The Times, London, 7 September 2007
Neil Fisher
And the new Pavarotti?
Strengths The 34-year-old Peruvian pings out high Cs with effortless brilliance – and excels in the same bel-canto repertoire in which Pavarotti first made his name. Earlier this year he made history by repeating an aria from Donizetti’s La Fille du Régiment (a famous Pav calling card) at La Scala – breaking a 70-year embargo on encores at the legendary Milanese opera house.

Weaknesses Unlike Pavarotti he shows no signs of moving into the red-meat roles of Puccini and Verdi. No chance of him thrilling 80,000 people with Nessun Dorma any time soon.

Immensely charismatic on stage, bouncy and likeable off it, the frizzy-haired Mexican has a rich and darkly distinctive voice. At 35 he has struck up a fruitful partnership with the glamorous Russian soprano Anna Netrebko, both on stage and in the recording studio.

Weaknesses More likely to be the new Domingo than the new Pavarotti. Prefers to concentrate on honing his acting skills than marketing himself on stadium tours.

Strengths He may have Latin-lover looks, but the 38-year-old is German to the core: serious, earnest and hard-working. Daringly he sings anything from light Mozart to Wagner and drew unanimous praise after singing a thrilling Don José in Carmen at the Royal Opera House last December.

Weaknesses With no big record label to champion him, his profile remains limited outside Germany.

Strengths The 39-year-old trained with the great Carlo Bergonzi and is still Italy’s best hope for a native tenor star. Jumped in for Pav himself when he pulled out of Tosca in New York and earned huge ovations from the crowd.

Weaknesses In recent years his voice has wavered alarmingly as he has taken on the more demanding Verdi roles. A recent run of Tosca at Covent Garden was no return to form – critics accused him of coarse, “can belto” singing.

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