Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Donizetti, Minarelli, Boncompagni Aachen So|
Don Sebastiani (1st Italian Recording)
Listen to Samples
A textually-troubled opera
Jorge Luis Castillo | Goleta, CA | 02/24/1999
(1 out of 5 stars)
"I have listened to 3 versions of Don Sebastiano (Maggio Musicale Fiorentino 1955, Carnegie Hall, 1984, and Aachen 1998). All of them are live recordings with bad to terrible sound and cuts aplenty. The 1955 revival is connsidered a travesty by Donizetti experts. The latter is a live-recording of Donizetti's work using the Italian translation of the German version prepared by the composer for a performance in Viena in 1845. For this version, Donizetti, as far as I can surmise (not having seen a critical edition of the score), added a vigorous cabaletta for Zaida in act 2, deleted the obligatory ballet, moved the impressive septet from act 3 to act 4, and rewrote the finales in acts 1 and act 3. Of these revisions the only real gain comes from Zaida's new cabaletta, well-worth hearing despite the belabored rendition it receives here. Although some recordings of "live" opera are a delight this is not one of them. The singing is depressingly substandard: the tenor has a beefy, ungainly voice and is unable to cope with the high tessitura of the title role; his strained singing makes the performance unpalatable. The mezzo fares better with an agile, if soft-grained, smallish voice. The rest of the cast is competent but undistinguished, with the exception of Ettore Kim (in ringing voice) as the poet Camoens. The recorded sound is awful for a 1998 recording. There is not only the constant noise of the people stomping on-stage but noise from the (seemly tubercular) public as well. In some passages the orchestra totally drowns the singers (in the case of the tenor this is a blessing in disguise) and there is a good amount of distortion and scuffs on the high frequencies as well. Of the 3 versions currently on CD none can be recommended. I prefer the 1984 released by Legato Classics, despite the atrocious sound. It follows the Paris version (minus the ballets and some cuts) and is better performed than the other two (which in itself does not say much). The set comes with a booklet which includes historical notes and the italian text but no translation."