BBC Music Magazine – Music To My Ears

JESUS LEON: I’ve been listening to Caruso 2000,
featuring the voice of the tenor
Enrico Caruso. They have cleaned up
his voice on this CD and removed the
original orchestra from the recording,
made in the 1900s, replacing it with a new recording
by the Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra conducted
by Gottfried Rabi. The new sound is beautiful,
enabling you to hear Caruso’s voice much more
clearly. It’s amazing what can be achieved with
technology, and the orchestra do a great job
accompanying Caruso’s voice – it’s incredible.
Q Ramón Vargas is, like me, a Mexican tenor. He has
had an amazing career, singing for many years with an
amazing technique. His CD L’amore, L’amour includes
a selection of arias, including one from Donizetti’s
Roberto Devereux. This beautiful aria for tenor, ‘Ed
ancor la tremenda porta’, is very difficult and it’s
inspirational to hear what Vargas has done. The
opera itself is really weird and
is rarely performed these days.
Q Verdi’s Falstaff is an
amazing opera and his last
work. I’ve been listening to a
version with Italian baritone
Renato Bruson and US soprano
Barbara Hendricks. I love the
interpretation of these great
singers. Although the tenor
part is not that big, all the
music is beautiful: the first time I heard it I couldn’t
believe it was Verdi because it sounded so modern.
Q Marcelo Álvarez (above, right) is an Argentinian
tenor who I admire. I’ve been listening to an album
from 1998, when he was a young singer in his 30s,
called Bel Canto. He has been one of the inspirations
for me singing Bellini’s I puritani, because on this CD
he recorded the long aria from the opening of Act III
which, with the chorus and everything, lasts about ten minutes. It is very difficult and I have found it
helpful as a reference for my own recording of Bellini.
Jesús León’s new CD, Bel Canto, is out now on the
Opus Arte label.

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