How I’ve neglected you! Partly because, as you surely know, I’d never want to fill your pages with daily trivia, and therefore I try to reserve my entries for those very special moments I feel are worthy of note.
This time, however, I’m here for the purpose of a little confession: You know how the purchase of a newly released CD can generate a feeling of excitement and hope? Due to my proverbial laziness, I hadn’t yet gone to purchase either of my last two recordings, even though they’ve been released more than a month ago! So finally, despite my embarrassment (as you can imagine) I decided to just go to the music store in Viareggio and buy them.
Getting back into the car I immediately inserted the disc into the player, and began listening (with considerable trepidation, by the way) to the new recording of Manon Lescaut. Rarely in the past have I been truly moved by a recording in which I myself have participated, but this time I must confess I was stopped in my tracks.
Please don’t rush to judge me harshly as an egomaniac! I’m not talking about my voice here, nor about my interpretation of the role. I’m referring to the final result that was achieved, marrying the beauty and power of the work with the extraordinary technical level of the recording.
The recently developed machinery to optimize digital sound quality has really made a difference. I think I can safely say that the representation of my own voice as well is closer than ever to its true sound.
But don’t worry, Diary, I wasn’t weeping in the car or having physical symptoms. I’m not aging that rapidly! But I was struck by the reaction of the dear friend sitting next to me driving. He’s not a music professional and enjoys a completely different life. But after a few minutes of listening, he began to exclaim his wonderment and approval in most colorful metaphors.
«But how did you make this recording?», he finally asked. «Just like all the others», I answered, adding «and by taking full advantage of the latest available technology».
Apart from anything else, it was thrilling to have purchased the CD of Manon Lescaut, with my voice in the role of Des Grieux, just a few kilometers from where Maestro Puccini lived, and where he composed most of his masterworks.
Oh, how much I owe to life! To this life of mine so overfilled with commitments, travel, hard work, and never-ending study. Yet I forget all those sacrifices in a flash when I receive such a gift. And above all, it’s the affection of my public that brings the greatest joy, received upon the infinite stages of every corner of the globe, or from the public I’ve met in my home town of Lajatico (where they arrive from all around the world as well) for the annual Teatro del Silenzio concerts over the last ten years.
Allow me to take this moment to offer heartfelt thanks to Maestro Domingo for his masterful conducting, and to Ana Maria, who on this occasion confirmed herself as an extraordinary singer and a dear friend. And to all the other colleagues who were around me, each giving the best of himself.
A special thanks goes to Eugene Kohn, and to Carlo Bernini, who patiently helped me to make this wonderful score my own. To Virginio Fedeli, who succeeded – dare I say miraculously – to pull it all together for the best.
I must also give thanks to Veronica, who supported me from the first days of study, and to my three children, who had to listen to my efforts of several months; first at learning, then at polishing the role.
Roles such as the one a tenor has to confront in Manon Lescaut contain moments that can seem like unreachable peaks. But then, as if by magic, everything begins to feel familiar, every note becomes a friend. And this time as well, we have managed it as a team.
I hope this latest effort of mine will be well received and may bring some positive emotions, as I personally experienced many years ago, when the first recording of Manon Lescaut entered my house, causing me to shed so many tears.