This is not just another Tosca; it is Andrea Bocelli's Tosca, made possible by the genre-bending popularity of his solo albums. Thankfully that fact doesn't make it an empty star vehicle, but rather a sincere run at the masterpiece. Zubin Mehta delivers a fluid and well-paced reading, and the relatively obscure cast is committed to the job at hand, both vocally and dramatically. Fiorenza Cedolins is an outstanding heroine, delivering a colorful, engaging, and beautiful performance that is only occasionally marred by vocal harshness. Carlo Guelfi is pitch-perfect as the Baron Scarpia, bringing biting menace to the role while avoiding caricatured villainy. The supporting roles are capably sung, and the Coro del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino delivers a polished performance. This leaves the star, Bocelli, who seems out of place in this company. To be clear: it's not his voice, although he does lack the ringing, stentorian quality one expects from a Puccini tenor, and there are moments where his channel sounds "punched up" at the mixing board. He delivers his two arias well enough, and he has the stuff to deal with the basic vocal demands placed on him. But his singing is shapeless, verbally flat, and missing the dramatic engagement that makes the rest of the cast so good. He seems unaware that opera is more than pleasingly modulated tones delivered on time and on pitch. For that reason, this is a hard recording to recommend. But those who come across it will end up hearing Puccini done well.
AllMusic Review by Allen Schrott
Track Listing - Disc 1
Track Listing - Disc 2