Though the album, Patrizio Buanne’s third, was released overseas in 2009 and has been certified platinum, the young Italian baritone only recently began making waves in the U.S., thanks largely to a PBS special. The sort of waves Buanne makes tend to be of the tidal variety, both in terms of presentation and venue. Minimalist settings aren’t his style—all three of his albums have been recorded with the Royal Philharmonic—and he attracts stadium-sized audiences. Think of him as the Italian Michael Bublé, blended with a healthy dose of Placido Domingo.
Buanne favors pop tunes from the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s, usually with an Italian twist. On Patrizio you’ll find a powerhouse “Tu Vuó Fa L’Americano,” the classic 1956 poke at American culture and Italian lads who coveted it, next to the ersatz Italian of “Mambo Italiano” and a translated treatment, featuring Renee Olstead, of the Shirley Bassey hit “Never, Never, Never.” Most curious, if beautifully rendered, is “Maybe This Summer,” which began life in 1960 as the Italian ballad “Estate,” was established as a jazz standard by João Gilberto, has been recorded in Italian by a host of American singers and is now being presented in English by an Italian. Amidst such a helter-skelter playlist, Buanne shapes tender readings of “Crazy” and “Fly Me to the Moon” nestled in subdued string arrangements, demonstrating that, when he chooses, he can attenuate the bombast and achieve the sort of intimacy meant for audiences of 50, not 5,000.