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Rolando Villazon - Treasures of Bel Canto / WFMT: New Release Of the Week

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Italian music in the 19th century is most often summed up in a single word: opera. Yet, for all its importance, opera was only the magnificent tip of the iceberg of Italian musical life. Instrumental, orchestral and, in particular, sacred music all abounded in Ottocento Italy.  The fours composers featured in this all-new recital are all known mostly for their operatic output, yet each was also an accomplished writer of songs, a fact that Rolando Villazón has chosen to highlight.

On Treasures of Bel Canto, the tenor presents a recital of 18th-century Italian songs by Bellini, Donizetti, Rossini and Verdi. Most of the songs were written for voice and piano, but Villazón has commissioned orchestrations. According to the tenor, "The songs were asking to be orchestrated. I could hear the orchestra in my head as I sang them." Villazón is joined by mezzo-soprano Cecilia Bartoli for one selection, and Marco Armiliato conducts the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino Orchestra.

Rolando Villazon: Treasures of Bel Canto on Deutsche Grammophon is the WFMT: Chicago - NEW RELEASE OF THE WEEK. Featured tracks are: Verdi: Deh, pietoso, o Addolorata (4:41), Rossini: La danza (3:13)

Rolando Villazón, tenor; Maggio Musicale Fiorentino Orchestra / Marco Armiliato