This is a long quote from a review of Cavalleria in the Washington Post. Dolora Zajick was the Santuza.
"Salvatore Licitra is the most maddening of today's maddening crop of almost-but-not-quite-there tenors taking the lead roles around the opera world. He's maddening because he has a glorious voice and is all over the place in the way he uses it. If a singer onstage Sunday could be criticized for pumping out sound without inflection, it was he; he almost came to grief in the opening offstage aubade, which should be anything but difficult and anything but shouted. He also sometimes is careless about details (like the correct pitch). In past years he has reportedly worked assiduously on his vocal technique, with the result that his problem areas seem to shift from one performance to another: On Sunday, the upper middle again sounded smaller than the rest of the voice.
"This is a lot of quibbling to heap on a voice as fine as Licitra's. I offer it because his duet with Zajick was about as good as it's possible for opera to get. It demonstrated that Licitra should be the unrivaled star opera tenor of our day. If he is not, it is for reasons that all appear to be fixable, and therefore all the more frustrating to a listener. "
It was the almost-but-not-quite-there bit that caught my eye. I find the situation to be more a case of sometimes all the way there and other times not. The same person isn't perfect all the time, and that's certainly the case with Licitra.
1 hour ago