I have received yet another CD from the Metropolitan Opera, this time the 2005-06 repertory. They just pick one number from each opera in the schedule from the EMI and Virgin catalogs. This particular selection seems to reflect a specific, personal viewpoint. Many are from current singers while others are older.
People you might hear at the Met this season are represented:
There is the gorgeous "Una furtiva lagrima" of Rolando Villazon. Why do we like him so much? Because his dark tenor sound is absolutely gorgeous, and he shows intelligence in his phrasing. For me he doesn't scoop and slide enough in Italian repertoire, but he knows how to do it. He can learn.
Roberto Alagna and Angela Gheorghiu sing "N'est-ce plus ma main" from Manon. They are very smooth and stylish together. I could become a fan of Angela. Her French is very nice. These people all sing French very well. She aims very high, a quality to be admired. I hope you reach it, dear.
Natalie Dessay does "Ah!Je veux vivre" from Romeo et Juliette. Her voice is a little fluttery for me, but her style is lovely.
Denyce Graves is very beautiful in "Mon coeur s'ouvre a ta voix". Am I detecting a French revival?
And Placido Domingo singing "E lucevan le stelle". Is he current or older, or both? I'm starting to wish he would ever mess up something.
Mirella Freni is gradually passing into the older category. She is represented here with something from Don Pasquale.
The older singers include Maria Callas, Victoria de los Angeles and Elisabeth Schwarzkopf. The most curious things on this disk are the Wagner cuts. Elisabeth Gruemmer and Regine Crespin are not singers who make me think of Wagner.
Jon Vickers is represented with a very sweet aria from Carmen. The selections reflect a taste for a sweet style of singing. Jon Vickers' performance is so delicate. I did not expect that from him who I knew previously mainly from Otello. A big voice singing an aria for a lyric tenor is not often this wonderful.
It reminds me of ARTS. I wonder what they have in London.
Rolando Villazon only gets better with repeated hearings.