The enormous success of Andrea Bocelli has ensured that no matter how fallow the ground might be for the major classical labels, there is always enough fertile soil left in the garden to cultivate a new pop tenor. The single-named Vittorio, short for Vittorio Grigolo, is Decca's new flavor of the month among tenors. Decca's one-time advocacy of Juan Diego Flórez was something to applaud, as this tenor is a truly fabulous singer, if not entirely suitable for the legions of soap opera fans who also love Bocelli.
Vittorio Ghielmi, one of today’s most admired viola da gamba soloists, comes from a family of musicians (his brother founded Il Giardino Armonico with Giovanni Antonini). In parallel with his erudite and virtuoso readings of Marais or Graun, Vittorio Ghielmi is an artist who enjoys crossing borders. With his ensemble, Il Suonar Parlante, he seeks new musical languages and collaborates with leading figures of jazz (Uri Caine) and the masters of traditional music (Khaled Arman, Dhruba Ghosh).
Italian tenor Vittorio Grigolo has risen in terms of both popularity and critical esteem since making his crossover debut in 2006, and The Romantic Hero may be his best album yet. These Romantic heroes, the title neglects to inform you, all speak French, but this is not a problem for Grigolo, who grew up attending French schools and speaks the language fully idiomatically.
Vittorio Grigolo follows his 2010 debut solo recital album for Sony of arias by Verdi, Puccini, and Donizetti with a broader mix of arias and a healthy selection of Romantic and post-Romantic Italian songs. It's an old-fashioned kind of program (with the addition of a few more recent songs in a similar style) that would have been characteristic of the repertoire of early- to mid-century Italian tenors like Beniamino Gigli and Tito Schipa.
In 1718 Vivaldi entered the employment of Prince Philip of Hesse-Darmstadt who had been appointed governor of Mantua, then part of the Austrian Empire. His responsibilities seem to have been varied but probably the most important of them was to provide operas for his employer’s court. One of these was Tito Manlio, which was produced for the Mantuan Carnival season in 1719; and, if we are to believe a note by Vivaldi himself at the head of the score, written in the space of five days.