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Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901)
Baritone Arias
see end of review for track listing
Plácido Domingo (baritone)
Angel Joy Blue (soprano) (6, 7), Aquiles Machado (tenor) (6, 7, 13, 15), Fernando Piqueras (baritone) (6, 7), Bonifaci Carrillo (bass) (6, 7), Gianluca Buratto (bass) (6, 7, 10, 12, 18), Cor de la Generalitat Valenciana, Orquestra de la Comunitat Valenciana/Pablo Heras-Casado
rec. Palau de les Arts “Reina Sofia” Auditori, Valencia, November-December 2012; Angel Recording Studios (Studio 2), London, 28 April 2013
sung texts with English translations enclosed
SONY CLASSICAL 88883 733122 [70:09]

A great deal has been written about Plácido Domingo’s transformation from tenor to baritone, and there have been detractors as well as admirers. The timbre is still that of a dramatic tenor, but he started as a baritone and throughout his career has always been described as ‘baritonal’. He was no King of the High C as one of his illustrious colleagues was.
Most of the arias on this disc also have a rather high tessitura and a tenoral brightness at the top is not unwelcome in that case. So his timbre doesn’t disturb me. On the contrary one has to marvel at the youthfulness and the freshness of his voice, considering that he has spent more than 45 years in the limelight at all the big opera houses in more than 140 roles, including Otello and several Wagner heroes. In the light of this it is sensational that he has retained so many of those qualities that endeared him to audiences and critics alike: the brilliance, the expressivity and the sheer beauty of the voice. There are no serious signs of deterioration, his vibrato is still fully controlled, he is even more willing to sing softly than he was in his tenor days. His pianissimo at the end of the Provence aria is magical. His Boccanegra is possibly even better than when I heard him in the role at the Met in early 2010. Then initially I thought that the tone was a bit grey. Here he also has excellent support from some co-singers, not least the lovely Angel Blue as Amelia. Carlo’s aria from Ernani suits him to perfection, and he is also very good in Luna’s aria and the following cabaletta.
I have complete recordings with him in the tenor roles from most of these operas, the earliest studio recording was Il trovatore for RCA in 1969. Here, many years later, he takes on Count Luna so successfully. He recorded the title role in Don Carlo in 1970 and now his rendition of Posa’s death is perhaps the most touching scene of all, while Machado as Don Carlo is uncannily sound-alike to Domingo’s younger self. Competition is formidable from true baritones in all these roles and I could mention singers like Tito Gobbi as Rigoletto, Piero Cappuccilli as Macbeth, Renato Bruson as Germont - singers whose careers have coincided with Domingo’s but it isn’t necessary to make those comparisons. Domingo as Rigoletto, as Macbeth and as Germont is fully valid in his own right. His admirers, eager to know if this disc is any good, can sleep well tonight and go out and buy the disc and spend many hours in Domingo’s company with total confidence. Production values are high and there are several role photos from various productions.
Göran Forsling 

Track listing
1. Perfidi! All’anglo contro me v’unite! ... Pietà, rispetto, amore (act IV) [5:21]
2. Pari siamo! Io la lingua (act I) [3:52]
3. Si, la mia figlia! ... Cortigiani, vil razza dannata (act II) [5:00]
Un ballo in maschera:
4. Alzati! Là tuo figlio ... Eri tu che macchiavi quell’anima (act III) [6:22]
La traviata:
5. Di Provenza il mar, il suol (act II) [4:30]
Simon Boccanegra:
6. Abbasso le spade! ... Plebe! Patrizi! Popolo dalla feroce storia! [5:17]
7. Ecco la spada (act I sc 2) [4:32]
8. È questo il loco? [3:31]
9. Oh, de’ verd’anni miei (parte III) [3:26]
Il trovatore:
10. Tutto è deserto [1:30]
11. Il balen del suo sorriso [3:10]
12. Qual suono! Oh ciel! ... Per me, ora fatale (parte II) [2:56]
Don Carlo:
13. Son io, mio Carlo [3:36]
14. Per me giunto è il di supremo [2:42]
15. Che parli tu di morte? (act IV) [5:55]
La forza del destino:
16. Morir! tremenda cosa [2:24]
17. Urna fatale del mio destino [3:00]
18. E s’altra rinvenir potessi? ... Egli è salvo! Gioia immensa(act III) [2:58]