Sunday, November 22, 2009
Charles Castronovo: Brilliant Young Tenor on the Rise
I have had the good fortune lately to become more acquainted with the singing of a brilliant young tenor, Charles Castronovo, who is showing all the signs of launching himself soon into star status worldwide.
Born in New York in 1975, and raised in Southern California, Castronovo began his singing career with the Los Angeles Opera and was soon singing debut roles in many opera centers worldwide, including New York, London, Berlin, and Vienna. Endowed with a robust lyric voice, centered exactly and comfortably in the tenor range—i.e., this is a real tenor!—his production is smooth and equal, up and down the scale and through all registers, which blend perfectly. Here he is singing a principal aria from Romero's Zarzuela La Taberna del Puerto, "No puede ser una vulgar sirena..."
This is a flawless technique, and the voice is absolutely consistently produced. I know that comparisons are odious, and I admire both Flórez and Villazón, but I will simply say that Castonovo's voice is more robust than that of Flórez, who is very much more of a tenore leggiero; and further, that Castronovo will never find himself in the kinds of vocal troubles that have plagued Rolando Villazón. His technique and natural endowments are exactly appropriate for the repertoire he is currently singing. There are enough examples out there of lyric tenors who over-reached and did major harm to their voices later in their careers, Ferruccio Tagliavini being one of the sadder cases. His may have been an ultimate lyric gift, in his youth, but being human he doubtless yearned for the acclaim that (unwisely, in my opinion) was lavished on dramatic tenors in the 50's and 60's.
Here is Castronovo, in Russia, singing one of the great lyric classics, "Una furtiva lagrima."
A near perfect rendition! The ease with which he moves back and forth from piano to mezza forte is proof positive that the voice is easily and appropriately centered, and very much within its appropriate repertoire.
Finally, calling a bit more on an innate robustness in the voice, but without stepping outside his repertoire, here is Werther's lament "Pourquoi me reveiller...," sung at the same concert in Russia:
Beautiful, and stylistically perfect! To these vocal and stylistic endowments, one can also add the not-insignificant fact that Mr. Castronovo, as evidenced in these videos, is a most handsome man, and presents himself very well indeed. With this powerhouse combination of gifts, I think it perfectly reasonable to say that here is a tenor to watch!
at 10:59 AM