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“Michael Spyres has a lovely, liquid tenor, all honey for love duets and some metal for cries of outraged honor.” John Yohalem, from Opera Today
You may well be hard-pressed to name a classic opera that lacks a love-story – or a tenor as the main romantic hero. Accordingly, emerging American tenor Michael Spyres has come up with a fresh and fascinating pretext for A Fool for Love: his new collection of tenor arias on Delos.
Michael has carefully selected thirteen mostly well-known arias by composers ranging from Mozart to Stravinsky, encompassing a staggering array of love-related circumstances and emotions. He then sequenced them so as to tell the love-story of a single romantic protagonist. The album’s booklet contains a two-act “plot synopsis,” in which each segment of our hero’s story is indexed to the corresponding aria.
As Michael puts it in his booklet introduction, “What I seek to present to you in this album is a fanciful musical story of a typical war-torn couple, and their struggle to cope with the raptures and ravages of this intangible enigma called love.”
Michael, a Missouri native, completed his studies at the Vienna Conservatory, and is already well-known to European audiences for his critically-acclaimed work in recital, oratorio, and opera. He has appeared at such distinguished houses as Milan’s La Scala and Deutsche Oper Berlin, and worked with conductors like Ricardo Muti and John Eliot Gardner.
Blessed with a supremely versatile instrument, Michael has successfully performed the music of composers from Bach to Wagner, encompassing music of many periods and styles: Baroque, Classical, Bel Canto, and Verismo. He has recorded Rossini’s La Gazzetta, Otello, and Le Siège de Corinthe for Naxos.
Gaetano Donizetti: La fille du regiment
La fille du regiment, Act II: Cavatine: Ah! mes amis, quel jour defete … Pour mon ame
Igor Stravinsky: The Rake's Progress
The Rake's Progress, Act I: Recitative: Here I stand …
Gioachino Rossini: Il barbiere di Siviglia (The Barber of Seville)
Il barbiere di Siviglia (The Barber of Seville), Act II: Aria: Cessa di piu resistere
Gaetano Donizetti: L'elisir d'amore (The Elixir of Love)
L'elisir d'amore (The Elixir of Love), Act III: Una furtiva lagrima
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Don Giovanni, K. 527
Don Giovanni, K. 527, Act II: Aria: Il mio tesoro intanto
Georges Bizet: Les pecheurs de perles (The Pearl Fishers)
Les pecheurs de perles (The Pearl Fishers), Act I: Je crois entendre encore, cache sous les palmiers
Jules Massenet: Werther
Werther, Act III: Pourquoi me reveiller
Richard Strauss: Der Rosenkavalier, Op. 59, TrV 227
Der Rosenkavalier, Op. 59, TrV 227, Act I: Di rigori armato il seno
Giacomo Puccini: La boheme
La boheme, Act I: Che gelida manina
Giuseppe Verdi: Rigoletto
Rigoletto, Act III: La donna e mobile
Gaetano Donizetti: Lucia di Lammermoor
Lucia di Lammermoor, Act II: Lucia fra poco a te verra
Franz Lehar: Das Land des Lachelns (The Land of Smiles)
Das Land des Lachelns (The Land of Smiles), Act II: Dein ist mein ganzes Herz!
“The voice itself is that of a lyric tenor with a bit of beef when needed. Neat touches enhance the singing in a number of places...[In Cessa di piu resistere] he dances through the roulades with sure steps, avoids aspirating tricky passages and maintains an attractive tone...the sound is clear, and there is much to be admired in Spyres's singing.”
Click on any of the works listed above for alternative recordings.