PETER LINDROOS opera arias and songs

CD Fuga 9250

It is a little secret among tenor buffs that a hearing of  a double CD by Finnish (though belonging to the Swedish speaking minority) tenor Peter Lindroos yields quite a surprise. These live recordings appeared in Denmark (where the tenor often performed)  in 2004 after the tenor tragically died with his young son in a car accident. Lindroos has a pitiable small official discography. Only one solo album of operatic arias appeared in 1986 and these 13 tracks are one of the attractions of this album. They are completed by some live operatic arias, three popular Italian songs and 8 fine Scandinavian songs. The first impression of an operatic aria sung by Lindroos is always the same if one doesn’t know the name of the tenor. Is this Mori, Gallié, Borso, Antonioli or another of these fine Italian tenors of the fifties and sixties who didn’t record much as there were some Italian giants singing at the moment who got all the publicity. The voice has the colour and the intense focus one normally only finds south of the Alps. Björling for instance sounds distinctly Nordic compared with Lindroos. So why didn’t he make  a bigger splash in the eighties and early nineties when tenor talent was already scarce ? Granted, he sang at La Scala (Bacchus) or Covent Garden but not with the frequency one would expect. His North American career was not important either. I never heard him in the flesh and so cannot judge if the volume is somewhat bigger on record than in the house. Or was this a voice kissed by the mike ? If so, why wasn’t he employed more regularly for recordings ?
As already said, the voice is very Italianate, not too say Italian. It is very bright with a laser like intensity. There is colour and personality in it. The top rings out: in short a tenor one would dearly love to hear nowadays. There are some problems too. Mezza-voce, let alone pianissimo is not in Lindroos’s armour. He is not above using a glottal coup to change registers and some high notes he pushes forward with a kind of a gulp. His phrasing is not very exciting either. It is fine to hear one or two Puccini arias sung with this burnished passionate sound. But the whole of his operatic recital is done in this same manner.  After all there is a difference in the mood between despair (Guardate ! Pazzo son), happiness (De’ mei bollenti spiriti) and shame (L’anima ho stanca). But Lindroos sings straight on and especially the Verdi arias suffer a bit from too much passion and too little phrasing.  I wonder if this has anything to do with his background as he probably was never immersed, notwithstanding some Italian teachers, in the Italian language. The moment Lindroos sings Scandinavian songs he is far more subtle. But all in all, quite a voice and a must for tenor fans who will have to admit that Mr. Villazon for instance has better musical intentions but far less voice.

Jan Neckers, Operanostalgia

(the CD also includes  a booklet which is a treasure in itself including many photographs, a biography –in English- and a survey of what he sang and where he sang! Ed.)