PUCCINI Turandot / Bocelli, Wilson, Mehta 4788293

. . . [this new recording] is quite grand. The real star is Zubin Mehta whose leadership is incredibly sensitive; he stretches the score on occasion to great effect . . . Andrea Bocelli is excellent as Calaf. He sings with surprising power and the big moments come off just fine. Young soprano Jessica Nuccio is a gentle Liu, and all of the male roles are strongly cast . . . Audio is outstanding.

Zubin Mehta unfurls an affection for Puccini's music unfaded by time . . . the singers of the Coro de la Generalitat Valenciana and, especially, the children of the Escolania de la Mare de Déu dels Desemparats sing idiomatically . . . Their invocation to the moon in Act One is stirringly done, and the youngsters' voicing of "Là, sui monti dell'Est la cicogna cantò" is touching . . . Like their choral colleagues, the players of the Orquestra de la Comunitat Valenciana face no demands from composer or conductor that they are incapable of meeting . . . the overall level of playing among the instrumentalists is commendably high . . . sopranos Carmen Avivar and Jacqueline Squarcia perform their tasks with lovely, well-schooled voices . . . [Ventseslav Anastasov's] distinctive vibrato adds an element of urgency to his resonant delivery of Puccini's music . . . [the trio of Germán Olvera, Valentino Buzza and Pablo García López] sing athletically separately and in ensemble . . . [the uncomplicated beauty of the trio's] "O China, o China, che or sussulti e trasecoli in quieta", is ravishing . . . Timur has rarely sounded as three-dimensional on records as Tsymbalyuk makes him in this performance. Furthermore, his music has seldom been sung so handsomely . . . Nuccio's performance of "Signore, ascolta!" is a highlight of the recording, her top A-flats and B-flats projected with purity and spot-on intonation . . . Bocelli is an imaginative, ardent singer whose excellent diction and authentic Italianate temperament lift his Calàf above the level of a number of today's tenors . . . His vocalism in the Riddle Scene is marvelously masculine, the top B-flats on "Il mio fuoco ti sgela: Turandot!" fired like missiles . . . the apotheosis of Wilson's performance is the top B-flat on "Il suo nome è Amor!" Here, in a single phrase, she summarizes her still underestimated artistry . . . Insightfully conducted, enthusiastically and often superbly sung, and expertly recorded, this is a "Turandot" with much to love.

Jessica Nuccio's heartfelt, sensual Liù handily takes the vocal and dramatic honors by exhibiting real pathos, exquisite high notes and more of a backbone than Liù often has . . . [Jennifer Wilson is a formidable Turandot who] is impressively present over the full orchestra and chorus in the Act II finale, and she spurs Bocelli to try to match her power in the riddle scene. "Nessun dorma," which Bocelli has ridden to fame, is solid and lived-in, and it gains an added dimension in context . . . Conductor Zubin Mehta drives the action with urgency and feverish excitement from the first orchestral phrases, establishing a society on the verge of revolution. The chorus responds with percussive energy and also sensitively parses the dissonances in the hush of "Liù bontà, Liù dolcezza".

. . . [Bocelli]: voix franche, émission directe et musicalement assurée . . . a presque 60 ans, le ténor Bocelli démontre qu'il peut tout chanter avec un aplomb et une musicalité toujours prêts à en découdre.