Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Gianandrea Gavazzeni, Luciano Pavarotti, Renata Scotto|
Verdi: I Lombardi Alla Prima Crociata / Gavazzeni, Pavarotti, Scotto, et al
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Should also have been recorded in studio!
Armindo | Greece | 08/06/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I Lombardi may not be early Verdi's best opera but it certainly has some exciting moments. All studio recordings have flaws in my opinion. The Phillips Gardelli for example has Deutekom, whose vibrato is not always pleasing, and Domingo who is strong but not ideal for early Verdi operas. The more recent Levine recording is probably a safer choice but Pavarotti, though still impressive, has aged. This live recording has everything one could ask for. A great conductor and three famous artists, all in their prime (1969). Many thought that this repertoire was too heavy for Scotto's instrument but she proved to be ideal! Her high notes are perfectly pitched and the audience certainly enjoys them! Moreover, she can be expressive and moving when needed. The young Pavarotti shines. I've also heard Carreras in the same role and I find Jose's interpretation warmer but Luciano with his high notes is also a miracle. Raimondi, with his authentic italian sound is a pleasure to listen to. The sound quality is great. This is one of the ODO recordings defenitely worth having! Of course don't expect libretto or indication of time for each track...it's ODO, remember? Just enjoy this wonderful, legendary performance."
Good performance at low cost
L. E. Cantrell | Vancouver, British Columbia Canada | 01/11/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Source: Live performance in Rome, 1969.
Sound: Pretty good for a live recording made 35-plus years ago. The audience is generally quiet. Coughs are muffled and outbursts of enthusiastic applause do not excessively overlap the music.
Format: Disc 1, Act I and most of Act II, 12 tracks, approximately 56 minutes. Disc 2, conclusion of Act II, Act III and Act IV, 14 tracks, approximately 67 minutes. Opera d'Oro is at its most perverse here. A single track, less than 11 minutes in length, starts off disc 2 with the end of Act II. Why it is not included on disc 1, where there is plenty of space to accommodate it, I cannot fathom.
Documentation: No libretto. Nothing on the performers, conductor or circumstances of the recording. Two short pages on the history of the opera and two pages devoted to a summary of the plot by act. The track listing does not identify who is singing, nor does it give timings.
"I Lombardi alla Prima Crociata" is Verdi's fourth opera and the follow-up to his great success with "Nabucco." It achieved considerable acclaim and became the first of his operas to be performed in the United States. His second opera, the excellent, Donizetti-inspired comedy, "Un giorno di regno." had inexplicably failed. For his fourth attempt, he took inspiration from a far more powerful composer, one G. Verdi. While "I Lombardi" is very much "Nabucco-lite," it is on the path that leads straight through "Ernani" to reach its apotheosis in "Il trovatore." Verdi, himself, was not happy with this opera. Years later he came back to it for a major re-write with a new libretto in French, creating "Jerusalem," which comes close to being an entirely separate work.
This set provides a good performance of "I Lombardi" by the Rome Opera. It features Renata Scotto, who offers the sort of all-out soprano assault on the Verdian heights that was common up to the end of the sixties and all too rare now. My wife thinks Scotto lets her vibrato get away from her in some of the harder-driving passages. I can't say that it bothers me at all.
Luciano Pavarotti was just about at his vocal prime when this recording was made and his voice is well-captured. For those unfamiliar with "I Lombardi," be forewarned that his character, Oronte, appears first in Act II and dies in Act III, thus leaving half the opera Luciano-free. His performance is basic Pavorotti 101. He sounds like a superstar tenor firmly placed downstage to stand and deliver. For all of you who love Luciano Pavorotti, this is just the sort of thing you'll adore. For myself, I prefer a tenor who can provide the impression that he might have some notion of the plot of the opera in which he is singing, but that is a matter of personal taste.
The third principal singer is Ruggero Raimondi, far the best of the three in this performance. His big, full, dark, focused voice is dramatically dead-on from beginning to end and he provides the backbone of the whole affair.
The orchestra and chorus are good enough, but not as well-captured sonically as the lead singers.
Gavazzeni's conducting is brisk and offers the kind of snap and crackle that fits this early Verdi work.
This is a good performance of "I Lombardi" at a bargain price and worth five stars to anyone not over-concerned with bells and whistles."
Anton Shkaruba | Lund Sweden | 09/10/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"It is rather difficult to find an opera with more tangled libretto. Offered interpretation is really miracle: You hear magic voices and cannot think about the subject. I am sure, it is impossible to image Giselda the best then Scotto. Dimitrova's performances of this party were very nice, but such sharmant and beauty are unavoidable for her voice. Scotto is great and I have not got any other comments for his masterpieces work. Pavarotti shows one of the best example of his vocal. Raimondi is marvellous as well. The best argument of my statements is terzetto in Finale III. It cannot be described. It is necessary to listen.
Gavazzeni is one of my favourite conductors and this performance is an excellent example of his style. It is a great pity he has not repeated his achievement in studio."