Very excellent rendition
(5 out of 5 stars)
"There are many wonderful recordings of Orfeo out there; some of his original Italian version, some of the French version (where the role is sung by a high tenor) and some of a more highbred version based on Berlioz' working of the score for Viardot-Garcia. Most recordings are of the later, more or less complete to some degree or other (usually various parts of the ballet music are cut, as they are in this recording). I have never really found a "bad" Orfeo recording. The only one I really didn't enjoy is the Deutche Gramaphone with the baritone Fischer-Dieskau singing the part of Orfeo (based on the original Italian version). What then draws me to this recording? Well, I have to admit I love the energy Horne brings to the role, and to the bravaro singing. She does a wonderful job. Her dark mezzo is perfect for the role of a young man lamenting over his lost love. Pilar Lorengar does a masterful and heartfelt Euridice. The small part of Amore is well sung as well. What most would find odd is Solti leading the orchestra. I have to admit, there is nothing subtle about this recording, no delicate touches like in the "authentic recordings." Instead it moves along like any other great music drama. The orchestra is rich, full, and energetic. It is truly a great support to great voices. Admittedly, that is exactly what excited me about this version, the lively full-bodied orchestra. I have a number of "authentic recordings" and they are all wonderful, and the orchestra is a collection of fine details, but often I am left bored, as this music (especially the ballet music) never seems to ever end. Solti's complete "modern energy" that he brings to the music brings it alive and takes us into the drama. At not time does he do violence to the music or the style of the opera, but he does approach it from a more modern vantage point rather than a museum piece. This version is good because you can look forward to some excellent singing from singers you already know and love. Is it the best version out there? Probably not. Like I say, there are tons of versions out there, and they are all super. It is all a matter of what suits your view of Classic opera of this period. It is worth the money."