Stefano Secco (tenor)
Kaunas State Choir, Kaunas City Symphony Orchestra/Constantine Orbelian
rec. Kaunas Philharmonic, Kaunas, Lithuania, December 2014
Sung texts with English translations enclosed
DELOS DE3482 [63:05]

A little more than a year ago I reviewed a complete recording of Simon Boccanegra on Delos, where Stefano Secco sang Gabriele Adorno. I had good things to say about him but in the last resort I found that he didn’t get ‘anywhere near Carreras or Bergonzi’ as heard on rival recordings. The present recital was recorded a year later and, truth to tell, I now find him considerably closer to his great predecessors. The programme has few surprises. It is more or less what nine out of ten tenor recitals contain. Most of the favourite arias are there, bar, for once, Nessun dorma.
Secco has a good lirico-spinto tenor with glow up high and care over nuance, which cannot always be taken for granted. He builds E lucevan le stelle gradually towards the climax. Che gelida manina is even better in that respect, lyric and restrained and the climactic high C is brilliant and secure. This is a memorable reading. Addio fiorito asil is sung with feeling but he avoids the tears. He is more taxed by the Ballo aria but his nuances are still fine. La mia letizia from I Lombardi, one of the not so common arias, is given a full-throated and glorious reading, but here, and sometimes elsewhere too, Sacco compromises his otherwise stylish singing by sliding up to the top notes.

The Flower Song is unfortunately rather prosaic. One misses the poetry but Eléazar’s aria from La Juive, the other relative rarity, is given a good reading, some strain apart. Una furtiva lagrima is well sung with a beautifully executed end of the aria. In the Lucia aria he finds some subtleties. Boito’s Giunto sol passo is also OK, while the Faust cavatina, preceded by the recitative although the track list doesn’t observe that, is one of the best.

La donna è mobile is elegant and rather light. Oh! Fede negar potessi is the recitative, but it is followed by the aria proper, Quando le sere al placido, which unfortunately is very strained, especially in the recitative. In Ah, si ben mio his trill is rather sketchy. The aria has a fine romantic glow and Di quella pira is quite OK but he hits the high C spot-on.

There are some ups and downs here but the orchestra play well – listen to the intro to the Juive aria – under Orbelian’s safe baton. The recording is excellent and Stefano Secco, today in his early forties, is without doubt one of the better Italian tenors in his generation.

Göran Forsling

Track listing
Giacomo PUCCINI (1858 – 1924)
1. E lucevan le stelle [2:53]
La Bohème:
2. Che gelida manina [5:08]
Madama Butterfly:
3. Addio, fiorito asil [2:08]
Giuseppe VERDI (1813 – 1901)
Un ballo in maschera:
4. Forse la soglia attinse [5:26]
I Lombardi:
5. La mia letizia in fondere [2:06]
Georges BIZET (1838 – 1875)
6. La fleur que tu m’avais jetée [4:13]
Fromental HALÉVY (1799 – 1862)
7. Rachel, quand du Seigneur [5:56]
Gaetano DONIZETTI (1797 – 1848)
L’elisir d’amore:
8. Una furtiva lagrima [4:42]
Lucia di Lammermoor:
9. Fra poco a me ricovero [7:15]
Arrigo BOITO (1842 – 1918)
10. Giunto sul passo estremo [3:18]
Charles GOUNOD (1818 – 1893)
11. Salut, demeure chaste et pure [6:26]
Giuseppe VERDI
12. La donna è mobile [2:22]
Luisa Miller:
13. Oh! Fede negar potessi [5:20]
Il trovatore:
14. Ah, si ben mio, coll’essere [3:18]
15. Di quella pira [2:23]

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