A bright new tenorial star has been making his way west, beginning with
this debut CD by EMI. Yu Qiang Dai, who lives in Beijing and has taken
upon himself the mission of bringing Western opera to China, has
already sung Cavaradossi (Tosca) at Covent Garden. I hope this
appearance at the Royal Opera House in London is only the beginning of
a stellar career for him, assuming he sounds as good in live
performances as he does on this magnificent CD.
I commend this young tenor for his near perfect Italianate sound and
pronunciation. In this regard, I can hear no difference between Dai
and, say, Gigli, although their timbres are dissimilar. Further, his
ardent singing, cascading tones, and expressive voice bring much
enjoyment to the listener. Dai sings the big roles of Cavaradossi,
Calaf, Des Grieux, Rodolfo, and others with the kind of intensity that
can break a glass, and yet he still has breath to spare. His high notes
seem effortless, his legatos masterly. He brings the aria “Che gelida
manina” (La Bohème) to an end with a nuanced and exquisite pianissimo.
As Werther, he displays great colors and contrasts. And in “Mamma”
(Cavalleria rusticana) his distress is palpable, with an attractive
catch in his voice. The sound of this CD is terrific, and the texts are
translated into several languages.