Search - Alfredo Giacomotti, Giuseppe Verdi, John Barbirolli :: Giuseppe Verdi: Otello (Complete Opera, 2 disc set) - Gwyneth Jones, James McCracken, Sir John Barbirolli (conductor)

Giuseppe Verdi: Otello (Complete Opera, 2 disc set) - Gwyneth Jones, James McCracken, Sir John Barbirolli (conductor)
Alfredo Giacomotti, Giuseppe Verdi, John Barbirolli
Giuseppe Verdi: Otello (Complete Opera, 2 disc set) - Gwyneth Jones, James McCracken, Sir John Barbirolli (conductor)
Genre: Classical
 
  •  Track Listings (22) - Disc #1
  •  Track Listings (19) - Disc #2


      
?

Larger Image
Listen to Samples

CD Details

 

CD Reviews

McCracken's Finest Role
Steven Muni | Sutter Creek, CA USA | 09/29/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Although Placido Domingo has made this role his own for the last 20 years, in the '60s and '70s two men shared top honors--Jon Vickers and James McCracken, in my opinion one of the most underrated tenors of the recent era. McCracken got his start singing bit parts at the Met, then went to Europe for a decade, and returned singing the big heroic roles, Otello, Radames (opposite Leontyne Price in her first AND her last Met performance of that role), and others.
This cast is a superb ensemble. Dame Gwyneth Jones is a winning Desdemona, clear and glorious of voice, tender and hapless in character. Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, although not possessed of a huge voice, projects Iago's malevolance far more effectively than many bigger-voiced baritones. He is not the overwhelmingly powerful Iago, but the sly, sinister sinuous and supremely menacing villain.
But McCracken is the star of the recording. One of the things that made McCracken's and Vicker's portrayals so effective is that both of them played Otello way over the top. Otello's behavior is really not that of a rational man, and McCracken plays him as more than a little nuts. By contrast, Domingo's portrayal comes across as somewhat too rational to believe that this man would strangle his beloved wife on such flimsy evidence.
McCracken is sometimes criticized for having a "high-intensity" or "pressurized" voice, but that works well for a dramatic hero. In the lower register he has almost a baritone timbre, and keeps that sound even when hitting a ringing B-flat. McCracken is also a fine singing actor--Marilyn Horne relates that when singing Carmen to McCracken's Don Jose on the Met state, (conducted by Leonard Bernstein--it's out on CD), she refused to go on stage with him until the management took away his real knife and replaced it with a rubber one! For me, this is THE definitive version of "Otello"."
One of the finest recordings for the opera
Steven Muni | 10/27/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This under-rated set is actually one of the finest recordings of Verdi's masterpiece in the catalogues. Barbirolli's conducting has much fire and he also has the ear for the many details in Verdi's orchestration. McCracken is a heroic Othello who doesn't resort to shouting, and Gwyneth Jones is certainly one of the most sensitive Desdemona on record. Fischer-Diekau is an artful Iago. The smaller roles are all well taken. Excellent version of the opera in the mid-price range."
Magnificent
Mark Schaeffer | New York, NY United States | 02/15/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I suppose every generation is captive to the popular culture of its era. I love Placido Domingo but I've never heard an Otello that matches James McCracken and this recording. I heard Vickers live and wasn't deeply moved, though live performance in opera is a dicey business.

I listened to this album for forty days in a row. It's that affecting. Fischer Dietrich D. is equal to McCracken. This is a sensuous, overpowering Otello. It was the iconic Otello in the Sixties; it remains unsurpassed."