Dmitri Hvorostovsky was “born to sing Verdi” (Opera magazine) and indeed the composer’s operas are central to the great Russian baritone’s remarkable career. He showcases his hallmark Verdi roles on this his second release for Delos.
The release of Verdi Arias comes hot on the heels of Hvorostovsky’s appearances at the Metropolitan Opera as Posa in Don Carlo, one of three Verdi roles he took on during the 2001–2002 season and two of which are featured on this disc. His first Rigoletto in the West, at the Houston Grand Opera in October and November, was greeted with unanimous critical acclaim. “This is a Rigoletto gripping from start to finish,” declared MusicalAmerica.com. “It is a new and brilliant view, and Hvorostovsky employs razor-sharp intellect to bring [the role] to life… He uses every nuance of his immense voice… he speaks with Olympian authority.” April brought Hvorostovsky’s first Il Trovatore at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.
Hvorostovsky possesses a rare blend of musical power and passion combined with acute musical intelligence. He has been praised world-wide for the success of his penetrating artistic explorations and the depth of his bold characterizations. He glides seamlessly between the often-conflicting emotions of Verdi’s complex characters. One of Hvorostovsky’s most notable and familiar roles is Francesco in I Masnadieri. On Verdi Arias, “Sogno di Francesco” portrays the character in a rare reflective mood, but Hvorostovsky has likened his demonic character to Iago, represented by the confessional “Credo in un Dio crudel” from Otello.
Rage and revenge are heard from Stankar in “Lina, pensai ch’é un angelo; Oh gioia inespribile” from Stiffelio, innocence and fury from Renato in “Alla vita che t’arride” “Eri tu”, from Un ballo in maschera. As King Carlo in Ernani Hvorostovsky delivers a somber and stirring “O de’ verd’anni mie”, as well as a desperate King Nebuchadnezzar in “Dio di Giuda!” from Verdi’s early Nabucco.
A disc devoted to Verdi fulfils a lifelong dream for Hvorostovsky. As a teenager he dreamed of singing Rigoletto though it wasn’t until two decades later when he finally undertook the role on stage. Along the way his professional assumption of Verdi roles has been judicious and consistent with the development of his prodigious vocal gifts.
Hvorostovsky is partnered on Verdi Arias by conductor Mario Bernardi and the Philharmonia of Russia. The recording took place in the Great Hall of Moscow’s Tchaikovsky Conservatory. Verdi Arias was recorded in DSD and is also available on SACD.