Romanze e canzoni:
Cesare Andrea Bixio: Mamma – La canzone dell’amore
Eduardo Di Capua: Maria Marì! – ‘O sole mio
Francesco Paolo Tosti: L’ultima canzone – La serenata
Umberto Giordano: Fedora: “Amor ti vieta”
Ernesto De Curtis: ’A canzone ‘e Napule – Ti voglio tanto bene – Lucia Lucì – Non ti scordar di me
Giuseppe Becce: Tu sei la vita mia
Luigi Denza: Occhi di fata
Giacomo Meyerbeer: L’Africana: “O Paradiso”
Ruggero Leoncavallo: Mattinata
Giuseppe Pietri: Maristella: “Io conosco un giardino”
Stanislao Gastaldon: Musica proibita
Gioacchino Rossini (attrib: Alessandro Stradella): Pietà, Signore
Salvatore Cardillo: Core ‘ngrato
Vincenzo De Crescenzo: Quann‘a femmena vo’
Georges Bizet: I pescatori di perle: “Mi par di udire ancora”
Friedrich von Flotow: Marta: “M’apparì”
Fabio Armiliato (tenor), Orchestra del Teatro Regio di Parma, Steven Mercurio (conductor)
Recorded at the Niccolò Paganini Auditorium, Parma (March and April 2007) - 59'
DECCA 476 6376 – Booklet in Italian and English
I do not know whether Fabio Armiliato considers himself a dramatic or lyric spinto tenor, but he is certainly at the top of the list of the finest singing artists before the public today. His voice is beefy, ringing, and of a noble, bronzed character. Mr. Armiliato is also a musical aristocrat, with a patrician style that is more frequently associated with lyric tenors like Nicolai Gedda. In fact, he has orchestrated several of the songs on this album, and in the most idiomatic fashion. How many tenors can do that? Perhaps Plácido Domingo could.
This recording is dedicated to the great Italian tenor of the last century Beniamino Gigli, whose voice, although it had plenty of power and squillo, was high and light, and to quote conductor Tullio Serafin, “it was the voice of woman”. Considering that, one might feel that Armiliato’s voice is the wrong choice of instrument to hail Gigli. What Mr. Armiliato captures however, is the passion, warmth, and engaging style of Gigli. That being said, Mr. Armiliato sings these songs to perfection.
Bixio’s Mamma is sung with a wonderful lilt, recalling Gigli at his best. Di Capua’s ’O sole mio and Cardillo’s Core ‘ngrato, which were written for Enrico Caruso, are sung with a passion that would make the great Neapolitan tenor proud. The Tosti and De Curtis songs: L’ultima canzone and ’A canzone ‘e Napule recall the heyday of Giuseppe di Stefano with their melting lyric tenderness. I might also mention the obvious shades of Carlo Bergonzi or Luciano Pavarotti in Fabio Armiliato’s singing, but it is enough to say that he proudly carries on the grand tradition of the great Italian tenors who have sung these wonderfully melodic songs.
There are also several opera arias in this collection that are associated with the career of Beniamino Gigli. The aria “O Paradiso” from Meyerbeer’s L’Africaine is jaw-dropping in Mr. Armiliato’s stentato delivery. “Io conosco un giardino” from Pietri’s Maristella is a rarity one seldom hears. It is a welcome addition to this collection.
Maestro Steven Mercurio leads the Orchestra of the Teatro Regia of Parma in a supportive and engaging manner. He also did several of the excellent orchestrations. This is a completely satisfying and memorable recording. It will make you want to sing along while listening. I had to restrain myself from doing so or I would never have been able to purely concentrate on the recording. I can’t promise to do that on future hearings. The sheer joy of singing is just too exhilarating from Mr. Armiliato.