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Richard Sininger
American Record Guide, May 2018

This production, from Madrid, has a solid cast, but the stars are the lead couple. Both the baritone and bass deserve star billing, but they are not household names. Baritone Ludovic Tezier and the bass Nicolas Testé sing very well and make their Act-II-ending military duet a real high point and quite an applause-getter.

But it is soprano Diana Damrau and tenor Javier Camarena who grab the lion’s share of applause at the end. The soprano has a long mad scene that begins in Act I and doesn’t end until nearly the end of the opera. Naturally, the various parts of this scene are filled with coloratura tricks of the trade, and Ms Damrau is one of the most accomplished of the current coloraturas who can show us these. She is a very attractive woman and a good actress, and she can portray the troubled Elvira very effectively. At the beginning she even gives us a hint of the mental instability that will soon result in her loss of control. Her partner in vocal ability is Javier Camarena, who sings with great sensitivity and has all the top notes one could wish from a lyric tenor. His duets in Act III contain some of the most spectacular high notes to be heard in an opera house today. The audience simply erupts at the end when these two take their curtain calls.

This is a very competent production. The production itself makes sense; the entire cast is good; but it is special because of Ms Damrau and Mr Camarena. © 2018 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide

Richard Lawrence
Gramophone, February 2018

BELLINI, V.: Puritani (I) [Opera] (Teatro Real, 2016) (NTSC) BAC142
BELLINI, V.: Puritani (I) [Opera] (Teatro Real, 2016) (Blu-ray, Full-HD) BAC442

Diana Damrau dispatches the coloratura of ‘Son vergin vezzosa’ with lightness and brilliance. She is good at girlish excitement and believably mad whether throwing the furniture around or playing with the chandelier lightbulbs during ‘Vieni diletto’. As her lover Arturo, Javier Camarena is at his most eloquent in the long lines of ‘Credeasi, misera!’ in the Act 3 finale. He understandably avoids the top F (a bullseye from John Osborn in the production from Amsterdam), but he approaches the other high notes—C sharp and D—boldly, with no sense of strain. With his sensitive phrasing, Nicolas Testé mitigates the foursquareness of Giorgio’s narration to Elvira and his later account of her madness, ‘Cinta di fiori’. Above all, Ludovic Tézier’s Riccardo laments his hopeless love for Elvira in an exquisitely shaped ‘Ah! per sempre io ti perdei’.

…this is well worth seeing for its top-class singing. © 2018 Gramophone Read complete review on Gramophone

Janos Gardonyi
The WholeNote, January 2018

Phenomenal Mexican tenor Javier Camarena (Arturo) is unlike anything I’ve heard before, capable of producing shattering high Cs and even higher (Ds, F-sharps) with ease. At the same time his gorgeous tone, beautiful lyricism and total abandonment communicates the love he feels for Elvira. His A te, o cara made the audience go wild. More surprisingly, Diana Damrau, whom I always regarded as a soprano of great potential, now suddenly becomes a true diva, another Sutherland, in the role of Elvira with a breathtaking mad scene, a total immersion in the role and almost divine inspiration.

Primo baritone Ludovic Tézier (Sir Richard), one of today’s most sought-after, is a very complex villain, an enemy who forgives his rival. His voice is rich and powerful yet he can be tender; a warrior very much in love. The famous duet in Act II with basso Nicolas Testé (Sir George), a longtime favourite of mine, is suitably rousing. Highly acclaimed Italian conductor Evelino Pidó, with tremendous sense of style and perfectly chosen but flexible tempi, alternately intensely dramatic or tenderly lyrical, has Bellini in his veins. Stage design by Emilio Sagi is deceptively simple, unobtrusive yet elegant, but can be awe-inspiring at crucial points of the opera. © 2018 The WholeNote Read complete review

Michael Johnson, January 2018

BELLINI, V.: Puritani (I) [Opera] (Teatro Real, 2016) (NTSC) BAC142
BELLINI, V.: Puritani (I) [Opera] (Teatro Real, 2016) (Blu-ray, Full-HD) BAC442

This performance sent me into raptures, mainly thanks to the committed performances of Diana Damrau and Javier Camarena. I also liked (very much) the symbolic production and its design, though many would question certain aspects of it. Perhaps it is more accurate to say that I look upon it with a degree of indulgence.

I can’t say enough nice things about Javier Camarena’s singing. His voice has an ardent, honeyed smoothness that he maintains throughout the great range demanded by the role. I have heard tenors who take the safe route and opt not to attempt the brief passages above high C—this is totally honorable. …Camarena confidently rides the music all the way up. The close-ups reveal the effort, but he accomplishes it each time. And all the while he looks ecstatically pleased to be there, even in the melancholy moments.

Diana Damrau’s Elvira is a complete match, with stunning tone and, of course, the legato. The chemistry between the two performers is something to behold. They deserve a place in the opera history books for this. © 2018 Read complete review

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