Italian lyric tenor Giuseppe Filianoti sang music from a bygone world at the final 2012 Harriman-Jewell Series concert Saturday night at the Folly Theater.
By JOHN HEURTZ
Special to The Star
Filianoti sang a program of music by Richard Strauss, Ottorino Respighi and other verismo period Italian composers whose overarching theme was heartbroken men mourning their deceased wives, muses and loved ones.
Their sorrow was drawn out to the bitter end here and there, and Filianoti had a couple of phrase and breath photo finishes Saturday night.
And while he has successfully pursued an A-list grand opera house career, he is not really possessed of a big, fog-piercing, train-calling tenor.
Instead, Filianoti brought the perfect voice and aesthetic to this music beautiful, lyrical, expressive, refined.
Perhaps even aristocratic, in being restrained while still giving full expression to the repertoires many emotional conventions big pathos, whispered pathos, sunny optimism, hushed respect, the works.
Several songs drew this voice out of Filianoti again and again. Tristezza and Ideale, the latter being the most famous song by Gabriel Faures exact contemporary, the obscure but tuneful Italian Francesco Tosti (1846-1916), were especially effective at displaying Filianotis impressive range and vocal control.
And the bravura ending of Giuseppe Pietris Io conosco un giardino allowed Filianoti to pull out all the vocal stops to conclude the first half of the program.
The evenings best music and Filianotis best singing came in the second half in Ildebrano Pizzettis Tre sonetti di Petrarca.
Program annotator Anne Evans wrote that one song in the program creates a dark and intense mood and that the voice expresses a landscape of loneliness, desolation and hopelessness in a very dramatic way a fair description of most of the evenings music.
Not so with Pizzetti. His Petrarch triptych had a much wider emotional compass, of which Filianoti took full advantage.
Saturday nights high point was Quel rosignuol (that nightingale), the middle of the three songs. As performed, it was a beautiful four-way meeting of Petrarchs immortal Renaissance poetry, Pizzettis luminous music, Filianotis spotless singing and Craig Terrys sensitive and tasteful piano accompaniment.
Filianoti also sang music by Ottorino Respighi and Richard Strauss, in both cases songs written by and about young men grappling with the sorrows of life and love.
A great voice, a great piano and great song this is what the Folly was built for best more than100 years ago. It never sounds better.