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Flexibility and beauty

Ramón Vargas sings Rossini and Donizetti arias -
recommended by

'... his singing is wonderfully musical.'

Rossini and Donizetti opera arias. Ramón Vargas. © 1999/2000 Claves Records

This is a reissue of Ramón Vargas' first solo recording. It was originally released in 1992. It's a little unusual to see a tenor launch a career without a heavy dose of Verdi and Puccini, but these selections are a perfect match for the flexibility and beauty of Vargas' voice. In the album notes Rodolfo Celletti says it's 'rich and velvety, silvery and brilliant' and I agree. A reviewer needs more than the usual number of adjectives. My main addition would be 'effortless'. Rossini favored bel canto and his arias require agility and range. The romantic Donizetti excerpts add emotional variety. They also suggest enough power to take on the more popular operatic composers.

The recital begins with five Rossini arias including two favorites from Il Barbiere di Siviglia. 'Ecco ridente in cielo' is the first and immediately demonstrates the young singer's appeal [listen -- track 1, 1:00-2:34]. 'Languir per una bella' from L'Italiana in Algeri confirms the listener's initial impression. Vargas has everything he needs to be exceptional in Rossini [listen -- track 3, 3:10-4:44], and since this recording he has been an important part of several highly successful performances of Rossini operas. Gramophone called Decca's Il Turco in Italia, with Vargas in the role of Narciso, the best operatic release of 1998.

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Copyright © 2 June 2004 Ron Bierman, San Diego, USA


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