Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Vincenzo Bellini, Guido Picco, Mexico City Orquesta del Palacio de Bellas Artes|
Bellini: I Puritani
Listen to Samples
Callas' miraculous Elvira
Emma de Soleil | On a holiday In Ibiza, then back to the UK for stu | 02/23/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Callas once performed a true vocal miracle: She sang Wagner's Brünnhilde and Bellini's Elvira in the same week! That's like letting Nilsson do Elvira and Sills Brünnhilde!!!! Impossible? Callas made it possible and conquered the world of opera! This is one of those recordings where Callas was caught in her fullest prime, the time where she was a true assoluta. This word fits no other soprano because neither Sills nor Sutherland nor anyone could do Puritani AND Walküre. She has brilliant moments, INCREDIBLE Ds, Es and more! Glittering coloratura, powerful drama! Not even the most fanatic Callas-basher will find a mistake in her singing here. And this recording also destroys the stupid prejudice that Callas was fine for the drama and not the technique. Her high notes, the burning, exquisite coloratura and the haunting pathos of "Qui la voce sua suave" where she alone brings out the madness, tragedy and the fear of this precious woman rank this as THE "I Puritani". Di Stefano sounds better than on the studio-recording he and Callas did later and is a real opponent for Pavarotti. Picco's conducting is fine, the sound-quality is great for a live-broadcast. The audience adores them. And so will you!"
Nearly chaotic, as Ardoin described it
Armindo | Greece | 05/30/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
It sometimes makes one wonder if the people who've reviewed a certain item, have ever actually listened to it.
The Callas "vedovi" take it on me simply because I point out the flaws but hey, John Ardoin, a quite serious Callas admirer but knowledgeable enough to hear the problems, called this performance chaotic! I just happen to agree.
Elvira, as heard on the Fonit Cetra and EMI studio recording is one of my favourite Callas roles. She made me sob with her first recording of Qui la voce. In Mexico however apart from some lovely moments, she fails to convince. I've been told that the Mexico performances were under rehearsed and judging from this and her Rigoletto, which is another all-over-the-place performance, I'm sure it's true. Picco in this case is also to blame for his support is far from ideal. Although struggling to lighten the voice throughout the performance, Callas sang many great top notes. The E-flat at the end of an otherwise touching mad scene however turns unruly as if she didn't know what she was doing.
Di Stefano is in fine voice and sings with ardour. His voice in "a te o cara" as on the EMI recording shines. He and Callas however fail to impress in the third act duets, which sound rather routine. The rest of the cast is inadequate and forgettable. Under these circumstances, this is hardly a recommendable Puritani, particularly when the EMI recording with the excellent Serafin has Callas, Di Stefano in better shape with a good supporting cast is available. Sutherland's second studio is still the all-around most recommendable recording for its sound, complete score and outstanding cast while any Devia Elvira will give you probably the most Bellinian singing ever.
In terms of sound by the way, the new archipel release offers probably the best.