Ludovic Tézier characters all emerge in clean outline but— and this is a personal reaction that other listeners may well not share—not always with their ‘inner lives’ intensely dramatized and communicated.
Following Macbeth’s and then Nabucco’s big final-act solos from the scores, I note in both a certain underplaying of Verdi’s numerous accent and dynamic markings, particularly the hairpins. Both performances convey imposing dignity and breadth, also a certain lack of verbal illuminating and tonal colouring from within, and in both cases the result leaves one admiring the reading from (as it were) a distance. Going back to Giuseppe Taddei’s ‘Pietà, rispetto, amore’ in Decca’s 1964 Macbeth recording, I found the comparison instructive: the great Italian baritone sounds here looser in tonal focus,
but he’s much more detailed in his responses to both markings and verbal inflections and, as a result, a much more animated Macbeth. I formed a similar impression of Tézier’s account of Nabucco’s ‘Dio di Giuda!’: did he need a more challenging conductor than the supportive but not vigorously assertive Chaslin?
That feeling of distancing is by no means uniform: the comment is not applicable to Tézier’s Ford, Iago, Forza Don Carlo and especially the Ballo in maschera Renato. In these roles he comes across at his most ‘personal’, as he does as both Rodrigue in the French Don Carlos and Rodrigo in its Italian translation—the prison scene features at the disc’s beginning and end, presumably to provide souvenirs of Tézier’s past big successes as Posa in both versions of the opera. But no Carlos or Carlo was engaged to fill it out properly; since the tenor Paolo Antognetti was on hand to supply the comprimario’s dialogue lines in one of Don Carlo’s two items from Ernani, it seems strange that he wasn’t invited to do something similar on the ‘C’est moi, Carlos’ and ‘Son io, mio Carlo’ tracks, where the presence of the opera’s titular tenor is much more pressingly required.
In rather crude summary, then, this is for me a four-star recording by a five-star artist. It greatly whets the appetite for a follow-up Tézier recital, much more mixed in repertory, and with much more generous representation of the singer’s native tongue.
Dmytro Popov—Hymns of Love Arias from Tosca, Roméo et Juliette, Manon Lescaut, Carmen, Iolanta, La Gioconda, Yevgeny Onegin, Faust, Prince Igor, La Bohème, Rusalka, Das Land des Lächelns; ‘Raven Black Brows’. With Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, c. Mikhail Simonyan. Orchid Classics ORC100148 The young Ukrainian tenor Dmytro Popov has increasingly been making waves internationally. Here, in his first solo album, he presents what he describes as ‘a collection of love declarations, direct and indirect’. His likeable, individual timbre proves well suited to the Italian and French repertoire that makes up more than half the
Opera, May 2021