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Classical

Vittorio Grigolo

The Romantic Hero

[SONY Classical]

Three and a half stars

Tenor Vittorio Grigolo has been making a name for himself at the Metropolitan Opera, recently singing Rudolfo in “La Boheme.” Before that, he made a name for himself in Italy, where he grew up singing in the Sistine Chapel. I liked a disc of sacred music he released not long ago, titled “Ave Maria.”

This CD shows a different side of him. But no one can argue that it is an alluring side. Grigolo’s graceful, free voice gives a lyrical loveliness to this set of French arias, by Massenet, Gounod, Bizet, Offenbach, Meyerbeer and Halevy. Joining him on occasion are Sonya Yoncheva and Alessandra Martines.

Some of this music has sounded fluffy to me in the past, maybe because I am accustomed more to the German tradition of opera. Gounod’s music to “Romeo and Juliet,” for instance, always seemed too light for the drama’s theme. Grigolo, though, gives it an irresistible panache and it can be convincing, how he sings as if his life depends on it. The Italian tenor lives! Grigolo is accompanied by the Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale Della RAI, Evlino Pido, conductor.

– Mary Kunz Goldman