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Italian Album
Track-listing at end of review
Timothy Richards (tenor)
Minsk Orchestra/Wilhelm Keitel
rec. 23-24 August 2010, Stadthalle Merzig. No sung texts provided

Experience Classicsonline

Timothy Richards, born in Wales and now a member of the ensemble at Komische Oper in Berlin, has appeared throughout Europe. For his first solo album he has chosen arias from the Italian operas he has sung during the first ten years of his career. His voice is slightly throaty and he has a tendency to squeeze the tone but he often phrases sensitively and has a healthy ring at the top. His timbre is not unlike Pavarotti’s and he sings with good legato.

The programme is mostly predictable; the only surprise is the aria from Il tabarro, which is rarely sung out of context. His readings of these war-horses are not particularly revelatory, they are good, middle-of-the-road stuff that are pleasant to listen to but hardly go to the top of my shortlist of available recordings. That said Richards has still a great deal to offer in the shape of stylish singing. Generally he seems to be more at ease with the Puccini items, but there are many good things in the Verdi numbers as well. Quite the best of them is Macduff’s recitative and aria from Macbeth: even voice quality, not particularly nuanced but healthy, well-focused, full-throated singing. He makes the most of the Tabarro aria, Che gelida manina is impassioned and Nessun dorma powerful. Best of all are Cavaradossi’s two arias from Tosca. The glow in E lucevan le stelle is infectious. Wilhelm Keitel and his Minsk Orchestra, which he founded in 1994, accompany well but somewhat anonymously. In the three purely orchestral numbers we can however hear a fine body of strings – the cello department sound especially fine in the Traviata prelude – and the brass rings out ominously in the Macbeth prelude. The Forza overture on the other hand is rather hard-driven and stiff.

The recording is excellent and I believe most readers can live without the sung texts. At least seasoned collectors must have tons of inlays and booklets with texts and translations of all these standard arias – bar Tabarro.

Not everything is on the highest possible level but by and large this is a worthy documentation of a singer in mid-career.

Göran Forsling

Giuseppe VERDI (1813 – 1901)

La traviata
1. Lunge da lei … De’ miei bollenti spiriti … O mio rimorso [5:42]
2. Preludio [3:36]
3. Ella mi fu rapita … Parmi veder le lagrime [4:52]
Un ballo in maschera
4. Forse la soglia attinse … Ma se m’e forza perderti [5:32]
5. O figli, o figli miei … Ah, la paterna mano [3:10]
6. Preludio [3:54]
Giacomo PUCCINI (1858 – 1924)
Il tabarro
7. Hai ben ragione [2:37]
La bohème
8. Che gelida manina [4:25]
9. Nessun dorma [3:17]
Giuseppe VERDI
La forza del destino
10. Sinfonia [7:39]
11. Recondita armonia [2:35]
12. E lucevan le stelle [3:09].












































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