> Andrew Shore - Great Operatic Arias [RJF]: Classical CD Reviews- Aug 2002 MusicWeb(UK)

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Andrew SHORE (baritone)
Great Operatic Arias. (Sung in English).
The Elixir of Love, DONIZETTI

1 Attention! Attention! You country folk!
2 Good doctor, beg your pardon – It was Tristan who employed it with Barry Banks (Nemorino)
3 How he loved me! – With a look of love and laughter with Mary Plazas (Adina)
Act II finale
4 It will give you cheeks like peaches with Mary Plazas (Adina), Barry Banks (Nemorino) Ashley Holland (Belcore) and Geoffrey Mitchell Choir
The Barber of Seville, ROSSINI

5 Dare you offer such excuses
The Italian Girl in Algiers, ROSSINI
6 All the changes in my fortune – All, yes, as friends united with Della Jones (Isabella)
Don Giovanni, MOZART

7 Leporello’s Catalogue Aria
Don Pasquale, DONIZETTI

8 She'll he here by midday – Quite unexpectedly passions inflame me with Jason Howard (Malatesta)
9 Well, good evening! You're in a hurry with Lynne Dawson (Norina)
10 Our brother – a living corpse is standing here before you with Jason Howard (Malatesta)
Falstaff, VERDI

11 Honour Monologue
Philharmonia Orchestra, London Philharmonic Orchestra and ENO Orchestra, with various conductors
Recorded 1994-2000, in Blackheath Halls, London (except track 5 in Goldsmiths College, London).
CHANDOS Opera in English Series
CHAN 3077

The booklet claims Andrew Shore as being acknowledged as Britain's premier buffo baritone and an outstanding singer/actor. 1 can personally vouch for the latter claim, as 1 have had the pleasure of seeing him in many roles, including some of those on this disc, and have been very impressed by his histrionic abilities and, particularly, his exemplary diction. However, I will put my minds eye and ear aside in assessing this disc, which is derived from several of Chandos' ‘Opera in English Series’ recordings, so generously made possible by the financial support of the Peter Moores Foundation, and in which Andrew Shore appears.

The disc starts with four tracks from the 1999 recording of The Elixir of Love Track 1, Dulcamara's opening cavatina, "Attention! Attention!" immediately shows Shore in very good voice with good cover of the tone, wide variety of colour, excellent characterisation, and, above all, that exemplary diction that 1 have admired in the theatre. He moves between the notes with ease and flexibility showing no sign of strain or loss of focus as the tessitura rises. He is joined in track 2 by Barry Banks as a Nemorino whose smallish lyric tenor is less appealing on disc than was his interpretation on stage, whilst the Adina of Mary Plazas (tr3) is sparky and well tuned. But this disc is about Shore, and he is shown at his best in the Act 2 finale (tr4), which seems all too short in this extract. The following excerpt from the 1994 recording of Rossini's Barber gives a first glimpse of his 'patter' technique, which we can enjoy to the full in the famous duet from Don Pasquale (tr10) where Shore is joined by the well focused tone of Jason Howard.

One of the most impressive aspects of Shore's art illustrated on this disc, particularly in the Rossini and Donizetti extracts, is his ability to avoid sameness in his interpretations, not always easy in this fach. Any downside? I didn't find Shore's Catalogue Aria Italianate enough, albeit it is sung in English; his play with the words is not up to his usual standard. Also, 1 stand by my criticism of his Falstaff made when the complete opera was issued. Shore's voice is not juicy enough, and 1 also dislike his near singing through his tone in the Honour Monologue (tr11) featured here.

The extracts have a welcome uniformity of recording quality which is up to the usual Chandos high standard, being warm, atmospheric with the voices well forward in a clear acoustic, and with the orchestra given its due part. The booklet has all the English words and also introductions to the extracts in French and German as well.

This very welcome mid-price issue can serve as a deserved tribute to a very fine English singer actor who has given much pleasure on disc and in the theatre, and who has we hope much more to give.

Robert J Farr

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