Stephen Francis Vasta
, May 2014
Francesco Meli…does his best work here in four piano-accompanied arias, recorded in concert. The rhythmic swing of La mia letizia infondere comes across nicely; the big scene from Donizetti’s Il Duca d’Alba is urgent and ardent. Two French arias, sung in plausible if somewhat “open,” Italianate French, also come off well. After an expressive recitative, Meli sings En fermant les yeux with restraint and a nice heady mix.
The tenor’s broad sense of scale also suits the extrovert musical gestures of Liszt’s Tre Sonetti del Petrarca…conveying the urgency of the first two and the nostalgia and stillness of the third.
I can see how the Britten Michelangelo Sonnets…probably seemed like a good idea: one rarely hears an Italianate voice in this sort of material, and a native Italian speaker could perhaps communicate the text more directly than most outsiders manage. Meli does bring a sense of narrative immediacy to the music when it lies in the comfortable midrange…He brings Rendete agli occhi miei the same buoyancy as he does to the Verdi aria.
At the piano, Matteo Pais does a masterly job with the diverse styles the program requires. Liszt’s coruscating “Liebestraum”-ish writing is beautifully textured and balanced. The runs in La Danza are limpid and articulate.
The recording is fine. © 2014 Opera News Read complete review