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ARIAS BY BELLINI, ROSSINI, DONIZETTI AND VERDI....

ARIAS BY BELLINI, ROSSINI, DONIZETTI AND VERDI. Leo Nucci, baritone; English Chamber Orchestra conducted by Gianfranco Masini. London 421 129 (compact disc). Nucci’s foray into Battistini territory yields variable results. This is one baritone who possesses the lightness of attack, the rhythmic acuity and the snarl to enliven these bel-canto portraits on stage. At a modest dynamic level, as in Monforte’s aria from “I Vespri Siciliani,” Nucci impresses; yet, where one wants sheer beauty and evenness of voice and a commanding sonic presence (in “Puritani,” or “Guglielmo Tell”), one finds disappointment in the dryness and fogginess of the equipment, especially in the upper register. Masini is a sympathetic accompanist.


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