Time was when the so-called tenore leggiero or tenore di grazia or, in plain English, light lyric tenor held his own in the Bellini, Donizetti, Rossini repertoire.

In the early 20th century artists like Tito Schipa and Alessandro Bonci had exclusive ownership of the Bel Canto repertoire. That trend continued well into the 1970’s, with light tenors Ernesto Palacios, Luigi Alva, and Cesare Valletti singing whatever Rossini or Bellini was offered them.

These fine singers knew how to stay within the boundaries of their area of specialty. But then the big-voiced boys arrived and suddenly invaded the leggiero turf.

There was Pavarotti taking on The Daughter of the Regiment and Placido Domingo being cast as Nemorino.

Fortunately we have returned to times in which common sense prevails.

Welcome Lawrence Brownlee, a full-blooded Bel Canto tenor with enchanting style, awesome technique and just the right mix of sweetness and squillo in his ample voice to fearlessly conquer everything from the light folderol of Donizetti’s Rita to the stillness, gravity and legato of Bellini’s A te, o cara, over a two-octave plus range.

In the DELOS CD Allegro Io son Brownlee has an exemplary partner in Constantine Orbelian, who leads the Kaunas City Symphony with unflagging attention to his singer’s needs.

The CD comes with a nice booklet with translations of all the arias. We got a winner.

Rafael de Acha