Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Leoni, Puccini, Bonynge|
Leoni: L'oracolo; Puccini: Suor Angelica [Australia]
Joan Sutherland is not usually associated with the verismo repertory and her excursions into that area were limited to a few performances of Suor Angelica in Sydney in 1977 (a year before this recording was made) and her p... more »
Joan Sutherland is not usually associated with the verismo repertory and her excursions into that area were limited to a few performances of Suor Angelica in Sydney in 1977 (a year before this recording was made) and her participation in the legendary 1972 Decca recording of Turandot, in which she sang the title-role. In addition she recorded this absolute rarity in 1975, Leoni's L'Oracolo. Set in San Francisco's Chinatown and ending with death by pigtail strangulation, the opera had its world premiere on 28 June 1905 at Covent Garden.
A marvellous underrated masterpiece
Domingo Warner Quijada | santiago,chile | 10/10/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"these operas have their value, Suor Angelica, by being of Maestro Puccini,but what i really found excellent was L'Oracolo by Franco Leoni, the singing of Tito Gobbi and Richard Van Allan as the principals, the mezzo Tourangueau in her shot part,the tenor, the father of the little boy, and last the singing of Dame Joan Sutherland,in her short part,the orchestral color,the wonderful chorus,everything i found at a superlative level.And then,the story,that is why i always believe that knowing what it is sung is primordial to get the meaning of an opera.It is short but moving,you see the human behavior at its worst,even when trying to do the right thing.Hats off to Maestro Bonynge by his conduction,and Tito Gobbi,truly i was astounded, having heard his voice when younger,but his voice in this recording has a Scarpia-like wickedness,that only a true singing actor could have.If you like opera,it will be a wonderful surprise to you."
G.D. | Norway | 12/24/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Surprising bedfellows, perhaps, and Leoni's charming opera cannot quite hold its own against Puccini's masterpiece. Yet this is a heartily recommended release - the performance of Suor Angelica is probably the best there is, a magnificent, gloriously atmospheric performance, and L'Oracolo will probably never receive a better recording either (and it is certainly a work that deserves one, even if it isn't quite subtle and deep enough to warrant competing interpretations).
The cast for Suor Angelica is as starry as one could imagine - even the minor roles are filled by outstanding singers who bring not only technical mastery but also plenty of character to the roles. Christa Ludwig is on top form, with a mature and authoritative more than minacious portrayal of La Zia Principessa (which I think is just right), and the singing is astounding. Still, Sutherland steals the show. By the time of the recording (1978), she sounded perhaps a little too mature for the character and as so often with her recordings you cannot really make out the words she is singing. But listen for just a couple of seconds and you realize how little it matters. In particular, the last part (from "Senza mamma" to the end) is a gorgeous realization of one of Puccini's most powerfully shaped and visionary climaxes; quite heavenly. Bonynge's conducting is equally commendable, superbly paced and drawing fabulous sounds from the orchestra.
Franco Leoni (1864-1949) is a less familiar name; in fact, this is, as far as I know, his only representation in the catalogue. He wrote a series of operas (including some produced by the Savoy Theatre and Broadway), of which L'Oracolo is best known. It is no masterpiece, not by a long shot, but almost manages to convince you otherwise in this performance; not the least because of the excellent conducting and orchestral (and choral) contributions. That is, you cannot avoid a certain embarrassing fake-orientalism, for instance the chorus shouting in fake Chinese, but there are many very fine things here; never exactly refined but very effective (it is also superbly scored), for instance in the scene at the market place. The performances are, once again, excellent; Gobbi had been in the game for a long time when this recording was made, but despite the slightest traces of wear, this is an utterly convincing characterization; Ryland Davies is admirable and Sutherland is as wondrous as ever - she doesn't have role with much room for perspective, but the color and opulence and sheen are more than acceptable compensations.
Recorded sound is vibrant and warm; in particular, I think, in Suor Angelica, but L'Oracolo has much atmosphere and perspective as well. In short, this is a magnificent release and indeed something of a must, not only for Sutherland fans (even if it is a particularly essential acquisition for those) - one gorgeously realized masterpiece and a very attractive, effective rarity with an almost equally convincing realization. Very strongly recommended."