Album: Joseph Calleja, The Maltese Tenor (Decca)

A huge success at the Royal Opera House last year in Verdi's Simon Boccanegra, Joseph Calleja understandably includes his standout aria from that production, "Sento avvampar nell'anima", on this latest collection, along with plenty of Puccini and a series of French heroic roles from Offenbach's Hoffman, Massenet's Manon and Bizet's Pearl Fishers, in all of which he shows no cramping of his natural bel canto style by the French line, finding plenty of room to manoeuvre.

And when he and the soprano Aleksandra Kurzak begin their dalliance, the chemistry is sublime. Elsewhere, the various Puccini arias from Tosca and Manon Lescaut present Calleja at his best: robust and resonant.

DOWNLOAD THIS: Sento avvampar nell'anima; De mon amie, fleur endormie