Saimir Pirgu

Saimir Pirgu singsLa traviata: Dei miei bollenti spiriti
In RA format

Saimir Pirgu singsTurandot: Nessun dorma

Saimir Pirgu sings Zoti im, by and with Ardit Gjebrea
Saimir Pirgu was born in September 1981 in Albania. For his vocal studies, he came to Italy, where is still living. I heard him several times at the Wiener Staatsoper, with very mixed results. He was a fine Nemorino (the 2004 performance I saw was his debut in Vienna, and it was more than remarkable for a debut), and above all, a truly excellent Ferrando in Così fan tutte. On the other hand, he was a boring Don Ottavio, a weak Fenton, and (in 2008) a really terrible Alfredo, totally mismatching the musical style, with a sometimes laboured upper register and ridiculously thin top notes, and alarming signs of a developing caprino. (The above recording is not from the performance I saw, and though not good either, it's incomparably better than what I heard.)

His main asset is his really beautiful (very lyrical but not too small) voice; his main problem is that the voice isn't well-placed. But there seemed to be hope, since he was constantly working with his teacher in Bolzano, cautiously trying new roles in small theatres first (above all, back home in Tirana). On the other hand, again, he also seemed overly self-assured... and of course, all hope was in vain, and he soon developed into a sheer nuisance, e.g. in Rachmaninoff's Francesca da Rimini at the Theater an der Wien in 2012.

The two other recordings are more than unusual excursions for a tenor whose voice is way too light for Calaf, and who doesn't normally do any crossover; both were recorded at a music festival in Albania, where he seems to have made those two excursions for his frenetic admirers who are usually referring to him as "the new Pavarotti from Albania" (the third selection is an Albanian pop song rendered with a seemingly famous Albanian pop singer named Ardit Gjebrea). Both are surprisingly well mastered.

Picture source: Pirgu's website

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