Juan Diego Florez ItaliaJuan Diego Florez – Italia

with Avi Avital: mandolin, Craig Ogden: guitar, Ksenija Sidorova: accordion

Filarmonica Gioachino Rossini
Carlo Tenan, conductor

Decca, 2015

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With Italia, the voice of Juan Diego Florez joins the chorus of singers (spectacularly started by Luciano Pavarotti) which has dedicated an album to the most popular Italian songs. Italia is an opportunity to appreciate once more the warm and sweet singing of the Peruvian tenor, even if not always the choice of the songs seems to me perfectly appropriate for him (but this does not mean that he sings badly). The tracklist includes an aria by Donizetti (Me voglio fa’ ’na casa) and Leoncavallo (Mattinata), two by Rossini (Bolero, La danza) and two by Tosti (Marechiare, L’alba separa dalla luce l’ombra) but there are also more “recent” hits, such as Nel blu dipinto di blu and Arrivederci Roma.

The best part of the album is, in my opinion, the one dedicated to “traditional” composers, although I must admit that the transport of Arrivederci Roma and the brightness of Nel blu dipinto di blu are enchanting. The best piece is, in my opinion, Rossini’s La danza, where the fast time chosen allows Florez to display the almost superhuman ease with which he faces this animated composition. Other pearls are Marechiare, accompanied on mandolin, and the dreamy Mattinata, one of Leoncavallo’s few pieces that Florez has ever sung. Finally, it is clear that Florez has some fun singing these songs and this makes the atmosphere even more light and cheerful. This approach influences individual songs (Nel blu dipinto di blu) as well as segments of a song, such as the “tralalalera” in Me voglio fa’ ’na casa, which is irresistible. Italia is an album that can be enjoyed from start to finish.

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