One of the most grown-up review sites around

54,928 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here



International mailing

Founder: Len Mullenger                                    Editor in Chief:John Quinn             

Some items
to consider


paid for

3 for 2 Offer

All Forgotten Records Reviews


100th birthday of Mieczyslaw Weinberg on December 8, 2019.
Renate Eggbrecht has recorded all 3 violin Sonatas
All Troubadisc reviews

FOGHORN Classics

Mozart Brahms
Clarinet Quintets
All Foghorn Reviews

Puertas de Madrid
All EMEC reviews
All EMEC reviews

All Reference Recordings

Eugène Ysaÿe: Violin Discoveries
All Divine Art Reviews

Debussy Complete Preludes



Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger


Discs for review may be sent to:
Jonathan Woolf
76 Lushes Road
Essex IG10 3QB
United Kingdom
Ph. 020 8418 0616



Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical
All Naxos reviews

All Chandos reviews

All Hyperion reviews

All Foghorn reviews

All Troubadisc reviews

Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10
All Divine Art reviews

All Eloquence reviews

All Lyrita Reviews


Obtain 10% discount

Recordings of the Month


Donizetti - Le Convenienze ed Inconvenienze Teatrali

Chamber Symphonies 2 & 4

French Cello Concertos






AmazonUK AmazonUS

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901)
The Verdi Tenor
For tracklisting see below
Marcelo Alvarez (tenor)
Coro e Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano Giuseppe Verdi/Daniel Oren
rec. Auditorium di Milano, August 2008
DECCA 478 1442 [64:08]

Experience Classicsonline

This is a very thoughtfully programmed and carefully constructed recital. Not just a star vehicle, though it is definitely that, it seeks also to analyse the development of Verdi’s style of writing for the tenor as well as the progress of this particular tenor’s career as a Verdi singer. Alvarez is one of the finest Verdi interpreters today, having wowed London audiences in the lead roles of Trovatore, Rigoletto and Ballo, to name a few. He is one of the few antidotes to the current appalling dearth of spinto tenors and this CD - his Decca solo debut - allows him to show off what he is best at, though it is honest enough not to cover over some deficiencies.

Alvarez’s voice tends to be full and heroic, capable of golden tone in the middle register but not beyond a bit of bellowing at the top. It’s not surprising that he is at his best while showcasing the roles that he has performed on stage. The highlight of the disc is the scene from Trovatore. Manrico has long been one of his signature roles and this disc shows us exactly why. Ah! si, ben mio is heartfelt and passionate, for once sounding like a real love song, while Di quella pira positively thumps with energy and vocal fireworks, including a thrilling top C at the end which seems to go on forever. Likewise, his two numbers from Ballo show how good he is at portraying both sides of Riccardo’s character. The governor’s laddish sense of humour is clearly evident in the jokey tone of Di tu se fedele, while his boisterous confidence gleams from the sheen on the top notes. However Alvarez also captures the conflicted sense of loss in Ma se m’è forza perderti, if anything even more successfully, sounding quite moving towards the climax. Perhaps surprisingly, in fact, the gentler numbers on this disc come off very well indeed, such as the flawless sense of line in Quando le sere al placido, sung with beautiful glowing tone. The ensuing cabaletta is audibly more effortful but still bold and likeable. Likewise, the aria from Forza is very beautiful: Alvarez shades his voice down to a gorgeous pianissimo without any loss of colour, accompanied all the while by a very sensitive orchestra, laden with sorrow. Next to this Celeste Aida sounds rather effortful in places, with gasping breaths occasionally breaking up the musical line altogether. However the final note shows the ringing thrill that he can do so well.

Elsewhere the trademark swagger is on ample display, fitting in perfectly with the rum-ti-tum of Lombardi and the reckless vigour of Ernani in his mountain camp. His vocal energy captures Don Carlo’s hopelessness as well as the poignancy of lost love, and there is a palpable sense of grief in a very sensitively sung Macduff. However, the disc builds to Otello, as do the booklet notes which make a great deal of Alvarez’s ascent to “that same great role ultimately destined to crown his success.” Let’s hope so, because if this performance of Nium mi tema is anything to go by then we have a lot to look forward to. He darkens his voice dramatically for this aria, sounding almost like an entirely different singer. The opening lines are full of sombre resignation, heroism recalled at a time of tragedy. The cries of “Morta” verge on the histrionic, but “Pria d’ucciderti” feels like a look into the abyss, helped by barren woodwinds. The final lines are gentle and wistful, but the closing orchestral chords strike the listener like palpable blows. Magnificent.

So while there may be problems on this disc there is a massive amount to enjoy. It provides us with a worthy survey of Alvarez’s Verdi career and gives us a tantalising peek at where he may be heading.

Simon Thompson


1. Se quell querrier io fossi …. Celeste Aida (Aida) [4:46]
2. Di tu se fedele…(Un ballo in maschera) [3:21]
3. Forse la soglie attinse…Ma se ma forza perdeti (Un ballo in maschera) [6:03]
4. Fede negar…(Luisa Miller) [2:09]
5. Quando le sere al placido (Luisa Miller) [4:00]
6. L’ara, o l’avello apprestami (Luisa Miller) [3:24]
7. La vita e un inferno all’infelice (La forza del destino) [3:43]
8. O tu che in seno (La forza del destino) [3:28]
9. Quale d’armi fragor poc’anzi intesi? (Il Trovatore, feat, Annalisa Raspagliosi as Leonora) [2:23]
10. Ah! Si, ben mio (Il Trovatore) [3:18]
11. L’onda de suoni mistici (Il Trovatore, feat. Anna Raspagliosi as Leonora and Arturo Chacon Cruz as Ruiz) [1:41]
12. Di quella pira (Il Trovatore, feat. Annalisa Raspagliosi as Leonora) [3:16]
13. La mia letizia (I Lombardi) [2:15]
14. Merce diletti amici ... Come rugiada al cespite (Ernani) [3:28]
15. Dell’esilio nel dolore ... O tu, che l’alma adora (Ernani) [3:23]
16. Lo l'ho perduta ... Io la vidi (Don Carlos) [3:47]
17. Figli, o figli miei ... Ah, la paterna mano (Macbeth) [3:48]
18. Niun mi tema (Otello) [6:02]


Making a Donation to MusicWeb

Writing CD reviews for MWI

About MWI
Who we are, where we have come from and how we do it.

Site Map

How to find a review

How to find articles on MusicWeb
Listed in date order

Review Indexes
   By Label
      Select a label and all reviews are listed in Catalogue order
   By Masterwork
            Links from composer names (eg Sibelius) are to resource pages with links to the review indexes for the individual works as well as other resources.

Themed Review pages

Jazz reviews


      Composer surveys
      Unique to MusicWeb -
a comprehensive listing of all LP and CD recordings of given works
Prepared by Michael Herman

The Collector’s Guide to Gramophone Company Record Labels 1898 - 1925
Howard Friedman

Book Reviews

Complete Books
We have a number of out of print complete books on-line

With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site


Nostalgia CD reviews

Records Of The Year
Each reviewer is given the opportunity to select the best of the releases

Monthly Best Buys
Recordings of the Month and Bargains of the Month

Arthur Butterworth Writes

An occasional column

Phil Scowcroft's Garlands
British Light Music articles

Classical blogs
A listing of Classical Music Blogs external to MusicWeb International

Reviewers Logs
What they have been listening to for pleasure



Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Pat and present

Helpers invited!

How Did I Miss That?

Currently suspended but there are a lot there with sound clips

Composer Resources

British Composers

British Light Music Composers

Other composers

Film Music (Archive)
Film Music on the Web (Closed in December 2006)

Programme Notes
For concert organizers

External sites
British Music Society
The BBC Proms
Orchestra Sites
Recording Companies & Retailers
Online Music
Agents & Marketing
Other links
Web News sites etc

A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Site History  
What they say about us
What we say about us!
Where to get help on the Internet
CD orders By Special Request
Graphics archive
Currency Converter
Web Ring
Translation Service

Rules for potential reviewers :-)
Do Not Go Here!
April Fools

Return to Review Index

Untitled Document

Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.