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Robert A Moore
American Record Guide, May 2014

Meli sings in the grand tradition of Italian operatic tenors with a voice that is virile and exciting. The operatic arias are thrilling, and his quiet singing is gorgeous. © 2014 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide

Stephen Francis Vasta
Opera News, 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

Patrick Mack
Parterre Box, February 2014

Benjamin Britten’s Seven Sonnets of Michelangelo was the first song cycle he wrote for his partner Peter Pears and the feeling of love they convey is fresh still. From what I can tell Mr. Meli may well be the first native Italian speaker to record these pieces and from that vantage alone his interpretation is important. He does a fine job with these uncommonly beautiful settings of poetry…

The Petrarch Sonnets of Franz Liszt which close the program are beautifully etched in German Romanticism and find Mr. Meli once again comfortably in his native tongue…in both pieces he displays an attentiveness to diction and a willing mezza voce…His technical skills are good…He should be commended for his fine work on both these cycles.

His accompanist, Matteo Pais, does a very fine job in the Britten and Liszt. Bringing special highlights out of the piano part and offering keen and insightful support so that it really does seem like a collaboration in these pieces. © 2014 Parterre Box Read complete review

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