"It is no small statement to say here that this CD contains some of the best work by the BEST Baritone of this century. He will be in everybody's book as at least in the top 3 of the century. No one will ever top some of the performances here. His OWN "Largo al factotum", here as perfect if not more so than the studio. His incredible handling of this aria, THIS time stepping into humor, only makes more clear that this aria will never be sung better. The Il Tabarro excerpts here will freeze your blood. They have never been so thrillingly performed, anywhere. His polished, burnished tone, the epitome of bronze and velvet here, gives the role it's only true interpretation. Others have tried, but none will match Bastianini. This CD also comes with SEVEN tracks never issued anywhere else! If you've ever wanted to listen to a great baritone, at his peak, delivering unforgettable gems of magic from his throat, GRAB THIS."
Non ti scordar!
tenor_in_training | 04/14/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"While there have been a few great baritones since Ettore Bastianini's departure from the opera stage, I feel it would be a great loss if we allow his name to be forgotten. In a recent survey by Opera News magazine, Dmitri Hvorostovsky named Bastianini as his inspiration and singing role model, particularly emphasizing a certain "dark force" of his voice. This says a lot coming from today's leading baritone. Indeed, the beauty of the voice and the impeccable technique can be a point of standard for everyone who came after.Bastianini started out as a bass before developing the powerful upper register to match his rich secure low notes. His baritone is, therefore, the darkest you would ever hear, with a possible exception of Renato Bruson. Yet high tessitura of Verdian arias presented no difficulty for him. On this disk the arias from Un Ballo, Otello, Rigoletto, and Don Carlo are presented in a sequence, all of the highest difficulty and all flawlessly executed. Bastianini must have been perfect on stage as well with sound so immense it overwhelms the recording system several times. His talents also shine in rarely performed arias from operas "Lodoletta", "Il Tabarro", and "L'Amico Fritz". There are four beautiful art songs at the end of the disk. While Bastianini was mostly famous for the sheer beauty of his voice, I found his characterizations to be wonderful as well. Just take Figaro's flamboyant swaggering introduction versus Iago's dark brooding credo. It really sounds like two different people singing. Without ever breaking the line or sacrificing the quality for the dramatic effect, he was able to convey the very nature of the character. Needless to say, I would like to see more recordings become available of this magnificent baritone. Since he's featured on quite a few Decca releases of complete operas, perhaps the company would treat us with a compilation album? That would be most appreciated by everyone who wants to see the opera legends not perish from audience's memory. In a meanwhile, get this disk that has over 70 minutes of pure joy recorded on a surprisingly good level."
A voice of gold
Andrew Mayzak | Seattle, WA USA | 02/23/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I first heard Bastianini is Serafin's London recording of "La Boheme" with Carlo Bergonzi and Renata Tebaldi. I was impressed then and I still am now.
To possess such evenness in every part of one's range is nothing short of amazing. Bastianini's high notes are as rich as his lows and it is stunning to hear such brassiness in a baritone. A beautiful timbre is matched by peerless vocal skill; he is VERY well trained as a singer. Nothing is out of tune, a beat behind, or cut short for lack of air.
His opera buffo is superb; I wish there was a recording of "The Barber of Seville" with him in the title role. He truly has character when he sings comedic roles and his diction is impeccable; I don't think I've ever heard recitative done that quickly before. He is a little static and distant in "Eri tu" (I like it a little slower), but I think that, had he lived longer, he would have grown more into the role of Renato. Despite this, he is a true Verdi baritone singing with great civility and consistancy. Track 7 from "Don Carlo" shows this perfectly; easily some of the best lyrical phrasing on record.
Every song is done with perfect technique punctuated by great expression. He makes the change from technical singer to interpretive artist with considerable ease, especially in the last tracks which are live recordings of him in concert.
The orchestra and piano accompaniments are just that; accompaniments. And there is little effort made on the part of the conductors to intrude upon his singing. There is depth, but it quietly provides a very easy platform from which to simply listen to his voice and enjoy the sparkling clarity.
The recording quality is excellent mono that sounds like a very distant stereo instead of like someone singing into a box. There is very little static or hiss and the audience is barely audible at all.
Truly, an excellent (and rare) recording of a singer whose voice was a gift from God. It's a rather odd, but very special album that any opera buff should have."
Roberto Gonzalez | Buffalo, NY | 06/04/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"When I listened to Ettore Bastianini for the first time, I got very impressed with the pureness of his sound. His range was incredible and even though he started his career as a bass, his roles as a baritone are superb. His voice of supreme beauty reminds us that baritone's voices don't have to be limited and common. This recording is great. That "Si puo? is powerful. All the arias are performed with passion and beauty. Bastianini is a must to have baritone in all opera collections."
The gift from the Heaven
Roberto Gonzalez | 06/06/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Ettore was the best and the most incredible baritone of all time. This CD contains many of earlier recordings when he switched from bass to baritone. And he sang absolutely wonderful. He'll take you to heaven when you hear pieces from Forza, Ballo and all the rest. He would have been a great Iago. He proved in this CD. He also proved that he was a great comedian in Barbiere and Maschere. What a pleasure and the gift he'd left with us. I can't thank him enough!"