Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Stunning singing in neglected operas
Ralph Moore | Bishop's Stortford, UK | 08/21/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"What a find this recording is for those, like me, who had ignored it for years believing the works to be overblown and the singers past their prime. Neither is true; although Del Monaco was in vocal decline by 1969, following a serious road accident, he drew upon all his experience and expertise to produce a wonderful piece of singing - often much subtler and more shaded than when he was in his best "can belto" form, which was always exciting but a little monotonous. Despite her relatively advanced years, Olivero's singing is inspired; she sang wonderfully well into her sixties and beyond (like a handful of great singers whose technique was so reliable: Battistini, Tucker and now Domingo). I remember reading somewhere her describing how frustrated Del Monaco became when trying to echo her exquisite pianissimi in the "Francesca" love duet; at least this indicates how sincerely he wanted to fine down his large voice for the tenderer moments. The Zandonai excerpts are almost more appealing than the whole opera "Fedora"; such a winning mixture of verismo passion and some lyrical, atmospheric scene-setting. Both seem worthy of major revival - "Fedora" appears occasionally - although you will find that it takes a few, repeated listenings to absorb the beauty of the melodies used by both composers, often re-cycled in Wagnerian leitmotiv style. The excerpts from "Francesca" are enough to make us realise what we have been missing; "Fedora" is recorded complete with an excellent supporting cast, including Gobbi, rather dry of voice but very characterful, of course, especially in his one brief showpiece, "La donna russa". This opera also has the dubious distinctions of each act unfolding in three disparate settings (St Petersburg, Paris and the Swiss mountains - lots of echoes of Giordano's own ""Andrea Chenier", Puccini's "Tosca" and Catalani's "La Wally") and of being the first to feature a bicycle in the storyline! This recording is a monument to two great artists and is especially valuable as a memento of Olivero - so grievously under-recorded by the big houses - who was such a consummate singing actress. The plot of "Fedora" is no more hokey than that of many other more successful operas and in any case the music is well worth the odd absurdity."
IT GRABS YOU BY THE WALLS!
Alfredo R. Villanueva | New York, NY United States | 03/19/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I THANK ALL OF THE ERUDITE REVIEWERS THAT HAVE PROVIDED SUCH WONDERFUL INFORMATION ON THIS RECORDING. MY REACTION IS MORE VISCERAL. IF YOU HAVE THE MARTON/CARRERAS, SMASH IT WITH A HAMMER,SELL IT OR GIVE IT AWAY. THIS IS TRUE VERISMO SINGING OF THE KIND OUR BRAVE NEW WORLD OF DO-IT-ALL OPERA STARS CANNOT EVEN BEGIN TO APPROACH. HOW DELIGHTFUL TO LISTEN TO MY BELOVED OLIVERO IN A STUDIO RECORDING WITH CLEAN SOUND!!!!
DEL MONACO GIVES HIS ALL, AND GOBBI, WELL, PEERLESS. TO ME, A RECORDING TRIUMPHS WHEN IT MAKES YOU SIT UP AND LISTEN, AND WHEN IT CHANGES YOUR MIND UPWARDS ABOUT THE ARTISTIC VALUE OF A MUSICAL PIECE. THIS ONE DEFINITELY DOES! LISTEN TO OTHER GIORDANO OPERAS, AND NOT ONLY TO CHENIER!"
THE BEST FEDORA
R. Mark | 03/03/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"FEDORA was one of Magda Olivero's signature roles and nobody sings it better. Other than the complete TURANDOT recording with Cigna which was recorded many years earlier and where Olivero's voice sounds totally different with a much more pronounced vibrato reminiscent of an older style of singing, this is Olivero's only other studio recording of a complete opera and a great document of what she sounded like later on in her career. In this FEDORA she sings opposite the equally amazing Mario Del Monaco and although he is a little past his prime it still is a great studio document of two amazing singers. Magda has always been a controversial artist and is considered one of Italy's most important opera singers, so much so that when the famous printing house RICORDI decided to produce a series of biographies of Italy's most important opera singers, the first volume was not Caruso or Tebaldi or Callas but Magda Olivero. I highly recommend this FEDORA, it is one of my favorite recordings. I also absolutely love Olivero's live recording of FEDORA from Dallas with the tenor Bruno Prevedi who is equally as impressive in that performance with his beautiful dramatic tenor voice. P.S. I just heard from a friend of mine that this recording was originally supposed to be with Renata Tebaldi but she couldn't do it and recommended Magda Olivero in her place."