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Mascagni: Cavalleria Rusticana / Herbert von Karajan
Pietro Mascagni, Herbert von Karajan, La Scala Theater Orchestra
Mascagni: Cavalleria Rusticana / Herbert von Karajan
Genre: Classical
  •  Track Listings (22) - Disc #1


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lesismore26 | Chicago, Illinois USA | 01/22/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Mascagni's "Cavalleria Rusticana" has been recorded multitudes of times over the last fifty years ---- and to my ears, this 1965 effort is the best recorded performance of all of them. Herbert von Karajan has fashioned a reading of this much-heard opera that makes you feel that you are hearing it for the very first time. Orchestral color and "verismo" atmosphere abounds here as in no other "Cav" recording, and there are instruments in the orchestra that seem much more prominent than we are used to hearing in this particular opera ----- and the orchestral crescendos are more powerful than I have ever encountered them. Carlo Bergonzi, perhaps not the most creative and innovative artist, sings a Turridu with flow, beauty, and taste. Fiorenza Cossotto ----- probably the greatest Italian mezzo since Gulietta Simionato and Fedora Barbieri ---sings a smoldering and compelling Santuzza with a voice ideally suited to the violent emotions of the role. Giangiacomo Guelfi is a vocally solid and strong Alfio. Plainly, with von Karajan at the helm, and with the caliber of these great artists, "Cavalleria Rusticana" comes across on this recording with all of the violence and passion which Mascagni certainly must have intended. This one's a real winner ----- and it's companion performance of "Pagliacci", also conducted by von Karajan and starring Carlo Bergonzi as Canio ------- is every bit as great.Buy them both!"
Wonderful...look no further
S Duncan | London | 12/10/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I think the story of this famous opera needs no telling. It is very accessible and very exciting....and it's short. All in all, a brilliant package.

The singers, however, are paired with one of my favourite conductors of all time. Herbert von Karajan has been criticised for making his music "too beautiful". Well, for me there can be no such thing. His conducting here is typically sensitive and his devotion to the singers was just pure genius. The chorus is excellent and their hymn with Santuzza goes the full way in making the audience sympathetic to the circumstances leading to her drastic actions.

So we come to Santuzza. Fiorenza Cossotto is one of those singers who give it her all. You hear it in her voice. She can rise, soar and float her notes like a warm current as well as stop your world with her chest register. Naturally, she excels in both mezzo and soprano roles. Not to eclipse her esteemed art, I would concur that she is every bit as astounding as the great Simionato.

Allegri's Mama Lucia seems an improvement over all the others I've heard. Not a wobbly, fruity note in sight, yet not the sort of melo-drama to leave you feeling overindulged. Her "Aiutateci noi..." for example, feels genuinely 'winded'- like someone who has heard the sort of new to make her quietly sit down. To complete the female protagonists, Martino's Lola made me applaud the CD-player as if it were a live performance! There she came along, singing sweetly, only to be caught other words, the vocal acting and singing were excellent. BUT it get's better. The exchange with Santuzza (and here Cossoto deserves even more high praise) builds to an electrifying tension that gets released in sheer genius: Martino's "Io me ne vado"! I dare you not to laugh at the cat-fight metaphor when you listen to it!!

Bergonzi has always been a reliable tenor for fact, perhaps more than that. While I can't claim that he was particularly amazing, he was amazing nonetheless. His Turridu is faultless...I only wish I hadn't heard Bjorling! But these should not be reasons to under-rate a great singer. Once again, Bergonzi gives a wholly Italian and aesthetically appealing performance. Nowhere is this more apparent than the cavatina at the beginning.

Finally, Guelfi's Alfio, with his resonant, secure baritone, is simply dashing. He colours his voice superbly (e.g., "Io me ne vado").

This is for me a first choice."
Wagner's Parsifal to the tunes of Mascagni's Cavalleria
Jorge Luis Castillo | Goleta, CA | 10/13/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Wagner's Parsifal to the tunes of Mascagni's Cavalleria rusticana would be a good slogan for this recording. Karajan's massive, overpowering but sensitive conducting bestows the score with a rapt luminescence rarely heard in this piece. It has to be one of the slowest Cavallerias on record (the composer's own version a strong contender). The well-cast singers are totally committed and moving but never vulgar. The recording is absolutely first rate."