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Verdi: Aida
Rome Opera Orchestra, Boris Christoff, Bruna Rizzoli
Verdi: Aida
Genre: Classical
  •  Track Listings (20) - Disc #1
  •  Track Listings (26) - Disc #2
  •  Track Listings (12) - Disc #3

Here's a prime-1950s cast in good monophonic sound, and it delivers the vocal thrills to keep its place high among the preferred recordings of Aida. The first voice you hear is the rich, rumbling bass of Boris Christoff ...  more »


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CD Details

All Artists: Rome Opera Orchestra, Boris Christoff, Bruna Rizzoli, Fedora Barbieri, Leonard Warren, Mario Carlin, Plinio Clabassi
Title: Verdi: Aida
Members Wishing: 0
Total Copies: 0
Label: RCA
Release Date: 10/25/1990
Album Type: Box set
Genre: Classical
Style: Opera & Classical Vocal
Number of Discs: 3
SwapaCD Credits: 3
UPC: 078635665222

Here's a prime-1950s cast in good monophonic sound, and it delivers the vocal thrills to keep its place high among the preferred recordings of Aida. The first voice you hear is the rich, rumbling bass of Boris Christoff and that immediately lets you know this will be no ordinary Aida. Bjorling's "Celeste Aida" is gold- standard, with gorgeous timbre, firm line, and a haunting mezza voce. From there, he just gets better. Zinka Milanov's Ethiopian princess is outstanding, full of marvelous touches and ravishing pianissimos--as well as a few minor rough spots. Fedora Barbieri and Leonard Warren offer full-voiced grand singing and Jonel Perlea keeps it all moving to fine dramatic effect. --Dan Davis

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CD Reviews

lesismore26 | Chicago, Illinois USA | 11/28/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Recorded in August, 1955, this RCA "Aida" continues to hold its place as one of the glories of the catalogue. It has attained "classic" status and will likely always remain so. The mono sound has been digitally remastered, and while not exactly "state-of-the-art" by today's standards, is perfectly acceptable. The glory of this "Aida" is in the singing of the principals. In the title role, Zinka Milanov contributes a substantial amount of magnificent singing, most notably in every moment that calls for soft lyricism (which is needed in a vast portion of the role of Aida). Her floated top notes are in a class by themselves. The more turbulent portions of the role find her sometimes a bit squally, but the overall effect is so positive, that a few raw moments can do nothing to topple her vocally opulent performance. Jussi Bjoerling might have had a problem managing the role of Rhademes in the opera house, but on this recording he is without peer. His voice has a lyrical sheen to it that sounds totally right. The beauty of his voice, like that of Milanov's, is something easier experienced than discussed. Truly, if I had one operatic scene to take with me to a desert island, it would be the Tomb Scene at the end of this opera, as sung here by Zinka Milanov and Jussi Bjoerling. It's like a marriage of two sublime sounds which combine together to create something close to a vocal transfiguration.No doubt about it: opera singing gets no better than this. The jealous passion of Princess Amneris is searingly captured by Fedora Barbieri, whose booming chest tones provide exactly what this role needs, and her Judgement Scene is thrilling and dramatic. Leonard Warren, the most acclaimed Verdi baritone of his time, fully substantiates his reputation here. Jonel Perlea may not have been the most exciting conductor of his time, but he paces this performance beautifully, and most importantly, allows his four outstanding principals to create an "Aida", the likes of which you simply don't hear anymore. Nor are you likely to encounter its like in the near future. This one is a winner in spades!"
lesismore26 | 06/03/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I grew into opera in my teens with this recording and I still listen to it over and over again. This "Aida" is a historical document in that it features four artists whose particular type of singing is, unfortunately, extinct. The great Italian mezzo Fedora Barbieri is a classic Amneris, venomous, vindictive, and in the end, very human. Her ripe mezzo, with its booming chest notes, may not sound terribly regal, but they ARE exciting. The Amonasro of Leonard Warren was also a famous assumption in the 1950's, and here he shows us why he was the leading Verdi baritone of his day. Jussi Bjoerling might have had a problem putting his Rhademes over in the opera house, but on records, his singing is lyrical, youthful, and very beautiful. Zinka Milanov's Aida may have a few moments of scooping and gulping, but for the most part her singing is something to be cherished. We simply don't hear Aida sung like this today. The famed Milanovian soft piano notes are, for want of a better word, awesome (listen to "Numi, pieta, the top C in "O Patria Mia, and the entire Tomb Scene). Milanov and Bjoerling's duet in the Tomb Scene is, to me, the perfect marriage of two magnificent voices. Yes, I love this recording as much as I did when I first heard it when I was 17, and that's a pretty long time ago. If I were left with only one recording of this great opera, this would be the one I'd keep. I very strongly recommend it."
Best Aida ever; excellent buy for Verdi starters
lesismore26 | 08/12/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)

"My favourite Aida and one of the five top recordings in my Verdi Collection. Although very often this recording in reviews is indicated as "historical" or "classic", I really don't see why. The remastered RCA version has good sound and the technical level is good. A better cast, even compared to other famous Aida's (Toscanini, Karajan, Abbado, Muti, Solti), will to my opinion never been found again. Of course, Jussi Bjoerling as Radames is the absolute top on this recording. Particular the ease of his singing is remarkable; the only other person, I do know, who comes close is Carlo Bergonzi in the Karajan recording from '59. Never heard a more "smooth", but at the same time powerful Celeste Aida. I fully agree with Classical CD's choice (7/99) to call Jussi the number one singer of the century in a list of hundred. But next to Jussi, all other roles have top casts. Remarkable is also the variety of the timbre's, Milanov and Barbieri, Christoff and Warren. In one of my reference tracks for judging Aida recordings, Nume, custode e vindice at the end of the first act, Boris Christoff is Ramfis and Jussi does Radames. Listen to the unique combination of voices. Compared to Muti or Toscanini, Perlea is less present, both at the same time also more "sympathetic". He is fully in lead, but does leave more room for the individually singers. All together THE Aida to get and, not unimportant too, for a very reasonable price. Especially a big recommendation for people who do take their first steps in the opera world of Verdi."