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Our opera fave: Charlie Castronovo

Feel the warm glove of his opera


There are some styles of popular music which slip over you like a warm glove on a cold day. The long tradition of Neapolitan and Sicilian song – mostly about love, usually unrequited, often involving tension between the beloved and the singer's mother – grew up alongside the operas most of canzone's leading proponents also performed; the heyday of Neapolitan song overlapped with the verismo operas of Puccini and Mascagni.

Charlie Castronovo is a bright young operatic tenor who takes this popular tradition seriously – the show he is doing with a five piece pickup band at the King's Head, like the recital he has recorded for GPR with the group Sweet Nectar is characterful and never repetitive. He avoids some of the best known songs – the ones popularized in cheap arrangements by Dean Martin and Elvis – and demonstrates that there's a lot of gorgeous stuff here we don't know. The show depends heavily on his personal charm, and there's a lot of that, though he needs to stop introducing each song as 'one of his favourites', even if it's true.

4/5



Words: Roz Kaveney

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