Tenor Javier Camarena and pianist Ángel Rodríguez two artists thrilled the audience at the Al Bustan International Festival of Music and the Performing Arts in an intimate concert of several arias by Gioacchino Rossini and, less expectedly, excerpts from the operas of Manual Garcia and Niccolò Zingarelli.
Fresh from his acclaimed performance as Tonio in Donizetti’s La Fille du Regiment, Camarena shone with his intelligence, warm and effortless technique, immaculate diction, and noble bearing. His powerful yet compact voice, so full of energy, is his great weapon. Yet, while his singing is ardent and virile, it is also marked by superb musicianship and, in particular, a wonderful sense of timing. His total immersion in every character he interpreted, from the most demanding operatic aria to the simplest one, meant that each piece was a new delight – to him and to us. He possesses the greatest gift of all – the ability to create a melodic line and project it to every corner of the hall.
He reigns supreme as the tenor of his generation in the lyrical bel canto repertoire, with an exquisite sense of shading and rubato, and a miraculously clear diction which gives every vowel its due. Ángel Rodríguez brings musicality and an evident connection with Camarena’s phrasing and feeling to each note. Both artists exuded warmth and generosity in completing their performance with 4 encores. Never stingy of bis, Camarena sang a Mexican song by Vicente Fernandez, then “Ah mes amis” from La fille du Regiment, followed by Bellini’s very melancholic “Vaga luna,” closing with a most playful rendition of “La Danza Tarantella Napoletana” by Rossini. Alas, even though it was presenting a tenor and a pianist of this international caliber, the Al Bustan International Festival of Music and the Performing Arts still did not activate its supertitling system.