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Marcelo Álvarez: French Arias

4.0 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Audio CD, January 29, 2002
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Alvarez,Marcelo ~ French Opera Arias

Amazon.com

Although Marcelo Álvarez started his professional career comparatively late, he rose up quickly--perhaps too quickly. On his first CD, Bel Canto, which featured Italian arias, he displayed a bright, lyrical voice of great sweetness, a fine high range with a ringing top, and admirable breath control. His second CD, devoted to the music of his fellow Argentinean Gardel, was even more impressive for its stylistic and idiomatic identification.

This is Álvarez's third CD in three years; unfortunately, it is not as successful. One reason is that the program includes too many slow arias, several taken from operas better known in their Italian version. In fact, the aria from Donizetti's La Favorita is also included on Álvarez's Italian disc. Another reason is that his voice sounds a bit frayed, tight, and harsh under stress, and the florid passages seem labored. However, it is still beautiful in the soft, lyrical pieces. Among the highlights are the two arias from Massenet's Manon--the first for its passion, the second for its floating mezza voce--and the arias from Gounod's Faust and Verdi's Don Carlo. The program seems to have been chosen for its display of high Cs (there is even one D-flat), and Álvarez exploits them to the hilt, letting them last as long as possible, whether indicated by the composer or not. His expressiveness is genuine, but often exaggerated, his diction almost unintelligible. The orchestra plays well and sounds lush; among the solos those for violin and viola d'amore stand out. --Edith Eisler

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Product Details

  • Orchestra: Nice Philharmonic
  • Conductor: Mark Elder
  • Composer: Charles Gounod, Jules Massenet, Giuseppe Verdi, Jacques Offenbach, Gaetano Donizetti, et al.
  • Audio CD (January 29, 2002)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Sony Classical
  • Run Time: 68 minutes
  • ASIN: B00005V3XS
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #456,665 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Santa Fe Listener HALL OF FAME on June 10, 2012
Format: Audio CD
Coming to this CD belatedly, ten years after its release, I am impressed by Marcelo Alvarez's growth vocally. Listed at Wikipedia as a lyric tenor, he now sings big Verdi roles (most recently I saw his Met broadcast in Il Trovatore). This bespeaks ambition - and desire for hefty fees that go to dramatic tenors. In its beefed-up state, Alvarez's voice sounds more than a touch forced, but we have to be thankful in this vocal drought that he has stepped into the breach; I can remember critics grousing because Pavarotti was too light for Manrico and Radames. Alvarez's voice is considerably smaller, but not for these French arias.

the tone is immediately appealing. It is warm and sympathetic, nicely even throughout. As others have pointed out, Alvarez's French is rudimentary and often blurry. but the Amazon reviewer is too harsh when she says that the voice sounds frayed; it doesn't. the main problem is one of personality. Lyric tenors are expected to be ardent but sweet; their forte is tenderness. Alvarez had mastered the ABCs of tenorism, but I don't hear much personality and little charisma. This remains true, unfortunately, but his career has been a manful one, and frankly, I'd rather hear him deliver bold if generic Verdi than French arias without elegance.
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I bought this CD 2 months ago and I'd been listening to this CD almost everyday. This is a must have CD in anybody's collection. This CD is an excellent introduction to Opera for those who are not so fond of the Opera. I am not one of those people who will argue that Alvarez is the BEST opera singer ever, but this album is one of the BEST. Each track is sung with passion and meaning imbedded into the words,even though Mr. Alvarez is not a native France and not in excellent command of the french pronounciation. But Music itself is a Universal language. What matters here in his interpretation and passion in his voice in which he sang very intelligently. The range of the man is truly remarkable. If you are interested in giving some attention to this singer, then "The Bel Canto " CD is by far his BEST to date, so I heartily recommend it. Mr. Alvarez is one of the promising tenors of the 21st Century along with Ramon Vargas and his fellow Argetine the versatile musician, Jose Cura.The choices of songs for this album is ones that are non very well known, but you cannot deny the greatness of Alvarez's voice. Mr. Alvarez an opera singer with a sweetness that has not been heard since Carlo Bergonzi. Listening to Marcelo Alvarez brings beauty to opera. Whether loud or soft is not the point. His voice has a purity and gentle emotion that is spectacular.
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Great listening. Would recommend it to anyone who likes French opera. Am impressed at how Marcelo Alvarez has developed as an opera singer, and await further CD's from him.
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Excellent! Superb! Alvarez's sophomore solo release is nothing short of stunning. Building upon the success of his debut album, Bel Canto, and banking on the critical acclaim he has received all over the world, Alvarez's melting tones lend incomparable beauty to arias from "Faust," "Guillaume Tell," and "Don Carlos" among others. This recording clearly demonstrates that his growing reputation as one of THE premier tenors of this generation is not exaggerated.
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