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CD Review


  • Giuseppe Verdi: La donna è mobile from "La donna é mobile" *
  • Ernesto de Curtis: Torna a Surriento *
  • Domenico Modugno: Nel blu, dipinto di blu (Volare) *
  • Nicholas Brodzsky: Be My Love **
  • Nino Rota: Parla Più Piano from "The Godfather" **
  • César Franck: Panis Angelicus from "Messe à trois voix", Op. 12 **
  • Gaetano Donizetti: Una furtiva lagrima from "L'Elisir d'amore" *
  • Frédéric Chopin: So Deep is the Night (arr. Of Chopin's Etude, Op. 10, #3) **
  • Renato Rascel: Arrivederci, Roma **
  • Salvatore Cardillo: Core 'ngrato *
  • Augustin Lara: Granada *
  • Andrew Lloyd Webber: Love Changes Everything from "Aspects of Love" *
Jonathan Antoine, tenor
* Latvian National Opera Orchestra/Julian Reynolds
** Latvian National Opera Lyric Strings/Julian Reynolds
Sony Classical 8843-08537-2 45:21
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Jonathan Antoine (b. 1995) had vocal training at the Royal Academy of Music from age fourteen with Sara Reynolds. He soon teamed up with singer Charlotte Jaconelli for amateur performances and in 2012 they appeared as the duo Jonathan and Charlotte on the BBC hit television show Britain's Got Talent. They reached the finals but did not win, despite their impressive performances and development of a huge fan base. Simon Cowell offered the pair a fairly lucrative recording contract and they subsequently made two highly successful CDs.

In early 2014 the duo split up and this Sony CD is the first solo album of Antoine. As one can glean from the heading, the repertory is a mixture of classical, light classical, Broadway and popular music. Thus, it's one of those seemingly ubiquitous crossover albums, but one that tilts toward the classical side. Antoine possesses an operatic style of voice, one quite flexible and adaptable, however, to many genres. Without doubt, his voice is remarkable for its ravishingly creamy and bright sound, its many gradations in dynamics, and its youthful verve and robust tone. Antoine doesn't overwhelm you with powerful fortes, though I think he easily could; neither does he revert to vocal pyrotechnics as a means to show off. Instead, he phrases the music with intelligence and feeling, and actually exhibits an interpretive maturity well beyond his years. He may well become a major figure on the operatic stage – should he choose that path. He is worlds ahead of many pop and Broadway singers.

All his opera selections are brilliantly sung. His La donna é mobile is very spirited and colorful, and his Una furtiva lagrima has weight and a good sense of drama, though it may come up a tad short on passion. The Chopin arrangement, So Deep Is The Night, is another beautifully sung work: Antoine manages to avoid the temptation in songs like this to turn saccharine or mawkish; instead he actually imparts a measure of depth to the music. In the Neapolitan classic Core 'ngrato Antoine sings his heart out and you might well not stumble across a significantly better version anywhere. Ditto for Granada. Even in Franck's Panis Angelicus, which is worlds away from just about everything else on the disc, Antoine sings with a commitment and fervency that elevate his performance to rank with the better versions. I could cite further successes here, but suffice it to say that Antoine delivers the goods in virtually every selection on the disc.

The Latvian National Orchestra and the Lyric Strings (whoever they are) play quite well for conductor Julian Reynolds. The sound reproduction is vivid. Here is a new star on the vocal scene and his first solo album attests to his miraculous talent.

Copyright © 2015, Robert Cummings