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Peter Lindroos - Opera Arias and Songs
see end of review for track listing
Peter Lindroos (tenor)
Finnish National Opera Orchestra/Kari Tikka (1-13); Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra/Markus Lehtinen (14-16); Marita Viitasalo (piano)(17-18); Pertti Eerola (piano)(20, 24-26); Gustav Djupsjöbacka (piano)(21-23); Peter Lindroos (piano)(19, 27).
rec. Roihuvuori Church, Helsinki, 23-26 September 1985 (1-13); Assembly Hall of University of Helsinki, autumn 1994 (14-16, 27); 25 October 1988 (17-18); 2 August 1981 (20, 24-26); 23 May 1983 (21-23); 29 October 1988 (19)
FUGA 9250 [79:54]
Experience Classicsonline

Paul Peter Christer Lindroos was born in 1944 in a Swedish-speaking area in Southern Finland. His soubriquet ‘The Jussi Björling of Finland’ is not just the usual hype. There are enough similarities in timbre and brilliance. Lindroos may not always have quite the elegance and sophistication of Björling but his tone is also Nordic blonde and silvery and the ringing high C is effortless. Listen to Che gelida manina which is truly impressive. Rodolfo was also his first major role at the Finnish National Opera back in the 1960s. He then came to Gothenburg and after that to Copenhagen where he spent fifteen years and then often returned as guest. But during his time in Copenhagen he frequently appeared all over Europe and eventually in the Americas and Australia, singing opposite many of the world’s greatest artists. It is sad that he made so few solo recordings: an LP with standard arias issued in 1986 (tracks 1-13 on this disc) and a collection of religious works in 1982. The rest of the material on the present disc is culled from various Finnish radio and TV recordings and are issued for the first time. However, he took part in a number of complete recordings. Around the turn of the millennium he moved to Skåne in Southern Sweden with his new family, got a job as cantor at two churches there – returning to his roots so to speak since he assisted his father as organist as a teenager and even after he had debuted as opera singer. His life was cut short though in a traffic accident in 2003 when his 1½ year old son was also killed.
The opera recital from 1985 – where actually the orchestral accompaniment was recorded separately beforehand – gives us a singer at his mature prime: the voice full and powerful but produced with ease and both Italianate roundness of tone and metallic bite at the top. The two excerpts from Manon Lescaut are splendid as an introduction to his art of singing: generous, vital and involved. I have already mentioned the high C in the Bohème aria but this is only the climax of a very satisfying reading. The two Tosca arias remind me of an exciting performance of the opera in Stockholm as recently as 1997, where he matched even a Placido Domingo in passion and intensity. He certainly managed to preserve his voice well, in spite of singing the voice-killer role of Otello as early as 1969 in Gothenburg, when he was only 25. Nessun dorma is gloriously sung, even though the end is rather beefy. As a whole the recital is a fine tribute to one of the finest Nordic opera tenors during the second half of the 20th century and it is  a special treat to have the three arias (tr. 14-16) recorded in connection with a TV programme about the singer about a decade later. Two of them are also on the LP and they show very distinctively the consistency of his approach and how well he had nurtured his vocal resources. The readings are essentially very similar, tempos a fraction slower and maybe the tone is marginally darker, but the brilliance at the top is just as thrilling. The Pagliacci aria, in either version, clearly demonstrates what an intense singer he could be and it was a pity that he didn’t sing the role more often: in Copenhagen in the mid-1980s and in 1999 in Malmö and Stockholm. If anything the later recording is even more filled with pain.
Being an important opera singer doesn’t necessarily imply that you are equally at home in the more elusive field of songs, but Lindroos gives ample proof here that he also was a splendid recitalist. That an Italianate tenor sounds well in Neapolitan and Italian songs goes without saying and especially Mattinata is sung with a glow even Björling and Pavarotti would have envied. In Torna a Surriento he accompanies himself on the piano, which he often did in recitals when he reached the encores – and the final encore was always Hugo Alfvén’s Jag längtar dig to a text by Ernest Thiel, legendary banker and art collector, whose large collection of Scandinavian paintings from around the turn of the last century today can be seen at Thielska Galleriet in Djurgården. Among the other songs, Järnefelt’s Fågeln (The Bird) should be mentioned as a seldom heard but masterly composition. Armas Järnefelt was a Finnish composer and conductor, for 25 years in the beginning of the 20th century principal conductor at the Royal Stockholm Opera. Peterson-Berger’s songs were also part of Jussi Björling’s repertoire and it seems that Lindroos has modelled his readings after Björling, which is a pity in the case of Bland skogens höga furustammar – a song I have always found too slow in Björling’s recordings. Anyone who can find Nicolai Gedda’s Bluebell recordings of P-B – I only have them on LP – must agree that there is more of fresh Nordic forests about his swifter and more springy reading. Lindroos sings both songs with silvery tone as he does in another song, also in Björling’s repertoire, August Söderman’s ballad Trollsjön, which is superbly sung here.
The fame of singers very often rests on their recordings and it is a shame that Peter Lindroos, who undoubtedly was one of the finest singers to emerge from the Nordic countries, hasn’t been better served in that respect, so it is all the more to be applauded Fuga’s decision to make available this material. The sound varies slightly but it is always clean and well defined and, being studio recordings, there are no distracting noises, as can often be the case with live recordings. There are hopefully a number of readers who have heard Peter Lindroos in the flesh and this is a golden opportunity to have his voice and musicianship immortalized on CD. It should also be mentioned that in Denmark a double CD was issued in 2004 with live recordings featuring Peter Lindroos from the Royal Danish Opera, In Memory of Peter Lindroos (CLASSCD5004-5).
Göran Forsling
Track listing
Giacomo PUCCINI (1858–1924)
Manon Lescaut:
1. Donna non vidi mai [2:20]
2. Ah! Non v’avvicinate–No! No! Pazzo son! [2:11]
La Bohème:
3. Che gelida manina [3:57]
4. Recondita armonia [2:47]
5. E lucevan le stelle [3:54]
6. Nesssun dorma [2:42]
Francesco CILEA (1866–1950)
Adriana Lecouvreur:
7. La dolcissima effigie [1:46]
8. L’anima ho stanca [1:51]
Ruggero LEONCAVALLO (1858–1919)
I Pagliacci:
9. Recitar–Vesti la giubba [3:33]
Umberto GIORDANO (1867–1948)
Andrea Chenier:
10. Come un bel di di maggio [2:54]
Georges BIZET (1838–1875)
11. La fleur que tu m’avais jetée [3:31]
Giuseppe VERDI (1813–1901)
La Traviata:
12. Lunge da lei–De’ miei bollenti spiriti [3:17]
Luisa Miller:
13. Oh! Fede negar potessi–Quando le sere al placido [4:27]
14. O figli, o figli miei!–Ah, la paterna mano [3:32]
Manon Lescaut:
15. Donna non vidi mai [2:30]
I Pagliacci:
16. Recitar–Vesti la giubba [3:56]
17. Mattinata [2:03]
Cesare Andrea BIXIO (1898–1978)
18. Parlami d’amore Mariù [4:15]
Ernesto De CURTIS (1875–1937)
19. Torna s Surriento [2:55]
Jean SIBELIUS (1865–1957)
20. Säv, säv, susa, Op. 36, No. 4 [2:16]
Erkki MELARTIN (1875–1937)
21. Rosa rorans bonitatem, Op. 32, No. 1 [3:00]
Armas JÄRNEFELT (1869–1958)
22. Fågeln [3:09]
23. Du [1:50]
Wilhelm PETERSON-BERGER (1867–1942)
24. Jungfrun under lind, Op. 10, No. 1 [2:26]
25. Bland skogens höga furustammar, Op. 5, No. 4 [2:06]
August SÖDERMAN (1832–1876)
26. Trollsjön [4:32]
Hugo ALFVÉN (1872–1960)
27. Jag längtar dig, Op. 28, No. 5 [1:08]


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