For anyone who has for some reason fallen in love with some other tenor voice, the discovery of Jussi Bjoerlings voice may be heartbreaking. This is not a tenor who can only sing superbly in lyric opera or only in dramatic opera, or only in song and lieder. This singer can sing whatever he wants and more; he does it equally brilliant whatever to the vocal demands may be. That, more than anything makes him absolutely unique in the record history.
In the opening selection of this compilation; "Celeste Aida", this essentially lyric voice demonstrates for every heroic and dramatic tenor how to sing dramatic opera. It is a sheer singing lesson. In the strenuous recitative, he does not shout or use other non-musical effects, but shows that true dramatic expression is characterized by tonal intensiy and not by volume, although he had plenty enough of that. The beautiful and incredibly free flow of lyric tones in the Pearlfishers duet, the Faust cavatina and in the gorgeous "Che gelida manina" is absolutely exemplary. Yet, who could replicate the beauty of those effortless high C`s? I cannot think of anyone.
The only thing that could better this and give the set 5 stars in the book, is a compilation of the same selections, transferred from the original tapes and not excessively remastered as on this occasion. The sound is at times overly bright and the voice sounds thin and even sharp. But the singing is so far unmatched.