La Dolores

Album cover art for upc 028946606025
Label: DECCA
Catalog: 4660602
Format: CD

Tomás Bretón's La Dolores from 1895--in which all the male characters love the heroine, Dolores, who works in an inn--is an opera espagnola: a full-blown opera, not a zarzuela, and its plot, characters, mood, and music could belong to no other country but Spain. Bretón's musical idiom is late romantic, and he's a fine composer. The opera's acts build with good intensity, and throughout he keeps the local flavor alive with dances and rhythms that are peculiarly Spanish. Elisabete Matos is a good, colorful singer, but since Dolores is so easy to fall in love with, so should her voice be; the role could have used Victoria de los Angeles's combination of earthiness and purity. The supporting roles are well, if occasionally roughly, taken. Tito Beltrán makes the most of the second-tenor role of Celemin, but the plum role of Lazaro goes to Placido Domingo, who is in good, generalized-ardency voice and demeanor. Antonio Ros-Marbá leads a lively, completely idiomatic performance. This is a worthy addition to the catalog. --Robert Levine