Search - George Cehanovsky, Leonard Warren, Giuseppe Verdi :: Verdi: Il Trovatore

Verdi: Il Trovatore
George Cehanovsky, Leonard Warren, Giuseppe Verdi
Verdi: Il Trovatore
Genre: Classical
  •  Track Listings (24) - Disc #1
  •  Track Listings (15) - Disc #2

This is the most beautifully sung Il Trovatore on record, but is by no means the most dramatic and is far from the best-conducted. Those who insist on stereo sound (which has substantial advantages for opera recordings i...  more »


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This is the most beautifully sung Il Trovatore on record, but is by no means the most dramatic and is far from the best-conducted. Those who insist on stereo sound (which has substantial advantages for opera recordings in terms of dramatic presence and impact) may opt for the Zubin Mehta or James Levine treatments. But Jussi Bjoerling and Leonard Warren respond intensely to the score theatrically and, above all, musically, Zinka Milanov sings with a haunting beauty most of the time, Fedora Barbieri approaches the role of the Gypsy woman Azucena as if she were born to sing it, and the relatively small, well-disciplined chorus sings with a clarity and precision comparable to that of Levine's powerful Metropolitan Opera Chorus. --Joe McLellan

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CD Reviews

lesismore26 | Chicago, Illinois USA | 12/19/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I still rank this 1952 RCA recording as one of the greatest "Trovatore" recordings ever made. This recording has long held "classic" status, and considering the four singers, it is not hard to understand why. Verdi himself proclaimed that in order for "Trovatore" to be successful, all one needed were the four greatest singers in the world. That is pretty much what we have here. I doubt whether there were four other singers at that particular time, and for this particular opera, that could have sung "Trovatore" as well as this. Jussi Bjoerling's Manrico is not heroic in the sense of Corelli and Domingo, but it is believable, heartfelt, and the most beautifully sung of any Manrico I've yet encountered. Zinka Milanov is heard here in what is probably her greatest commercial recording. She was the reigning Leonora of her time, spinning out those famous high "pianissimo" notes at every opportunity. The great baritone Leonard Warren, at the peak of his vocal powers here, sings a suave and impeccable di Luna, and Fedora Barbieri, with those wonderful booming chest notes, sings a wild and crazed Acuzena. Renato Cellini, a competent conductor, certainly was not on the level of his four grand soloists, and there is nothing particularly great about his reading of the score. It matters not a bit. In this opera, the singers dominate, and if there's a quartet of singers (all together on another "Trovatore" recording) in the past forty years to equal the collective quartet here, they have escaped my attention. Certainly, Domingo and Corelli have done well with Manrico, and there are the great Leonoras of such divas as Callas, Price, Caballe, and Sutherland (all of them wonderful to be sure), not to mention the di Lunas and Acucenas of such baritones and mezzos like Merrill, Milnes, Simionato, Cossotto, Obratzova, et al. But all together on one recording? Buy this recording.You won't be sorry!"
lesismore26 | Chicago, Illinois USA | 06/08/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This is what "Trovatore" is really about, with voices, voices, and what voices they are! Milanov is caught in one of her greatest moments, with high piano notes in abundance; Jussi Bjoerling at his most lyrically heroic; Leonard Warren's baritone in it's prime, and Fedora Barbieri's booming mezzo blowing the house down! All four singers sing their hearts out, and then some. The conducting of Renato Cellini is not much better than adequate, but with singers like this, it really matters very little. The 1952 mono sound is clean, warm, and very easy to listen to. Yes, there are some later stereo versions that have better sonics, and some others that have some wonderful individual performances (Callas and Price for Leonora, Domingo and Corelli for Manrico, Simionato for Azucena, etc), but none have the cumulative effect of the quartet of Milanov-Bjoerling-Barbieri-Warren. Strongly recommended"
Unlikely to find another "Trovatore" with voices like these.
John Austin | Kangaroo Ground, Australia | 05/17/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)

"In many ways, Verdi's "Trovatore" is a remarkable opera. Almost every number is a show-stopper. All four principal singers share equally in the good things - the arias and the duets - and the chorus has plenty of good things too. And at the end of it all it is the contralto who is likely to receive as many or more curtain calls than the others. The contralto Fedora Barbieri was in lustrous voice when this recording was made - able to sing rather than growl the low notes, and able to rise to a stunning Bb at the end. Zinka Milanov is a mature rather than a maturing Leonora, phrasing and floating her two arias with great distinction. Leonard Warren's singing is rich and opulent almost beyond belief, even if the characterisation does not always convince us that he "burns with rage". Bjorling's troubador is one of his greatest successes - noble, thrilling, and able to justify Leonora's recollection, "there came a thrill of joy such as only angels feel". Opera sets come and go, and it is a shock to realize that this one has been around for nearly fifty years. Don't reject it on that score, however; the sound quality is excellent, apart from a few moments of overloading at climaxes. You are unlikely to find another "Trovatore" with voices like these."