Gaetano DONIZETTI (1797 - 1848)
Il Duca d’Alba
1. Inosservato, penetrava ... Angelo casto e bel [6:18]
Giuseppe VERDI (1813 - 1901)
2. La donna è mobile [2:12]
Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756 - 1791)
Così fan tutte
3. Un ’aura amorosa [3:59]
Giuseppe VERDI
La traviata
4. Libiamo ne’ lleti calici (Brindisi)* [3:02]
Giacomo PUCCINI (1857 - 1924)
5. Recondita armonia [2:45]
Friedrich von FLOTOW (1812 - 1883)
6. M’appari [2:57]
Francesco CILEA (1866 - 1950)
7. È la solita storia [4:09]
Umberto GIORDANO (1867 - 1948)
8. Amor ti vieta [1:49]
Gioachino ROSSINI (1792 - 1868)
9. La danza [3:02]
Ernesto de CURTIS (1875 - 1937)
10. Torna a Surriento [3:35]
Ruggero LEONCAVALLO (1857 - 1919)
11. Mattinata [2:00]
Ernesto de CURTIS
12. Ti voglio tanto bene [3:03]
Enrico CANNIO (1874 - 1949)
13. ‘O surdato ‘nnammurato* [2:31]
Ernesto de CURTIS
14. Non ti scordar di me [3:15]
Vincenzo d’ANNIBALE (1894 - 1950)
15. ‘O paese d’’o sole [3:00]
Eldo DI LAZZARO (1902 - 1968)
16. Chitarra romana [3:11]
Salvatore CARDILLO (1874 - 1947)
17. Core ‘ngrato [3:48]
Giovanni d’ANZI (1906 - 1974)
18. Voglio vivere così [2:42]
Renato RASCEL (1912 - 1991)
19. Arrivederci, Roma [3:51]
Lucio DALLA (b. 1943)
20. Caruso [4:57]
Vittorio Grigolo (tenor)
Carmen Giannattasio (soprano) (tr. 4), Daniele Bonaviri (mandolin) (tr. 13), (guitar) (tr. 16), Dan Thomas (mandolin) (tr. 15)
Coro del Teatro Regio di Parma/Martino Faggiani*
Orchestra del Teatro Regio di Parma/Pier Giorgio Morandi
rec. Auditorium Niccolò Paganini, Parma; Wathen Hall, London, February-April 2011
Sung texts with English translations enclosed
SONY CLASSICS 88697911342 [66:14]
The latest Italian tenor star Vittorio Grigolo, born in Arezzo in 1977 but brought up in Rome, had an early start. He made his debut at the age of thirteen in Rome as the Shepherd Boy in the last act of Tosca. Cavaradossi was sung by a certain Luciano Pavarotti and the young shepherd was quickly nicknamed Il Pavarottino. He sang in Vienna at 18 and was the youngest male singer to appear at Milan’s La Scala when he was 23. In the midst of his singing career he also found time for a bout as Pre-2000 Formula car driver but had to give it up after an accident. Having sung a number of operatic roles he also found great success as Tony in West Side Story, which he also recorded in 2007. All this even before that he had entered the pop-charts with a cross-over album. In October 2010 he released a second disc, also this time with a mix of arias and popular songs. The same formula is again employed for his third album. Surprisingly perhaps for a singer in his mid-thirties, it is entitled Arrivederci, which could be translated ‘Farewell’ but, as he points out in the liner notes, the actual meaning is ‘see you again soon’. Not having heard any of these previous discs I was eager to hear this new offering. The little Pavarottino of twenty plus years ago has grown to a splendid light lyrical tenor with so far no bad manners but with a lot of virtues.
His choice of arias shows that he, or some advisor, is fully aware of where his limitations in volume and stamina lie. Sony have wisely picked some gems from the lyric tenor repertoire which show off his abilities to the best possible effect. The opening Donizetti aria, for instance, tells us that he has a fast vibrato on sustained notes - but it is well controlled and not at all intrusive. I just mention it to give some description of the sound. He characterizes well and his phrasing is musical. La donna è mobile is certainly one of the most recorded of all tenor arias, Without making any direct comparisons I have to say that it is very well sung, stylishly and with some fine nuances. One doesn’t expect an Italian tenor to include a Mozart aria in a recital programme like this but Un aura amorosa, sung with fine sense for the idiom, mellifluous tone and well integrated half-voice, is actually one of the highlights of this recital.
The Traviata Brindisi is elegant and the soprano Carmen Giannattasio is a worthy partner. He may not have enough heft for Recondita armonia but it is beautifully executed. Even more lyrical singers than Grigolo have shown that you don’t need a heroic voice to make a good rendering of this aria. Singing the whole part in a stage performance is another matter. Anyway I feel that he is more on home territory when singing the Martha aria. It is in Italian but most great tenors in the past have sung it that way, even Jussi Björling. Together with the Così excerpt this is, to my mind, the best of his arias. The Cilea and Giordano arias are well up to the same standard with an extra plus for È la solita storia.
The second half of the disc offers a dozen Italian songs, a few of them as well known as the preceding arias, but quite a few less hackneyed. Stylish singing again, generally appealing arrangements and there is a nice surprise in the shape of the old schlager Arrivederci Roma, sung without histrionics ... well, almost!
The Parma orchestra play well under the experienced maestro Pier Giorgio Morandi - a conductor I regularly encounter at the Royal Opera in Stockholm. In two of the numbers we are also treated to Chorus of Teatro Regio di Parma.
Sung texts with translations are very often missing today, even on full price issues. Therefore I can with satisfaction report that Sony is exemplary on this point.
Il Pavarottino has grown to a good lyrical tenor. I look forward to hearing more from him.
Göran Forsling 

A good lyrical tenor. I look forward to hearing more from him.