
2:10 Amazon
16
2:55 Amazon
La Cena delle Beffe, opera
17
2:12 Amazon
Fedora, opera
18
1:48
Sly, ovvero La leggenda del dormiente risvegliato, opera
19
4:53 Amazon
Turandot, opera
20
5:04 Amazon
blue highlight denotes track pick