Cavalleria Rusticana & Pagliacci

Opera! Mascagni: Cavalleria Rusticana & Pagliacci
By Jessye Norman, Giuseppe Giacomini, Rosa Laghezza, José Cura, Barbara Frittoli, Carlos Álvarez

2011 - DECCA

Running time: 148 min.
Artists: José Cura, Barbara Frittoli, Carlos Álvarez, Simon Keenlyside/Jessye Norman, Giuseppe Giacomini, Dmitri Hvorostovsky
Conductor: Riccardo Chailly/Semyon Bychkov

Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra/Orchestre de Paris

Ruggero Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci has always been a huge hit with the audiences—and with tenors, starting at the time of the great Caruso. Gramophone assesses the opera’s century of recorded history to identify the outstanding modern version—and the winner is... Riccardo Chailly (Decca), starring José Cura: “The baritonal quality and keen intelligence of Cura’s vocal acting make this the ranking modern Canio, a superb crowning of Chailly’s achievements in Amsterdam.” “Decca’s 2000 Riccardo Chailly is the outstanding modern version, where José Cura’s baritonal Canio delivers a real performance off the words, capping it with the most viscerally exciting version since Martinelli. Chailly has his Amserdammers player (and breathing) like Italian natives; the brass work rivals what Karajan got in Vienna in his Italian Decca days. Barbara Frittoli (Nedda) is age perfect in sound and acting. Carlos Álvarez, after a rather unspecific Prologue, brings demonic energy to Tonio, while Simon Keenlyside, as Latin as those around him, fits Silvio like a glove.
— Grammophone
...his basic timbre (bright and ringy at the top, startlingly baritonal below middle C) suits the role well. Cura’s tone is attractive and liquid in congenial tessitura; he sings the big aria and “No, Pagliaccio non son” freely, keeping the traditional performance mannerisms within the bounds of taste.
— Opera News
Cura has the right voice, vibrant, heroic, Otello-like, for the Canio and he sings most of his role with the requisite passion
— Opera News