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Verdi: Il Trovatore
Giuseppe Verdi, Tullio Serafin, La Scala Theater Orchestra
Verdi: Il Trovatore
Genre: Classical
 
  •  Track Listings (19) - Disc #1
  •  Track Listings (17) - Disc #2

Singing the medieval troubadour of the title is legendary tenor Carlo Bergonzi, his only recording of the role. Il trovatore has always been one of Verdi's most popular operas, unparalleled in sheer musical energy.

      

CD Details

All Artists: Giuseppe Verdi, Tullio Serafin, La Scala Theater Orchestra, Angelo Mercuriali, Antonietta Stella, Armanda Bonato, Carlo Bergonzi, Ettore Bastianini, Fiorenza Cossotto, Franco Ricciardi, Giuseppe Morresi, Ivo Vinco
Title: Verdi: Il Trovatore
Members Wishing: 0
Total Copies: 0
Label: Deutsche Grammophon
Original Release Date: 1/1/2006
Re-Release Date: 11/14/2006
Genre: Classical
Style: Opera & Classical Vocal
Number of Discs: 2
SwapaCD Credits: 2
UPC: 028947756620

Synopsis

Album Description
Singing the medieval troubadour of the title is legendary tenor Carlo Bergonzi, his only recording of the role. Il trovatore has always been one of Verdi's most popular operas, unparalleled in sheer musical energy.
 

CD Reviews

An unjustly overlooked recording?
Ralph Moore | Bishop's Stortford, UK | 07/25/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)

"While I agree with much that the Santa Fe listener says in his review, I think his verdict a little harsh. This set has a lot going for it: an all Italian cast; a superlative Di Luna, Azucena and Ferrando in Bastianini, Cossotto and Vinco respectively; probably the greatest Italian conductor of his generation, and a chance for Bergonzi fans to hear him tackle a role at the limit of his capability.

It is true that Serafin is sometimes a little too relaxed; his "Squilli, echeggi la tromba" at the start of Part III is simply too slow and lacking in martial bravura but elsewhere he displays his mastery of the score and is always considerate of his singers. There is a problem with Stella's Leonora; it is most noticeable in her placid, careful opening aria, "Tacea la notte". She is "correct" in everything she does but hardly ever makes your pulse rush (as she can and does in her 1964 recording of "Andrea Chenier" with Corelli, for example). However, if you do not lose patience with her, she warms up considerably and by Part IV uses a combination of her gutsy lower register and floating top notes to make an excellent job of the "D'amor sull'ali rose" and the "Miserere".

I do not think that Bergonzi sounds as if he is stretched beyond his limits in the "Di quella pira" - although I agree that he probably is stretched TO his limits. He manages plenty of squillo in his sound and of course phrases wonderfully. Corelli he ain't - but his is a successful way of doing Manrico, I think.

Bastianini is wonderful, even if he could occasionally temper that big brazen sound and show a little more tenderness in phrases such as "O Leonora" in the "In braccio al mio rival". His "Il balen" is truly beautiful; not a hint of the hoarseness which presaged the throat cancer which ended his career a mere three years later and his life two years after that at 44. His breath control and top G are astounding; the latter attacked cleanly and held effortlessly.

Cossotto is in slightly fresher voice as Azucena than in the later celebrated Mehta recording; powerful and affecting; a wholly successful assumption of that demanding role from an artist at the top of her form.

Finally, Vinco gives us the most vividly characterised and beautifully vocalised Ferrando on record.

So a "near miss" is too unkind a verdict; Stella is by no means a disaster and there is much pleasure to be had from listening to this set. I would not say that the Callas or Bjorling sets are superior, as although Bjorling, like Bergonzi, sang Manrico frequently on stage to great acclaim, some might prefer a heftier tenor with more steel in his voice and a more assertive top C. The Mehta or the later Karajan probably still hold sway for most listeners - and then there is the live Karajan performance with Corelli, Price and Bastianini - or what about the old EMI studio recording with Corelli and Merrill, great Verdi singers both? We have an "embarras de richesses", thank goodness, to choose from - but I am still happy to make room on my shelves for this 1962 Serafin set."
IMO, you don't need to look anywhere else
Roberto | SF, USA | 08/25/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Is it said that who steals the show is Azucena. Let's face it: Cossotto is the great Verdi mezzo of the modern times. She is at the top of her form in this recording. Bastianini is simple put a genius. Bergonzi also in great shape (for the record, I can't stand Corelli). As for Stella, prejudice apart, she is also outstanding. This is a very experienced cast and conductor (Serafin) and they deliver a very strong performance. I heard other high-rated Il Trovatores and this one is by far the best of all. At the time, DG used to record operas with closed-mikes with a lot of ambiance (Kubelik's Rigoletto, Karajan's Cavalleria Rusticana and I Pagliacci and so on). This recording follows the trend."
Sluggish conducting and a tepid Leonora make for a near miss
Santa Fe Listener | Santa Fe, NM USA | 02/08/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)

"This bargain set from 1962 should be one of the top choices in the catalog to judge from the raves it's getting here, but in reality it has languished in and out of the catalog for years. There are many reasons why it should be esteemed. Bergonzi doesn't really have enough steel in his voice for Manrico, just as he doesn't have enough heft and passion for Rhadames. He's too controlled, and yet to counter that his voice is among the most beautiful of its generation, and he has style to spare. But listen to his "Di quella pira" and you hear Bergonzi strained to his limits, and in addition he has to fight against the aging Serafin's sluggish tempos, a persistent problem as this great opera maestro neared the end.

But one can have no criticism of Cossotto's Azucena or the magnificent Bastianini as a dark, totally firm-voiced Di Luna. DG's analog sound is fine, and I could put up with Serafin's occasional lapse into sleepwalking were it not for the big hole in the middle of the cast Antonietta Stella, as others have noted, was a distant third in the 50s and 60s to Tebaldi and Callas, but greatness wasn't hiding in the shadows. She has a big, nice-sounding voice that she uses with utter caution, afraid to stretch even a little. As a result, one admires the voice for three minutes and then loses interest entirely. (Stella is also resented, innocently on her part, because EMI put her into its studio La Traviata from La Scala, depriving history of hearing Callas in arguably her greatest role--it's a long story.)

In sum, opera buffs are doggedly devoted to their favorites, but this Trovatore lacks fire and has an inadequate Leonora. A near miss."