Tutto Buffo Paolo Bordogna Decca
Italian baritone Paolo Bordogna impressed the critics in last year’s Opera Australia production of The Turk in Italy and again in a recent staging of The Marriage of Figaro. In this recording he explores the tradition of opera buffo roles, from Cimarosa to Puccini with an aria from Nino Rota’s The Italian Straw Hat thrown in for good measure.
Bordogna has made something of a specialty of these roles and, by all accounts, is dynamic and captivating in performance. However, in an album recording, the stagecraft and physical energy, so important in delivering these comic roles, are mostly lost, leaving only the quality and control of the voice.
Bordogna does well in the patter songs, delivering crystal-clear text with impressive speed and articulation. In an aria from Donizetti’s rarely heard Conventions and Inconveniences of the Stage he is at his most entertaining, combining extreme characterisations and moments of comedy with virtuosic delivery.
Throughout the recording, however, there are times when the vocal tone sounds thin and lacking in warmth. Some high notes are delivered with full-bodied fruitiness, such as in the aria from Gianni Schicchi, yet at other times the top register lacks intensity and focus. Bartolo’s aria from The Barber of Seville doesn’t sound comfortable in the dramatic sections and there is a lack of lyrical warmth in the excerpts from Don Pasquale.
The booklet has two interesting essays on comic opera but, frustratingly, no translations of the arias. Francesco Lanzillotta and the Filarmonica Arturo Toscanin provide solid support.