Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Mario Borriello, Jules Massenet, Carlo Felice Cillario|
Listen to Samples
Lyrical and Italianate
carmen adoree | 08/31/2000
(3 out of 5 stars)
"A warm and passionate account of Massenet's opera, not very French but in this case it's a bonus -- the characters are gutsy and full of life. Tagliavini's very light voice creates the illusion of fragile youth, and the "Pourquoi me reveiller" is for once not bawled out as a hit tune; it sounds an organic part of the scene. Gencer's heart-on-sleeve style may sound over the top for some but I love it: this is a Charlotte who indeed might drive a man to suicide. The lighter color of the soprano voice adds a touch of vulnerability to the character, and her full throbbing low notes are sinfully rich. The sound is decent in-house though the orchestra is distant and unresonant."
Good Italian language version in spotty sound
L. E. Cantrell | Vancouver, British Columbia Canada | 09/20/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Source: Live performance at Teatro Verdi, Trieste, January 20, 1959.
Sound: Variable and sometimes exasperating. An earlier Amazon reviewer has stated that the "orchestra sounds like they're playing in a cardboard box somewhere." With regard to the overture, I entirely agree. I very nearly turned off my player at that point and consigned this set to my (too large, alas) box of total losers. Once the singers appear, however, they are captured in an entirely more satisfactory manner, not perfectly, but certainly adequately. As the piece progresses, the pick-up of the orchestra seems to improve. Nowhere else does the pit band sound quite so awful as in those initial bars of the overture.
This is a live performance with its full share of extraneous noises. The audience is not as bad as it might be. There are relatively few mood-spoiling coughers and the bravi-yahoos are fairly circumspect. It is pretty clear that the audience is not familiar with "Werther." They really don't know where to clap and often their applause is well-intended but sadly anemic. (It makes one long for the good old days of the claques. Those horny-handed professionals knew exactly when to applaud and they could fake sincerity with the best!) Occasionally, the microphones pick up what sounds like hundreds of people engaged in quiet conversation at some considerable distance; at other times there is perfect silence except for the performers and the odd booming footstep on the resonant stage floor.
Cast: Werther - Ferruccio Tagliavini; Charlotte - Leyla Gencer; Sophie - Giuliana Tavolaccini; Albert - Mario Borriello; The Bailiff - Vito Susca; Schmidt - Raimondo Botteghelli; Johann - Eno Mocchiutti. Orchestra and chorus of Teatro Verdi, Trieste; Carlo Felice Cillario, conductor.
Text: Three act format presented in Italian translation.
Format: Disk 1, Acts I and II. Disk 2, Act III. Playing time, two hours.
Documentation: No libretto. Short summary of plot. Nothing on the cast or the circumstances of the performance or recording. Track list shows only Italian tags. Singers are not identified beyond the name of one character per track. No timings are provided.
I find this performance more difficult than most when it comes to forming an opinion. If I were not familiar with "Werther" in its true French form, and that particularly in the ancient but magnificent recording with Georges Thill, I think that I would hold this Italian version in much higher regard.
Considered solely on its own, this is a lively and entertaining little opera full of bumptious, Italianate passion. Cillario's conducting is lively and full of forward propulsion. The two lead singers, Tagliavini and Gencer, are top-quality performers now largely and unjustly forgotten. If the Ferruccio Tagliavini of 1959 was no longer quite the silvery-voiced phenomenon he once had been, he was, nevertheless, a singer of surpassing elegance who could easily hold his own against any tenor today. Much the same is true of Leyla Gencer. The rest of the cast is good. Mario Borriello is a particularly pleasing surprise as the third side of the fatal triangle, Charlotte's husband, Albert. Giuliana Tavolaccini's vocal control is a little dubious, but she characterizes Charlotte's silly little sister, Sophie, very effectively. This performance, then, makes a very appealing Italian statement, but it singularly fails to communicate the peculiar Franco-Weltschmerz extracted by Massenet from Goethe that is so clearly present in the Georges Thill and other French language versions.
Going strictly by what I find on this set, and without consideration of other performances and performing styles, I would normally assign it four stars and then withdraw one for spotty sound quality. But, hey, it's got to be better than that thing with Bocelli, so . . . four stars."