Photo: Catherine Pisaroni
Luca Pisaroni is one of today’s most interesting opera singers. With his unique bass baritone voice and stage presence, his Figaro or Leporello are already classics. One must have seen him in recital, however, to fully appreciate his musicianship and entertainer abilities. He was at the Teatro della Pergola in Florence on November 11 for a recital with Italian and American songs, accompanied by Christian Koch on the piano. Sadly, the house was only half full, a shocking occurrence if one is used to the always-complete theaters of Germany and France, but something utterly usual in this place, as we were assured more than once. The program began with four songs by Bellini. If the very first one sounded a tiny bit stiff and cool, in Bella Nice che d’amore the warm tones came out and the evening was enchanted indeed. Our hearts were conquered with the second part of the Italian program, four pieces by Rossini, especially the wonderful Ultimo Ricordo, and they were broken with the Tosti songs that concluded the first half of the recital. Luca Pisaroni’s deep resounding warm voice, his perfect intonation and diction, revealed the sorrowful beauty of these pieces, bringing to life the spirit of the poets and the composer and their world and times. After the intermission, the artists took us to the USA of Cole Porter and George Gershwin, and now the casual elegance of dinner jacket and black shirt made sense, they fitted the program like they fitted the singer, and everything was swing and sing and heads were swaying along. Again, Pisaroni’s singing was pure delight, and Christian Koch was as swinging a piano partner as he had been sweetly Italian in the first part. The last part of the program was dedicated to Rodgers and Hammerstein, and again, the artists’ masterful interpretation gave life and meaning and warmth to every word. Three Cole-Porter-Encores later, the artists finally left the stage and an enchanted public. Torna, caro ideal - dear Luca, please come back soon!