What the classical world has been listening to this month
Jesús León, Tenor
I’ve been listening to Caruso 2000, featuring the voice of the tenor Enrico Caruso. They have cleaned up his voice in this CD and removed the original orchestra from the recording, made in the 1990s, 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.
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’amour, 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 rarely performed these days.
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.
Marcelo Álvarez is an Argentinian tenor who I admire. I’ve been listening to an album from 1998, when he was a younger singer in his 30s, called Bel Canto. He has been one of my 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 10 minutes. It’s 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.