Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Bellini, Guadagno, Sills|
Bellini: I Puritani (Live Performance 1972)
Beverly Sills and Luciano Pavoratti Sing Bel Canto
Rudy Avila | Lennox, Ca United States | 07/28/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This recording would benefit immensely from digital remastering. This is just one of two I Puritanis on disc- another one released under Deutsche Grammophone with tenor Nicolai Gedda replacing Pavoratti. While I find that Nicolai Gedda was better suited for this opera and sounds a lot better opposite Beverly Sills, Pavoratti holds his own in this recording as well. I bought it because its rare to find Beverly singing to such a famous name as Pavoratti (though in her New York City Opera days she sang opposite Placido Domingo in Manon and Roberto Devereaux). Pavoratti was at this time already hailed the king of the High C's after his remarkable debut in Donizetti's La Fille Du Regiment opposite Joan Sutherland. He is singing his heart out but it seems he is trying to outshine Beverly Sills, who is truly the star of this opera. Beverly Sills nailed bel canto, truly. She mastered it an early age, she filled the melodic lines with exemplary legato phrasing, with breathtaking pianissimi which even Montserrat Caballe must have admired. Her inflection of text was supremely dramatic. She knew the power of words and that in opera, that's equally if not more important than singing beautifully. As Elvira, she is a hapless victim of deception. Sills sang the roles of ingenue and innocent girls well with her lyric, sweet-toned voice. Set in the 1600's, this opera may be a bit confusing but it seems to be about two lovers briefly torn apart during a war and reunited after the heroine has a short mental collapse.
The Mad Scene in this opera lacks the fame and appeal that the Lucia Mad Scene has, but Bellini blends beautiful singing with dramatic text in a well-executed musical moment. Elvira despairs, nearly dies of love for some time but then regains her sanity. This moment belonged to Beverly Sills, and she sings the role with great flair and beautiful voice. She is still in her prime in this recording, as it seems to be from a 1973 LP recording. Beverly Sills wrote later in an autobiography that Elvira has coloratura that is the best she's sung but that most of the character is purely lyric and the meat of her part is in the legato phrasing. Bellini, the composer of Casta Diva from Norma, was notorious for long lines that seem to go on forever. Beverly Sills, like those long melodic lines, lives on forever in the annals of opera and in dozens of recordings that attest to her musicianship and vocal splendor."