Gianluca Terranova at Wigmore Hall
For the penultimate concert of this season of Rosenblatt recitals, Gianluca Terranova stands in for Ivan Magrí to perform a particularly populist program of Italian arias, accompanied by Simon Lepper.
The tenor starts off with tidy renditions of Leoncavallo’s Mattinata and Gastaldon’s Musica Proibita. Following these the tenor jokes with the audience in broken English, explaining how it is his first time performing in London and revealing that he had been tending to the roses in the garden of his summer house only two days ago when his agent called him with the opportunity to fill in for Magrí. The audience applaud and Lepper begins the introduction for Non ti scordar di me by Ernesto de Curtis. So far so good.
They follow Curtis’ sweet, sauntering song well with Questa o quella from Rigoletto, but it is immediately after this that alarm bells first start to ring: Lepper begins the familiar waltzing introduction for La donna è mobile, but Terranova asks him to wait, explaining to the audience with some difficulty that his voice isn’t feeling good and he needs to rest a moment. He then leaves the stage to anxious murmuring from the audience.
When Terranova re-emerges some three or four minutes later, he performs the piece perfectly well and closes the half with a lovely performance of Che gelida manina from La Bohème.
The second half begins with Tosti’s Ideale, followed by L’ultimata canzone and L’alba separa dalla luce l’ombra, all of which Terranova performs with wonderful warm intensity. It is unclear whether these pieces draw the best from the singer just because the range or style suits him better or due to the fact that – as he is clearly not on top form tonight – these relatively simple songs allow him to relax a little. For while the tenor seems to be ploughing through quite acceptably, he cannot resist referring again and again to his early technical issues, which unfortunately only serves to put the audience on edge, especially as he reaches for the highest notes of Nessun dorma (brought forward in the programme out of his own fear of wearing out his voice before getting to it).
The concert is wound down with Recondita armonia and E lucevan le stelle from Puccini’s Tosca, and while Terranova has for large portions been very good tonight, the openness he displays about his nervousness and dissatisfaction with his own performance is self-defeating, leaving the audience more relieved that it’s all come to an end than seriously calling for more.
For further information about the Rosenblatt recital series, visit here.
For further information about Gianluca Terranova, visit here.