Marc Hervieux; Orchestre Metropolitain; Yannick Nézet-Séguin
ATMA ACD2 2618
After years of writing CD reviews for this magazine, it’s time to come out of the closet: I am a big, loud, unabashed snob. I believe that cross-over artists are sell-outs and that Il Divo, Andrea Boccelli and Charlotte Church cheapen, not popularize, classical music. A personal opinion, to be sure, but one augmented by many years of education, listening to music and developing some discernment. The battle lines drawn, I can now review the latest disc from the quintessential cross-over artist, Marc Hervieux. The Quebec singer did not read music until his mid-twenties, sang in a rock band and still cannot pass over an opportunity to sing for kings, presidents or with Patsy Gallant (don’t ask!). Except for the fact that Hervieux has a great, undeniable talent with a capital T. His voice, a spinto tenor in full Italian style, invites positive comparisons with young Pavarotti. This truly wonderful recording spans all the classics – from Verdi, Mascagni, Cilea, and Leoncavallo to a good dose of Puccini. Moreover, it allows the music, deftly handled by Nézet-Séguin (whose own meteoric rise takes him onto podiums of the greatest opera houses in the world) breathe in unison with the voice. At the end, you are left with a feeling of peaceful contemplation – not at all a feeling I expected from a “cross-over” artist. So as long as Monsieur Hervieux continues to record discs as beautiful as this one, I will keep on listening to them, my snobbery be damned!