born 1965 Atlanta
The only time I heard Stuart Neill on stage was in a Puritani performance at the Wiener
Staatsoper in 1995; he stepped in for a sick colleague, and he was quite a surprise. The
voice pretty, slightly ill-placed, but really just slightly, he gave a far above-average
performance in this difficult role – and his top was actually more than remarkable,
crowned by an effortless high F in Credeasi misera. Well, tenors capable of singing a
high F on stage are obviously a rare species, and so for many years, I hoped he'd come
back to Vienna. He never did. And in the meantime, having heard a few recordings of his
more recent singing, I'm really glad about it... He must be completely crazy – with this
purely lyrical voice (on whose placement he should have continued to work), he has made
Manrico his new cheval-de-bataille (of course without working on the placement, which
has thus grown worse). The Puritani excerpt I'm sending is from about the time when I
heard him, the Di quella pira is from 2009, Florence – this was broadcast by an Italian
radio station!! Admittedly, there is also a recording (available on youtube) from the
final rehearsal of that production where he fares much better, but then, even
muchmuchmuch better wouldn't have made him a Manrico.
In RA format
The audience was deaf!
In RA format
I wish to thank Robert Schlesinger for the recordings and notes.