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Göran Forsling
MusicWeb International, April 2010

On this recital disc, his first as far as I know, his powerful delivery is again imposing but so is his fine legato and brilliant upper register. Though slightly dry-toned he sings with a fine sense for nuance. Piero Cappuccilli from an earlier generation springs to mind but his breath control was formidable.

The programme is by and large what one expects from a debut recital: a number of old-time favourites with one or two rarities sprinkled in. The opening Attila aria isn’t too often heard and it’s a fine calling-card. He sings the catchy cabaletta with élan…He has the fluency for the Factotum aria from Il barbiere di Sivigliaa lively and joyous reading…the champagne aria [from Don Giovanni]…is sung with zest. Enrico’s aria from Lucia di Lammermoor is one the best executed here…The Favorita aria…convinces through good legato and involvement…Back in relatively rare Verdi, he makes good stabs at arias from Ernani and I vespri siciliani…Singing of this calibre would however undoubtedly bring down the house in many present-day opera venues.

He is even better in the unfairly neglected aria from Zaza, and his singing of Vision fugitive, with both restraint and brilliance…He is a powerful but not very subtle Escamillo—but who expects a bullfighter to be subtle? The final number is a true rarity from an opera by the Georgian composer Dimitri Arakishvili. It is a grand aria in verismo style and it is brilliantly sung. Ataneli chose this aria as a tribute to his country, and it is an attractive and thrilling end to this recital. Among baritones at present active in this kind of repertoire Ataneli is among the best and at the modest price this well recorded disc is well worth adding to one’s collection. Texts and translations can be accessed on the Naxos homepage but there are good comments on all the music in the booklet.

David Denton
David's Review Corner, December 2009

Lado Antanali is visually and vocally one of the most impressive baritones presently on the European opera circuit. Born in Georgia, and a music student in his home city of Tblisi, he made his opera house debut in 1989 at the Tbilisi National Theatre, and in subsequent years was to win a series of major vocal competitions. With a wide repertoire, the present disc’s thirteen tracks take him through eight famous operatic characters, from Rossini’s humerous Il Barbieri di Siviglia to the dramatic intensity of Verdi’s Attila. It is a range of moods to which he seems uniformly suited, though I find myself preferring the sheer power of his voice in Don Carlo’s big third act aria from Verdi’s Ernani, to the soothing tones of the seductive Canzonetta from Mozart’s Don Giovanni. He does include a few lesser-known roles, my particular favourite being Herod’s aria, Vision fugitive from Massenet’s Herodiade. A well focussed voice with ample power at the top of the range as we hear in Cruda, funesta smania from the opening act of Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor. Having passed through familiar ground with a particularly swaggering Toreador’s Song from Bizet’s Carmen, the disc ends with the aria, Madloba Gmertrs (Thanks be to God) from the little-known opera, Tkmuleba Shota Rustavelze (The Legend of Shota Rustaveli). A little more air around the voice would not have gone amiss, though the sound is of good studio quality, the Wurttemberg orchestra under the Italian conductor, Lodovico Zocche, being well versed in opera.

Pierre Ruhe
ArtsATL, November 2009

Dramatically persuasive, his voice and emotions flow molten in “Dagli immortali vertici” from “Attila” and arias from “Ernani” and “Vespri siciliani.” The voice is big, beautiful, rounded and exuberant. Singing French, he pays attention to diction and is enticingly nasal and expressive in the “Toreador” song (from Bizet’s “Carmen”) and “Vision fugitive” (from Massenet’s “Hérodiade”)…he’s got a memorable voice and, in the right repertoire, he’s a treasure.

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