Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Luigi Cherubini, Carlo Maria Giulini, Anita Cerquetti|
Cherubini: Gli Abencerragi
J. Vasco Pimentel | Lisbon, Portugal | 05/24/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This might well be one of the best live Opera recordings ever. A great unknown Opera to begin with, one of Cherubini's last, much better written than the early Medea. Giulini knew exactly what he was doing when he revived this masterpiece. His style is precisely right. No words can describe Anita Cerquetti in this performance. Having absolutely nothing in common with Callas - in fact, it's like she doesn't know the human race has produced its most terrifying mirror (Callas) - she cuts through you with exactly yhe same intensity Callas does. And NO ONE DOES THAT, right? RIGHT? Wrong. Anita did it for a handful of years in a handful of Operas, then retired to raise her family and is now living in Rome and being a beautiful person. It's just plain stupid not to have this, the Ernani with Mitropoulos and the Decca Recital with Serafin. Most of your Opera collection is dispensable. Anita Cerquetti will take good care of you for the rest of your life. Oh God, there she is doing Act 3 again... Oh God... Oh God..."
Interesting, but. . .
Esteban Molina | San Francisco | 02/07/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"When I finished listening to this work for the first time, I caught myself thinking, "Well, that was a nice bit of Spontini." And, rather than compare it to Cherubini's better-known "Medea" [in whatever form or language you've met it] as another reviewer does, a comparison with Spontini's fairly well-known "La Vestale" might give you a slightly better idea of what you'll find if you buy "Gli Abencerragi". I'm not musician enough to extol its possible compositional virtues; I can only tell you whether it holds my attention and gives me pleasure, and it does neither. It's an interesting piece; I'm glad I heard it; and now I know what it's like. The solo writing isn't particularly memorable, and over and over I longed for that elusive thing called a tune. You're unlikely to go away humming anything from this Cherubini work. On the other hand, there are numerous tutti moments when everyone - orchestra, chorus and soloists - get a great deal off there chests at some length; and these moments are very impressive indeed. They aren't enough to carry the work, but nevertheless they are beautiful. Given great singers and a proper production, I can imagine the work would provide an enjoyable evening in the theatre, with the thrill of live music, great singing, costumes, lighting - the whole magical business of opera. But as a listening experience alone, it doesn't reach very high. As for the sound on these CDs, the singers are favoured and very natural, but the full depth of the orchestral playing is lost in a fairly compressed sound. But one doesn't buy and listen to this because of the sound quality - and I hope I don't put you off completely! - but for two very good reasons. One is that you are very unlikely ever to hear it again anywhere else, live or recorded, unless some eccentric billionaire decides to sponsor it on a whim. The second reason is a chance to hear Anita Cerquetti in anything you can lay your hands on. She sings wonderfully here. Even she can't transform the music into something it isn't, but she comes awfully close! She really was a marvel. So, at this price, you really have nothing to lose; and you do have perhaps your only chance to hear Cerquetti and an opera so rare that you're unlikely ever to come across it again. And - who knows? - you may disagree completely with my assessment and think it a real treasure. But, for me, 5 stars for Cerquetti and probably a 3 for Cherubini."