Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Gioachino Rossini, Erich Leinsdorf, Roberta Peters|
Rossini - The Barber of Seville / Roberta Peters · Leinsdorf
THE Barber of Seville to own!
Rod Tierman | 05/04/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The first thing a great recording of Il Barbiere di Sviglia MUST have is a great Figaro (naturally) and this recording serves up that order in fine fashion. In my humble opinion, Robert Merrill is one of the finest Figaros of all time (the only other Baritone who rivals Merrill is Tito Gobbi on the fine recording with La Divina, Maria Callas). The advantage of this performance over Gobbi's, this is a more complete performance (ALL of the music is virtually intact. No cuts on this recording). Almaviva is sung masterfully here by Cesare Valletti. Valletti possessed the perfect voice for this role. His coloratura is absolutely flawless here, every run and cadenza being sung very cleanly and musically. Now for the controversial part. Does one prefer their Rosina sung by a coloratura or by a Mezzo (as originally written)? If your taste leans towards a coloratura, I think you will be most delighted with Miss Roberta Peters here. Her "Una voce poco fa" will literally make your heart skip a beat. I don't feel that Peters ever sounded better (with the possible exception of the Rigoletto with Merrill and Bjorling)on a recording. If one leans toward a Mezzo-soprano, might I suggest the recording with Teresa Berganza and Ugo Benelli (who also makes a very impressive Almaviva) on the London/Decca label. Giorgio Tozzi is a very rich sounding, impressive Don Basilio. "La calunnia" is sung to perfection. Ferrando Corena is a very comical Dr Bartolo. The conducting of Eric Leinsdorf is very masterfully done here. This is truly a "golden age" performance of one of the all time masterpieces of the operatic world. This is a Barber to own."
Strange to say, but probably one of the best Barbers
Ivy Lin | NY NY | 10/27/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"It's funny how some "classic" recordings might be classic but they arent necessarily good introductions to an opera. For example, the Maria Callas/Tito Gobbi/Luigi Alva Barber of Seville is often thought to be the classic recording of Rossini's comic gem. While I agree that recording is unique, it's also extremely cut, and it goes for a drier, more "subtle" humor.
OTOH, the Leinsdorf recording, with a cast of Cesare Valletti, Roberta Peters, Robert Merrill, and Fernando Corena is well-sung, relatively complete, well-recorded, and most of all has a freewheeling sense of fun that I think perfectly captures the charm of this opera.
Roberta Peters was a high, light soprano. Her voice can sound a bit glassy and colorless, but her Rosina is lively, virtuostic, and properly spunky. The only caveat is that like some sopranos she transposes "Una voce poco fa' up to F, while the aria IMO is much more charming in its original key of E. Cesare Valleti's Almaviva is more caressing than dazzling (unlike Juan Diego Florez), but unlike many Almavivas he actually sings the whole part. He does not cut his final aria "Cessa di piu resistere."
Overall, I'd say none of the individual singers on this recording are necessarily the best, but together this is a great ensemble recording, and I highly recommend it as an introduction to the opera. To opera, in fact."
Hey! This is one of the BEST!
jesssayitman | 07/18/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I've owned this on vinyl for decades, and it seldom comes any better. Most of you know that, being familiar with Roberta Peters in her prime, along with Valletti, Merrill, Corena, and Tozzi. This is one of the most balanced casts ever assembled. I happen to like both approaches to Rosina- high in the stratosphere vocalizing and the more down-to-earth approach of Teresa Berganza. In Cesare Valletti, we have one of the finest Almavivas since the days of Fernando de Lucia. Valletti gets right into the meat of this character, with Nicolai Gedda being the only modern Almaviva to rival Valletti's voice. (I can't wait to hear Florez sing this!) What can one say about Robert Merrill? If he didn't love singing Figaro, he's done a fine job of fooling me. I do not agree with all of his interpretation, but this is one of the finest baritones having fun with a role that deserves it. (He has formidable competition here: Stracciari is incredible as Figaro. He had one of the most glorious high baritone voices you could ever want to hear and he's darned funny as Figaro to boot. Then there's Sherrill Milnes, who had a voice to rival Stracciari's formidable instrument and the same sense of fun.)Then there are the not so minor roles of Bartolo and Basilio. Corena had a powerful, rich voice used here with a sense of character that's almost impossible to surpass. Has anyone ever had a better voice for Bartolo? Not in my memory! Giorgio Tozzi's Basilio is one of the glories of this performance; a rich, colorful voice with great beauty of tone... all at the service of one of opera's funniest `villains'. Leinsdorf does a fine job capturing the ambience of Barbiere, so I find it hard to go wrong with this recording...So now it's time for a little rant and rave... One of the reviewers chided Corena and Tozzi for going over the top, speaking of them like dogs who were caught digging holes in the neighbors' gardens. (What must he think of Capecchi? I shudder to think of it!) The Barber of Seville is not a dusty old museum piece, it's a comedy about very human people going about their businesses with wacky results. This opera somewhat resembles a train wreck in the making, with boxcars full to the brim with maniac clowns. I love it when the singers get into the meat of their characters. Combining it with glorious voices and breathtaking singing only adds to the joy. Corena's performance of Doctor Bartolo IS over the top- which is what is needed- Bartolo is a very over-the-top man. Three cheers to Fernando Corena!"