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Giuseppe Verdi: Don Carlo: “Ella giammai m’amò!” – Attila: “Mentre gonfiarsi l’anima…Oltre quel limite” – I Vespri Siciliani: “O tu Palermo” – Macbeth: “Come dal ciel precipita” – Ernani: “Infelice, e tuo credevi…Infin che un brando vindice” – Nabucco: “Tu sul labbro de’ veggenti”
Charles Gounod: Faust: “Vous qui faites l’endormie”
Arrigo Boito: Mefistofele: “Ecco il mondo”
Sergej Rachmaninov: Aleko: “Cavatina di Aleko”

Carlo Colombara (Bass), Alejandro Escobar (Tenor), Swiss Italian Orchestra, György G. Ráth (Conductor)
Recording: Swiss Radio-Television Auditorium of Lugano (May 5-8, 2003) – 54’02
Bongiovanni #OP CD 0106 – Booklet in Italian and English

In comparison to other vocal registers, the bass singer is probably the least recognized and highlighted within the operatic genre. Likewise, anyone surfacing and falling into this category will undoubtedly garner a closer look.

Ever since winning the G.B. Viotti competition in 1986 as the best Italian singer, Carlo Colombara has gained deserved attention and commendation world-wide. To that extent, we salute his talents in this Bongiovanni recording, a carefully crafted selection of arias from operas in which he excels. Although Colombara’s repertoire is varied, this CD places heavy emphasis on Verdi with a smattering of Gounod, Boito and Rachmaninov.

Colombara’s voice is the f/22 aperture of a camera: focused, sharp, distinct, and clear. The notes and dynamics are conservative yet compelling. In the brooding aria, “Ella giammai m’amò” from Don Carlo, he’s introspective and anxious. As Méphistophélès in Gounod’s Faust the fleeting “Sérénade” is downright diabolical and sinister, rivaling that of Boris Christoff bearing a loftier timbre. Of equal merit are his vocal interpretations excerpted from early Verdi including Ernani, Nabucco and Attila as well as two choice selections by Boito and Rachmaninov.

Under the baton of György G. Ráth, the Swiss Italian Orchestra is rich and bountiful, pairing nicely with Carlo Colombara’s contributions. Those who excel beyond “Opera 101” will unlikely be deterred by the enclosed pamphlet. Strictly from an Anglophile’s point of view, the translation is filled with grammatical errors, lacking clear delineations between Italian and English sections. Reading it is a bit daunting…a shame since the recording is excellent. Prioritizing, however, one must assuredly overlook this mundane (?) detail.

Christie Grimstad




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