Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Giacomo Puccini, Antonio Pappano, Roberto Alagna|
Puccini - Il Trittico / Alagna, Gheorghiu, Guelfi, Guleghina, Gallardo-Domás, Manca di Nissa, Palmer, Shicoff, van Dam, LSO, PO, Pappano
Aficionados are familiar with Puccini's Il Trittico or "Triptych," his three one-act operas that premiered at New York's Metropolitan in 1918; everyday opera lovers should know them as well. Here is Puccini at his most ima... more »
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Aficionados are familiar with Puccini's Il Trittico or "Triptych," his three one-act operas that premiered at New York's Metropolitan in 1918; everyday opera lovers should know them as well. Here is Puccini at his most imaginative: Il Tabarro, a shocker about the jealousy of an older man towards his deceitful younger wife on a houseboat on the Seine is dark and foreboding, and is, incidentally, probably his greatest, tightest opera. It is given a superb performance here, with Maria Guleghina and the wonderful Neil Shicoff (the true, underrecorded fourth tenor) as the faithless duo and Carlo Guelfi as the pitiable but murdering husband. Suor Angelica is set in a convent (yes, only women's voices). Until the goings turn tragic--the eponymous heroine is told by her cruel aunt that the child she had out of wedlock and gave up has died--the scoring is light, airy, and pure. Cristina Gallardo-Domas and Bernadette Manca di Nissa as the nun and her aunt, respectively, may not have the vocal glamour or depth of some of their predecessors on CD (Renata Scotto or Christa Ludwig), but their beautiful, meaningful singing carries the show. Gianni Schicchi's soundstage (the bedroom of a recently dead rich man in Florence in 1299, peopled by his greedy relatives) is rambunctious for the composer's only foray into comedy--based on a passage from Dante--and this set comes up roses. It's the best one on records. Jose Van Dam actually is funny and Angela Gheorghiu and Roberto Alagna (who also offer a cameo in Tabarro) are super as the young lovers; Gheorghiu's singing of the opera's hit, "O mio babbino caro," is glorious. This set is highly recommended. --Robert Levine
Three hits in one
Ed Beveridge | London, England | 08/05/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Il Trittico is a rare treat in opera houses these days. Not only do the technical and financial demands of staging this triple bill pose a big obstacle - somehow it wouldn't work in a single set - but it is also fiendishly hard to cast. Tempting as it is to cast the same singers across all three operas, the range of parts on offer here actually require very different voices. For "Il Tabarro", a Tosca, a Cavaradossi and a Scarpia fit the bill nicely; a Mimi or Butterfly and a trus dramatic contralto are needed for "Suor Angelica" -and in the last piece, a true Buffo baritone surrounded by a cast of younger, fresher singers are best able to give the comedy the requisite lightness of touch.Apart from Alagna and Gheorghiu, this recording does not necessarily go for big names. Pappano has obviously chosen his cast with the utmost care, however, with some really powerful results. For me, it is Il Tabarro that works best - a fabulous (and parlously underrated) piece, it benefits from the power and commitment of the singers here. Guelfi plays the brooding Michele with a convincing snarl and frigtening aggression towards the denouement; Neil Shicoff's visceral, Italianate sound carves out Luigi's desperation admirably. Maria Guleghina's cavernous soprano captures much of the subtlety and seductiveness of Giorgietta and unleashes one of the most glorious, blood-curdling screams I have heard at the end of the opera. Somehow, all of Puccini's genius seems to be squeezed into this disc and, in under an hour, it's an overwhelming ride.For "Angelica", the reflectiveness and peace of the start turn convincingly to heartbreak and redemption at the end with a spaciously recorded, well paced performance. Cristina Gallardo-Domas sounds very well in the title role and none of the uncertainty of pitch she can display in the theatre is evident here. She makes something very special of the part with her tender, musical singing (far superior to Sutherland's, also recently released) and evinces much sympathy. Bernadette Manca de Nissa sings beautifully and powerfully without effacing memories of Christa Ludwig. Felicity Palmer makes much of little as the Abbess, and Dorothea Roschmann - a very classy soprano indeed - is a delightful Genovieffa. Refreshingly free of syrupy sentiment, the recording is a great success.Perhaps Schicchi - the farce at the end of the enening - works least well here, though it is probably the hardest of the three to bring off. Pappano is again superb and the cast is excellent, but Jose Van Dam is a touch weak as Schicchi; somehow he lacks the edge and bite an Italian singer might bring. That said, his inclination towards restraint rather than overacting does pay off. Alagna is a healthy, lusty Rinuccio, but Gheorghiu's Lauretta steals the show, singing her aria and everything else with meltingly beautiful tone and exemplary style. Of the supporting cast, Felicity Palmer's Zita stands out for her pungent, characterful portrayl.A really serious and succsesful enterprise, therefore - and I must confess one of the most enjoyable operatic releases I have encountered recently. Excellently packaged and great value for money, I recommend this set very highly."
Just maybe the greatest recorded "Trittico" ever
dcreader | 10/09/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Like another previous reviewer, I too came to this set feeling that the old Tito Gobbi recording was something very special, and hard to beat. And it still has a special place in my collection. But this set is exceptional on all counts; it is superbly recorded, the soloists are wonderful, and Pappano's pacing throughout is just glorious...here is a conductor who understands, and has a love for this music. Furthermore, the older Gobbi set is hard to find, and only "Schicchi" is in true stereo. In short, you will not go wrong with these lovely, sensitive recordings. Better yet, get these and the older set if you can find it, and you'll never want for any more."
dcreader | Washington DC area | 05/21/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"A modern recording of Il Trittico was long overdue, and has been fulfilled magnificently by Alagna, Georghiu, Pappano et al. The only negative reviewer of this disc really criticizes the composer (who he thinks is Verdi!) rather than the performances themselves. But, the question for a review is not "is this a good opera?" That is for the purchaser. Rather, the issue is, given that the purchaser wishes to purcahse a recording of the opera, is it a good recording. This is an excellent one and anyone interested should not hesitate."