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Cat. No. CHAN 3032 Price: £0 No. of discs: 1
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CHAN 3032 - Great Operatic Arias, Vol. 4 - Alastair Miles
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It is true and sad to say that the bass does not have the popular appeal of the higher male voices. Where the tenor is associated with youth and love, and the baritone with love, nobility or at least with bonhomie, bass gets all the heavy parts. Whether in Italian, German, French, Russian or English opera, if the basses aren’t villains they tend to be fathers, gods, kings or priests: figures of authority with whom an audience is unlikely to identify.

And yet, as this recital by Alastair Miles demonstrates, arias and duets written for the bass voice can be as glorious as any of the more obvious showstoppers. All the pieces are from the nineteenth-century Italian repertoire, featuring the kind of voice that the Italians call basso cantate (‘singing bass’), of which the most notable recent exponents have been Ezio Pinza between the two wars and, in our own day, Ruggiero Raimondi and Samuel Ramey.
It is true and sad to say that the bass does not have the popular appeal of the higher male voices. Where the tenor is associated with youth and love, and the baritone with love, nobility or at least with bonhomie, bass gets all the heavy parts. Whether in Italian, German, French, Russian or English opera, if the basses aren’t villains they tend to be fathers, gods, kings or priests: figures of authority with whom an audience is unlikely to identify.

And yet, as this recital by Alastair Miles demonstrates, arias and duets written for the bass voice can be as glorious as any of the more obvious showstoppers. All the pieces are from the nineteenth-century Italian repertoire, featuring the kind of voice that the Italians call basso cantate (‘singing bass’), of which the most notable recent exponents have been Ezio Pinza between the two wars and, in our own day, Ruggiero Raimondi and Samuel Ramey.
Reviews

‘This is the best that I’ve heard yet in Chandos’ series of Opera in English… Alastair Miles is superb…’
Fanfare on CHAN 3008 (La bohème)

‘Alastair Miles’s Méphistophélès seems a mild-mannered type with reserves of authority and a magnificent voice. Vocally he is very impressive indeed, the fine texture of his voice showing up to great advantage, his production admirably firm and even, his style unfailingly musical.’
Gramophone on CHAN 3014(3) (Faust)

 

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