Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Verdi, Carreras, Caballe|
Un Ballo in Marschera (Dig)
Genres: Soundtracks, Classical
Listen to Samples
Carreras stands out in a mediocre performance
Santa Fe Listener | Santa Fe, NM USA | 12/20/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"For me, this rather starry Un Ballo from Covent Garden was sunk by the time the prelude finished -- Davis's conducting is so listless as to be unrecognizable as Verdi, and he doesn't warm up very much for the big dramatic moments, either. The wobbly Ulrica of Patricia Payne and the gritty Renato of Wixell must have sounded satisfactory on a good night at the Royal Opera, but they can't compete on records. Basically we are left with Carreras in excellent voice (although prone to bawling) and one of his favored partners, Caballe, who does very well considering that she isn't naturally a Verdi spinto sosprano-- the microphone helps a lot here. Fans of the two stars won't be gravely disappointed. (The disgruntled reviewer below who finds Caballe in bad voice must have the highest standard for being in good voice.)
Since this studio recording of Un Ballo has its problems, one can turn to a griping, intensely dramatic Carreras-Caballe pirate on Opera d'Oro that more than makes up for it in fire power, assuming you don't mind inferior but listenable sound."
For Carreras fans only
Irene Adler | Seattle, WA | 04/27/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
"The best (and only) reason to get this recording: Jose Carreras caught at his prime. His gorgeous voice will make you wish that Verdi had written more arias for Riccardo. Heck, he might as well have just sung all the male parts in this opera.
As long as you buy this recording with the understanding that Carreras' performance is the only merit it has, you won't be disappointed. In terms of overall performance, this is far from the best Ballo committed to record. Go for one of the more popular recordings if you are new to Ballo (either the Solti/Pavarotti/Price or one of the di Stefano/Callas recordings will do fine). The conducting is lackluster, which places a serious limitation on how the orchestra sounds. Caballe here is inexplicably mediocre: spiritless, wobbly interpretation; it's a marvel how she can sing such an elegant Violetta for Pretre just years earlier and somehow turn in such an ugly performance here. Wixell is an awful Renato, with none of the passion of Brunson. However, without a doubt, the worst performance here is the Ulrica. Her octave-wide vibrato on every single note sustained longer than a quarter-second is irritating in the extreme. If Ludwig and Simionato are the major leagues, this Ulrica doesn't know what a ball looks like.
If you decide that that's too much garbage to deal with for the sake of Jose Carreras, Opera d'Oro has a live recording of him in this opera, also in his prime. The individual performances there are better, though there are other caveats. Personally, it's a total toss-up between the two."