| "Great Operatic Arias"
Arias and duets by Donizetti, Lalo, Bizet, Flotow, Delibes, Verdi,
Mozart, Rossini, Handel and Rimsky-Korsakov
Bruce Ford, tenor/Philharmonia Orch/David Parry, cond.
Chandos 3006 (M) (DDD) TT: 62:06
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Bruce Ford posseses an attractive voice, and uses it in a highly musical way. Technically he is above reproach. Not surprisingly, given his eminence in Rossini, the coloratura in Almaviva's final-act aria poses no difficulties for him. He also knows how to vary dynamics for expressive effect -- his soft singing is well-supported and at full volume the voice has a welcome ring. Interpretively he is conscientious and ardent.
My only reservation about this disc relates to what, in the end, may have been its intended purpose. Ford's diction is not always as clear as ideally it should be for a disc that attempts to demonstrate the advantages of opera in English translation. Reasons for this shortcoming are, I suspect, many. I have heard recordings by this tenor in Italian in which his diction is superb. English, on the other hand, is a notoriously difficult language to sing operatically with both textural clarity and beauty of tone. Ford may well be sacrificing the former for the latter. Additionally, the warm, but slightly distant and resonant acoustic, may be partially to blame. Soprano Mary Plazas and tenor Barry Banks, who join Bruce Ford in duets from, respectively, Lakme, and Armida, are likewise not always ideal in terms of clarity of diction. Still, I highly recommend this CD as a fine sampling of a considerable talent; Ford should be providing satisfying performances for years to come.
K.M. (Oct. 1999)