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The Golden Voice
Joseph Calleja, tenor, Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, Carlo Rizzi, conductor
Decca 475 6931 (59min 23s)

This is the second solo disc by Maltese tenor Joseph Calleja on Decca, where he has an exclusive contract. One is tempted to dismiss the title "The Golden Voice" as nothing more than media hype, but to my ears, his voice does bear a certain resemblance to the so-called 'golden age' singers. No doubt, Calleja has a major voice that is immediately recognizable – a bright sound with plenty of squillo, a quick vibrato and a secure upper extension ideal in the bel canto repertoire of Donizetti and Bellini. He also sports a most impressive high diminuendo. He has certainly come a long way since the 'diamond in the rough' Rodolfo in Toronto five years ago. His 'Una furtive lagrima' is lighter and less substantial than the burnished sound of Rolando Villazon, but Calleja has a plaintive quality that is equally appealing. Anna Netrebko makes a cameo in the duet from La sonnambula, trading high notes with Calleja, with the tenor coming out on top. Typical of these solo discs, the conductor Carlo Rizzi plays 'follow the divo'. A highly enjoyable disc. Joseph K. So

Published in Vol. 11 No. 5 of La Scena Musicale
Publié dans le Vol. 11 No. 5 dans La Scena Musicale

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