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Baritone Arias
Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901)
Attila - Tregua è cogl'Unni... Dagli immortali vertici [6.04]
Ernani - Gran dio... Oh! de' verd'anni miei [4;36]
I vespri siciliani - In braccio alle dovizie [6:25]
Gioacchino ROSSINI (1791-1868)
Il barbiere di Siviglia - Largo al factotum [4.59]
Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791)
Le nozze di Figaro, K. 492 - Hai già vinta la causa! Cosa sento!... Vedrò mentr'io sospiro [4.50]
Don Giovanni, K. 527 - Deh, vieni alla finestra [2-19]; Finch'han dal vino, 'Champagne Aria' 1.25
Gaetano DONIZETTI (1797-1848)
Lucia di Lammermoor - Cruda, funesta smania [3.48]
La Favorita - Ma de' malvagi invan..Vien, Leonora, a' piedi tuoi [5:23]
Ruggero LEONCAVALLO (1857-1919)
Zazà - Buona Zazà del mio buon tempo [2:04]
Jules MASSENET (1842-1912)
Hérodiade - Ce breuvage pourrait. [4:29]
Georges BIZET (1838-1875)
Carmen - Votre toast, 'Toreador Song' (Act II) [4:57]
Dimitri ARAKISHVILI (1878-1953)
Tkmuleba Shota Rustavelze (The Legend of Shota Rustaveli) - Madioba Gmerts (Thanks be to God) [3:56]
Lado Ataneli (baritone)
Württemburg Philharmonic Orchestra/Lodovico Zoche
rec. Studio of Württemburgische Philharmonie, Rutlingen, Germany, 9-12 July 2007
NAXOS 8.572438 [55.15]

Experience Classicsonline

The Georgian baritone Lado Ataneli made his debut at the National Opera in his home city Tbilisi in 1989. After a couple of prizes in prestigious competitions he began his international career in 1996 and today he appears at all the leading houses in Europe and the US. As a recording artist he has taken part in a few complete sets: most recently I reviewed a DVD production of Thaïs (see review), where I found him black-voiced and imposing but relentlessly singing most of his part at forte. On this recital disc, his first as far as I know, his powerful delivery is again imposing but so is his fine legato and brilliant upper register. Though slightly dry-toned he sings with a fine sense for nuance. Piero Cappuccilli from an earlier generation springs to mind but his breath control was formidable.
The programme is by and large what one expects from a debut recital: a number of old-time favourites with one or two rarities sprinkled in. The opening Attila aria isn’t too often heard and it’s a fine calling-card. He sings the catchy cabaletta with élan but he doesn’t eclipse Ingvar Wixell’s version on a Verdi recital from the late 1970s (Philips). He has the fluency for the Factotum aria from Il barbiere di Siviglia but not the lightness of say Bruscantini or Gobbi. The highest notes sound strained but it is a lively and joyous reading.
His Mozart singing is variable. The Count’s Vedrò mentr’io is honourable but not very individual, Don Giovanni’s canzonetta lacks lightness and elegance. This is a lethargic Don. He is far better in the champagne aria, which is sung with zest. Enrico’s aria from Lucia di Lammermoor is one the best executed here. He is a far cry from Bruson for elegance and true bel canto sweetness but Ernesto is a rather rough-hewn character anyway. The Favorita aria is sung in Italian and here he is up against Bruson again - a Donizetti recital once available in Decca’s Grandi Voci series - and convinces through good legato and involvement. The cabaletta is more penny plain.
Back in relatively rare Verdi, he makes good stabs at arias from Ernani and I vespri siciliani These were often recorded during the early acoustic period by greats like Amato, De Luca and Stracciari and it is perhaps unfair to compare Ataneli with them. Singing of this calibre would however undoubtedly bring down the house in many present-day opera venues.
He is even better in the unfairly neglected aria from Zaza, and his singing of Vision fugitive, with both restraint and brilliance, shows what was missing on the DVD Thaïs. Readers who want to sample before buying should try these two.
He is a powerful but not very subtle Escamillo – but who expects a bullfighter to be subtle? The final number is a true rarity from an opera by the Georgian composer Dimitri Arakishvili. It is a grand aria in verismo style and it is brilliantly sung. Ataneli chose this aria as a tribute to his country, and it is an attractive and thrilling end to this recital. Among baritones at present active in this kind of repertoire Ataneli is among the best and at the modest price this well recorded disc is well worth adding to one’s collection. Texts and translations can be accessed on the Naxos homepage but there are good comments on all the music in the booklet.
Göran Forsling

See also review by Robert Farr



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