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Piotr Beczala - The French Collection / WETA: Vocal CD Pick of the Week

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VivaLaVoce showcases notable new (or newly reissued) CDs each week. Hear selections from the CD on-air throughout the week, and check online to learn more about the artist and the music. Our friends at ArkivMusic join in by putting that recording on sale for the entire week and contributing a portion of each sale to WETA.

Our 'Vocal Pick of the Week for June 29, 2015 is The French Collection with Tenor Piotr Beczala.

Piotr Beczala chose French arias for his first solo operatic album on Deutsche Grammophon, and not just arias by French composers.  Donizetti's La Favorite and Verdi's Don Carlos were written for Paris, and with French libretti, and arias from these operas appear as well. It's the use of French language to express the emotion in these arias which is most important to Beczala.

The tenor believes that he must speak the languages in which he sings in order to fully express the musical and emotional content of the music.  Thus when he sings in Italian, French, German and English, he is drawing on time he has spent in countries where these languages are spoken.  For this album, the French tradition of clarity of diction taking precedent even over vocal tone has greatly informed how Beczala has prepared these arias.  These words of Charles Gounod form the basis for his approach:  "Diction must be clear, clean, distinct and precise.  It must be expressive…it is this that fills the word with thoughts, with sentiment and with passion." This especially expressive device, paired with Beczala's stylish lyric tenor, gives us an album of rich musical rewards.