WHY?

If the concept of an operatic tenor plying the pop charts with a broad range of songs d'amour is hardly a new one (see also Mario Lanza and Luciano Pavarotti), it's one that has enduring appeal, especially when entrusted to the talents of an established master like Placido Domingo. Culled from his albums De mi alma Latina ("From My Latin Soul") (volumes 1 and 2) and Be My Love, this collection ably finds the common ground between Hollywood and La Scala, and wends its way through a Latin-inflected romantic songbook that stretches from Rome to Rio. Whether mining the sentiments of filmdom's Francis Lai ("Love Story") and Maurice Jarre ("Somewhere My Love") or pop standards like Bert Kaempfert's "Spanish Eyes" and "Somewhere over the Rainbow," Domingo infuses them all with a grace and drama that belie the sometimes overly precious arrangements that back his efforts. The singer has aimed for timelessness here, and largely hit the mark. --Jerry McCulley

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