Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Amilcare Ponchielli, Jesús López-Cobos, Bonaldo Giaiotti|
Ponchielli: La Gioconda
Listen to Samples
A solid bet
Rosomax | Boulder, CO United States | 11/22/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The sound of this live recording is substantially better than on other Opera d'Oro releases. It is also your only opportunity to hear the great Caballe sing the title role if you missed the famous but rare Decca import. On this set, she is partnered by velvet-voiced Jose Carreras as Enzo Grimaldo and metallic, scary-as-hell Matteo Manuguerra as Barnaba. On Decca, it is Pavarotti and Milnes. Both these sets easily beat the famous EMI's Votto recording in terms of this supporting cast, although the fans of Callas should definitely get it to hear their heroine's best recorded performance.Decca's advantages would be its great digital sound and the magnificent Nicolai Ghiaurov as Alvise. (This is not to say that Bonaldo Giaiotti is not adequate, though.) Maria Nave as Laura and Patricia Payne as La Cieca give convincing, very involved performances. The Second Act Gioconda/Laura duet is a bit overdone, at times one fears for the singers' throats as they scream and shriek for dramatic effect, although it is probably appropriate for the stage. After all, this is early verismo opera. Jose Carreras sings beautiful Cielo e Mar, the clarity of it is astounding for a live recording. The famous tenor/baritone duet "Enzo Grimaldo, Principe di Santafior!"is really heated and intense, the voices are like two blades clashing. And, of course, "Suicidio" is marvelous, perhaps not as gripping as Callas' but full of conflicting passions and dazzling vocal colors. Caballe makes a smart use of her bel-canto trained voice for the subtle and lyrical parts of the aria and of the role in its entirety.A word of praise goes out to Geneva audience; did Maestro Lopes-Cobos make them use cough drops? On most other d'Oro recordings you will hear far more noises. The absence of the libretto is harder to endure in this particular case - unlike Maria Stuarda or even Turandot, La Gioconda is a long complicated opera, less familiar and less recorded then they are, and thus requiring a translation booklet at hand. (I just used Decca's.) The synopsis provided is very abridged, yet the booklet does inform the wondering reader that the "Dance of the Hours" was used in Disney's "Fantasia" for dancing hippos. I don't know why, but this brought a smile to my face. Overall, this is a must-have, particularly due to scarcity of Decca's release, good sound, great voices, and great bargain."
Od'O gets one right. A solid bargain set
L. E. Cantrell | Vancouver, British Columbia Canada | 05/16/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is a brief note to second what S. Ettinger wrote about this fine recording, five-and-a-half years ago.
The cast is excellent. The performance is lively. The recorded sound is pretty good. All in all, this is one of Od'O's best efforts."