José Carreras sings French Operatic Arias

Author: 
Alan Blyth

José Carreras sings French Operatic Arias

  • Faust, ~, Salut! demeure chaste et pure
  • Roméo et Juliette, 'Romeo and Juliet', ~, Ah! lève-toi, soleil
  • Polyeucte
  • (Le) Cid, ~, O souverain, ô juge, ô père
  • Sapho
  • Hérodiade
  • (La) Juive, ~, Rachel, quand du Seigneur
  • (L')Africaine, '(The) African Maid', ~, Pays merveilleux
  • (L')Africaine, '(The) African Maid', ~, O Paradis
  • (Le) Roi d'Ys, ~, Puisqu'on ne peut fléchir
  • (Le) Roi d'Ys, ~, Vainement, ma bien-aimée! (Aubade)
  • Carmen, ~, La fleur que tu m'avais jetée
  • Faust, ~, Salut! demeure chaste et pure
  • Roméo et Juliette, 'Romeo and Juliet', ~, Ah! lève-toi, soleil
  • Polyeucte
  • (Le) Cid, ~, O souverain, ô juge, ô père
  • Sapho
  • Hérodiade
  • (La) Juive, ~, Rachel, quand du Seigneur
  • (L')Africaine, '(The) African Maid', ~, Pays merveilleux
  • (L')Africaine, '(The) African Maid', ~, O Paradis
  • (Le) Roi d'Ys, ~, Puisqu'on ne peut fléchir
  • (Le) Roi d'Ys, ~, Vainement, ma bien-aimée! (Aubade)
  • Carmen, ~, La fleur que tu m'avais jetée

Three arias on this recital indicate Carreras's desire, already exhibited in some of his other recordings, to stray away from the hard-ridden track of the tenor repertory, and he is to be applauded in tackling the pieces from Sapho, Herodiade and Polyeucte. Even in these, more so in the familiar extracts, he runs up against the competition on the well-stocked record shelf. Luccioni's ''Source delicieuse'' is just as heroically delivered and with more incisive tone. ''Ah! qu'il est loin'' finds in Thill a more eloquent, plangent interpreter. Ansseau is that little more affecting in Jean's great outburst from Act 3 of Herodiade. Yet, away from these comparisons, there is much to admire in Carrera's sensitive phrasing and always involved singing.
As a whole I find the programme rather too strenuously delivered. That the Spanish tenor can employ a sensuous mezza voce is shown at the close of the Cavatine from Romeo (where he floats a delicate B flat), in much of the always welcome Aubade from Le roi d'Ys, and at the reprise of the main melody in the aria from La juive. Too much of the time, however, he seems to be trying a shade too hard to confirm his status as a lirico spinto, and in that class he has to give ground to singers of the past such as Caruso and Bjorling, and Domingo from the present, who simply make it all sound that much easier. Still, I think I want this offering in my collection for modern versions of the rare arias and for the sheer conviction Carreras brings to all he does. Delacote and the Royal Opera orchestra provide encouraging support; so does the recording.'

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