Opera Now
May 2014

I've seen Alastair Miles sing several bass roles in European opera houses for years, and he's always struck me as reliable but unexciting: I particularly remember him as the man who made the title role of Boito's Mefistofele seem rather a nice chap. So this disc was rather a surprise as, after the 174 bars or hectic introduction la Wolf's Prometheus, Miles's voice bursts into the first line of the song with a vengeance. And so it continues through the programme—a rich and resonant tone, even throughout its easy range, excellent diction and a strong identification with the text. Marie-Noelle Kendall's accompaniment matches her singer all the way and she seizes her opportunities to show her formidable technique without unbalancing the relationship. So it's all rather more exciting than I anticipated and leads me to wonder if Miles, who particularly specialises in the great 19th-century Italian and French roles, is missing a trick. Should he perhaps be looking at Wagner and unleashing his voice with more gusto, rather than playing it safe?