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Premiere radio broadcast of complete recording. Giacomo Puccini - "Tosca" - Opera evening, November 4th 2023

Stefan Pop, the highlight of Pentatone's complete version of the opera "Tosca"!

It's not the first time that theOpera Evening has offered its listeners the opportunity to listen to a compact diskbefore its official release. However, it is the first time that one of the protagonists is a Romanian artist! The artist I'm referring to is the tenor Ștefan Pop (36)-born in Bistrita-and the complete recording that I will broadcast, in advance of its official release, is Tosca, by the record label Pentatone.

Ștefan Pop in Cavaradossi: what a role, what a score!

A role in which you can feel crushed by the glory of at least ten legendary tenors, a score that can destroy youright from its first aria if you fail to sing "Contra B-flat" with sufficient vigor... A role that Ștefan Pop has tackled with great ease, displaying a definite artistic affinity that has been praised by audiences and music critics ever since his debut in the role in February 2022,from the Royal Opera House Covent Garden in London. Below, I quote the thoughts of a London critic in The Telegraph newspaper:

But the big excitement here is young Romanian tenor Ștefan Pop - winner of Operalia, the major annual opera competition - singing his very first Cavaradossi. Have we ever heard a role debut better in this production? With rising young British star Freddie de Tommaso's just months in the memory, I'm reluctant to say no, even if it's a close-run thing. Teasing us with his Act I romanza "Recondita armonia", hints of Nemorino still audible in the easy, swelling bloom of the voice, Pop then hits us with an "E lucevan le stelle" designed to leave us in no doubt: we're not in bel canto any more.It's a performance we'll be hearing a lot more of. Maybe even, in another few decades...

Well, equally remarkable, in my opinion, is Ștefan Pop's performance on the Tosca album. In fact, I consider his studio interpretation the highlight of the Pentatone disk project! This endeavor also involved American soprano Melody Moore-a voice with enough dramatic power but lacking in imagination in the role of Floria Tosca, the American baritone Lester Lynch-a strong, versatile voice, shaping the role of Scarpia with intelligence, the American bass-baritone Kevin Short-portraying the Roman consul Angelotti, and, among the comprimari, the young bass from Cluj, Alexander Kopeczi-possessing splendid vocal material-a soloist of the prestigious Bavarian State Opera, in the role of the Sacristan.

The recording was made in the studios of the Berlin Radio with the ensembles of this institution expertly conducted by the Italian conductor Carlo Montanaro and outstanding sound engineers. It is enthralling and boasts a very pleasant stereophonic balance. And even if it doesn't have all the attributes of a 'reference' recording for the renowned Pucciniopera-such as the legendary 1953 "Tosca" conducted by Victor de Sabata for EMI, featuring the ensembles of La Scala Theatre and Maria Callas, Pentatone's"Tosca" is, nevertheless, a success. Above all, for the interpretation of the role of Cavaradossi, credited to the tenor from Bistrița, Ștefan Pop...