Search - Giuseppe de Luca, Lawrence Tibbett, Giuseppe Verdi :: Verdi: The Supreme Opera Recordings

Verdi: The Supreme Opera Recordings
Giuseppe de Luca, Lawrence Tibbett, Giuseppe Verdi
Verdi: The Supreme Opera Recordings
Genre: Classical
 

      
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GREAT BUT NOT SUPREME
jfmaniaci | Broadbeach, Queensland, Australia | 05/11/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)

"This CD gives a valuable opportunity to listen to great Verdian roles interpreted by selected singers of the golden age. The old 78s have been expertly transferred but some static noise is still present. The accompanying booklet, comprehensive and very informative, adds a lot to the listener's delight.One has the opportunity to enjoy, assess the singers' vocal and interpretative capacity and draw some comparisons. I gave them an order of merit based on their performance. At the top, I put Lauri-Volpi in the Aida great Nile scene and, at the bottom, Giovanni Zenatello in the Otello ethereal love duet.I enjoyed Tibbett's intelligent phrasing in "Ballo", Kurenko's coloratura as Violetta, Pinza's stunning bass in "Attila", De Luca's unusual strength in "Forza", Seinemeyer's radiant soprano in "Don Carlos" and Tagliavini's lyricism in "I Lombardi". I was disappointed by Martinelli's "Celeste Aida" and "Pira" although I liked "Forza". He was the Met dramatic tenor for 33 years. Yet, he displays a hard-driven flat voice and poor interpretation. His "Allarmi, allarmi" is a travesty of the fiery Trovatore's high C. Was he on off days? Zenatello is even a greater disappointment. He is clumsy and off-pitch in Otello's "Quando narravi..." and sounds like a Vaudeville singer. He was the first Pinkerton in 1904, sang Otello over 500 times, but definitely past his prime in 1926. What a pity not to hear him at his best. Oh, that finale from the great Nile scene of Aida! Lauri-Volpi, De Luca and Rethberg are the ingredients of a magic potion, which transports you to the thick of the action on stage. Surely, some of the orchestra beats are tinny and Rethberg's gorgeous voice sounds a bit raucous. Blame the primitive electronic recording of the twenties. Lauri-Volpi is the catalyst. He is vibrant and heroic. He uses voice, brain, natural talent and stage poise to interpret Radames as Verdi conceived it. He was the world most loved and envied tenor in the period 1920-1960. He is my number one."