Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Verdi, Pavarotti, Sutherland|
No Description Available. Genre: Classical Music Media Format: Compact Disk Rating: Release Date: 10-APR-2007
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No Description Available.
Genre: Classical Music
Media Format: Compact Disk
Release Date: 10-APR-2007
DAVID BRYSON | Glossop Derbyshire England | 02/22/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Now that Pavarotti is singing, doubtless in a solo role, in the heavenly choir, I felt it was time to add his Trovatore to my collection, to accompany the great Rigoletto in which he also stars with Sutherland under the baton of Bonynge. At the height of Sutherland's illustrious career there were occasional murmurs of objection from those reluctant to accept her husband bundled (as they say in the software world) with her in some kind of package deal. Myself, I thought he handled Rigoletto admirably. Verdi at this particular stage is far from lacking in subtlety, but Rigoletto is not yet Falstaff, and that is even more true of Trovatore. Nuances are just not the name of the game in this wonderful opera. Trovatore is either 'in your face' or it is nothing, and Bonynge seems to me to have got the general idea very well indeed. Verdi had just been dealing with a distinctly experimental book in Rigoletto, and for all I remember he may have been looking already at an even more risky project in Traviata. Presented with a libretto that parades the whole caboodle of melodramatic Italian opera seria he probably experienced a sense of liberation and was in his element with the safer and less controversial themes of burning at the stake, incinerated infants, gipsy curses, duels to the death, suicide from a poison ring and choruses of nuns.
There are five principals in this opera, not two. Ferrando is sung by no less than Ghiaurov, his is the first voice we hear so he has to make a good impression, and unsurprisingly he performs beautifully. The Azucena is Marilyn Horne who has to satisfy our demanding standards in Stride la vampa! and the di Luna is Ingvar Wixell who has to do the same in no less than Il balen. Nothing short of alpha will do for such established and heavenly favourites, and I feel that both artists succeed rather well, in these numbers and elsewhere. Leonora is of course Sutherland, and older Verdians will know what to expect. As a technician she is little short of incredible - just listen to D'amor sull'ali to hear what I mean - but one has to be able to live with her odd diction, although at this period of her career she was at least articulating words clearly. This is a great voice, I'm in no doubt, and a great singer, but a bit of a specialised taste all the same.
Alone of the five principals Pavarotti is singing his own mother tongue. That fact conspires along with everything else that he brings to role of Manrico in creating something awesome. I am going to be replaying this great set often, I can tell, but the solo numbers that I shall look forward to most are the likes of Di quella pira and Ah si, ben mio. This is a voice among voices, a voice for the ages, but a voice used with artistry in both the dramatic and the expressive senses. The seemingly effortless power must have taken strenuous practice, but in the end this man was born to sing, and born to sing Manrico. Any slight `edge' that I might have detected round the baritone voices I do not detect in the vicinity of Pavarotti, so perhaps it wasn't the recording after all. In general the recording, from 1977, is not bad at all although one could tell that it has not been done just last year. Balance is good, the powerful ensembles at the end of each scene are in good focus, the choruses of various kinds are effective and the orchestral tone is good too. In the last analysis we are not considering a concert of soloists, with or without accompaniment, we are considering an operatic drama. It takes stamina. How often do any of the voices come down from the top fifth of their register, how much respite do they get in some scenes (notably the finales), and how often is the style anything less than strenuous? I remember how Montserrat Caballe once expressed it - `For Verdi you need so much VOICE.' This lot have it, and they know how to use it.
On a short third disc there are some ballet numbers that Verdi, ever the servant of his public, inserted for Parisian performances. On this stylistic note, it probably ought to be mentioned that Sutherland and Horne embellish their solos somewhat with occasional trills and even flourishes suggestive of mini-cadenzas. Handel would have expected this kind of thing, and I don't believe Verdi would have objected in this context, although it would not have done for Gilda much less Violetta. The full libretto is provided with English translation, and the short essay by William Weaver is given the full polyglot treatment. This essay is quite interesting and it is pleasant to find `gipsy' rightly spelt for once, but I would take respectful issue with the view that Trovatore is a `narrated' opera. Goodness me, there is plenty of stage action here. What I think Weaver means is that a newcomer to the story could usefully invest half an hour into understanding the large amount of background history that has happened off-stage. My own idea of a narrated opera is dear Smetana's Dalibor, and I recommend that earnestly to the entire opera-loving public. Get the flawed but marvellous performance from Krombholc with another great tenor, Blachut, in the title role. Smetana had, in my own opinion, real dramatic talent, but he could have done with lessons from Verdi in how to bully librettists, and sadly he had to do his best with what I call a narrated opera, one in which nothing happens.
But Pavarotti - as someone sings here `I hear a voice from heaven.'"
A great recording!
Daniel G. Madigan | Redmond, WA United States | 09/13/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This may not be Luciano Pavarotti's opera, but he brings his Italian energy to it, and he sings with intensity, if not some strain in the Di Quella part, but then compare to others and he is fabulous!
Joan Sutherland does wondefuil things with her trills here, esp. at the close of Tacea la notte..Not the ending you have heard for centuries, but trilling up to high notes, embellishments galore, and this is true for the Timor di me..esp, again, at the conclusion of it: sky rocket high notes, endless trills, and special interpolations never heard before or since. She reads this opera as bel canto, and hence the liberties, and hence the excitement.
Marilyn Horne does the same thing as Joan Sutherland, many little touches and trills and soft conclusions that are of the bel canto school, and they are very delicate and stylish, beautiful to listen to. Only the most skilled can do this sort of thing, only the most artistic and intelligent, and this cast is all this and more.
Someone complained about the ballet music..on the older 1987 CD release there is no ballet music, on the new, boxless set, the ballet music is there, as on the older, 1977 LPs, and that music is superb!
Buy this, preferably w/ the ballet, and rejoice!"
An exceptional recording
BDSinC | Calgary, Alberta, Canada | 09/15/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I purchased this recording years ago on Cassette. At that time, the ballet music was incorporated within the context of the opera in Act III where it belongs. Many people have commented on the embellishments sung by the various singers. Well, one would not have to wonder were one able to view the "French rewrite" of the opera. All of Joan Sutherland's embellishments in all her arias come from the French version of the opera. They were so written by Verdi himself. However, when a cadenza is more elaborate in the Italian version we all can buy, she uses that (many of the cadenzas in the French version really don't go all that high, nor are they all that elaborate compared to the Italian score). Many of Horne's embellishments, likewise, come from the French version of the opera. There is a huge elaborate cadenza in the duet with Manrico in Act II (it is extremely difficult and ascends to high C and descends to low G). Horne uses part of this cadenza. This is truly a singers opera, and even though it is highly dramatic, it still requires VOICE, VOICE, and even MORE VOICE. We have that applenty in this recording. What would have been interesting were if this recording had the various differences that are in the French version. They included the ballet music. But there are many various textures to the scoring (some retained when the ballet music was put within the body of the recording, and in the duet with Horne and Pavarotti). The greatest changes are in the conclusion of Act III, where between the time Azucena is recognized and her famous "Ah! Deh! rallentate" a duet with the count happens! The music is wonderfully interesting (as neither character is really listening to the other; it is like two soliloques). And the opera ends in a different key (A flat) with a repeat of the Miserere with Azucena intoning how the count has killed his own brother. Since so much of the French rewrite was included in this recording (but all sung in Italian), one wonders why they simply didn't have an appendix which included all these nice changes. Perhaps it is because the original concept of the work really is far more dramatic, even if these changes give a more "cultured" rendition of the work. But for this recording itself, I found it wonderfully refreshing to listen to. In a way, it placed the opera even more into the realms of a "singer's opera." But, in my view, with Trovatore, that hardly matters. Even if it becomes more vocal and more decorative, it still loses nothing as far as the drama that we have all come to know and love."