On a rising crest of a wave, British-Italian tenor Freddie De Tommaso seems likely to add to the approving clamour that greeted last year’s debut collection of Italian songs, Passione, with this rousingly, rapturously sung sophomore survey of arias and duets by Puccini and Bizet.
Already drawing favourable comparisons with Caruso and Pavarotti, Tommaso’s voice finds a place all its own somewhere in between those extremes of poetry and power. If there’s a more reliable touchstone, it’s surely the mahogany-dark, liquidly flowing expressiveness of Franco Corelli.
Echoes of Caruso are certainly there in the achingly contained ecstasy of Carmen’s Flower Song and the sweet-sour poetry of Madama Butterfly’s Vogliateme bene, although Tommaso (superbly supported by Natalya Romaniw in the Puccini) claims both as his own with warm, rounded vowels, lyrical legato, heartfelt involvement and a persuasively ardent way with both music and words.
Pavarotti comparisons rest on Nessun dorma, where Tommaso stakes an appreciable competitive claim. Emotionally and melodically centred, his voice seems to deepen even as it blooms to meet the grandstanding demands of opera’s most famous aria....