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MUSIC REVIEW : Tenor De La Mora Delivers Vocal Goods in L.A. Debut

October 28, 1994|TIMOTHY MANGAN

Already a veteran of La Scala, the Vienna Staatsoper and the Deutsche Oper Berlin, Mexican tenor Fernando De La Mora finally got around to making his Los Angeles debut Wednesday at Ambassador Auditorium.

The self-styled protege of Placido Domingo aimed to please with his slate of popular songs and arias in Spanish, French and Italian, and on that score he certainly delivered the goods. Some listeners would have welcomed a greater range of repertory than the sentimental fare chosen for this occasion, however.

As it was, De La Mora's recital became a kind of one-note samba, that note being the high note seemingly at the center of every song and his musical universe--generally delivered with a big step forward and arms spread wide.

Make no mistake, De La Mora has a voice, and he has mastered the oratory of this music and its presentation. He floated elegantly, with the help of the limpid accompaniment of pianist Thomas Muraco, through opening songs by Mompou, Obradors and Grever. He offered a suave "Le reve" from "Manon" and then opened up big--weepy catch and all--for Cilea's "Lamento di Federico." Neapolitan songs by Tosti, Cardillo and De Curtis ("Torna a Surriento") were sung with all the polish, fluidity and fervency one could ask for. As the concert progressed his voice took on an added luster (there had been some slight hoarseness, earlier), and his top notes resounded impressively.

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