The most exciting Live CD ever made!
akira sakai | URAWA-SHI, SAITAMA Japan | 06/29/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"In this album.especially in"Tosca",Corelli is in top form. His incredible diminuendo in "E lucevan le stelle" is just a miracle,perfect breath control. His "Vittoria!" cry in Act2 stops the show! What a glorious and golden tone it is! After the performance of "Tosca",Corelli gave the audiences a fine "Core'ngrato"as an ancore. Don't hesitate! You must have this!"
Operafilly | Fallbrook, Ca United States | 07/13/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I have several complete versions of each of these operas (and many more)with Corelli. I usually like my operas whole, but I can see the value of this compilation collecting some of the spectacular moments. And I did see Franco live in Tosca and heard the incredible Vittoria and E lucevan le Stelle. Notes I will remember when I die. Along with Sutherlands 1960 Lucia I saw live......I got a bit of heaven on this earth."
Incomplete Things of Beauty
Monica | Romania | 09/29/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The public of Parma was said to be extremely demanding, and here is Franco Corelli singing three of his major roles at various stages in his career, which this CD only offers highlights of. And brief highlights at that, as you will not get the entire role in any of the three cases.
1. Norma, December 29, 1971.
Less than two years into his career in 1953, Corelli debuted in Norma with Maria Callas. He sang the role of Pollione many times: the last but two seems to have been in Paris in 1964, again with Callas.
In 1971, he had "warmed up" on the role singing Pollione in Belgrade earlier in December. This show in Parma seems to have been his last performance of Pollione. You will hear him in very good voice here, after a long year, when he traveled the world to sing from the United States, to Japan, to Hamburg, and more.
This show was conducted by the unsophisticated Antonino Votto, with mezzo soprano Franca Mattiucci, who seems to have been good; not much is heard of the soprano, so no one can tell what she might have sounded like.
These are the highlights of the show offered here: the full scene and aria in the first act, "Svanir le voci...," which Corelli renders very dramatically and forcefully. And the full duet with Adalgisa, "Eccola...," where he makes use of piano, diminuendi, and other effects to offer a refined interpretation, also being very imperative in "Vieni in Roma." Adalgisa's name alone, which is repeated a number of times, is sung differently every time: tenderly, angrily, with round, covered sounds, or with whiter ones, depending on the feelings he conveys.
The last highlight included on the CD is the short beginning of the final scene with Norma. The trio with Norma and Adalgisa at the end of Act 1 and the opera finale with Norma are not included.
2. Tosca, January 21, 1967.
A rough counting will indicate that Franco Corelli sang the role of Cavaradossi over 100 times on stage, plus one studio recording and two movies, sometimes with the greatest sopranos, such as Renata Tebaldi, Maria Callas, and Birgit Nilsson.
The highlights of this special show include "Recondita armonia," where, among other effects, he prolongs some of the final notes even more than what seems to have been his usual. Then, there is the "Vittoria" in Act 2, with prolonged, extremely secure high sounds, which make the public go so wild with applause, that the rest of the scene is barely audible.
And then, there is what is probably his most famous rendition of "E lucevan le stelle": there, he starts in mezzo forte to go to the softest diminuendo in "mi cadea fra le braccia" (she would fall into my arms); then, in a feast of breath control, he sings what is known to have been the longest phrase in this aria, "le belle forme disciogliea dai veli," staying very many seconds with diminuendo on "disciogliea," and then, in the same breath, he continues "dai veli" in pianissimo ([I would] reveal her beautiful forms, undoing her veils). At the end of the aria, he interpolates effects that add even more drama to Cavaradossi's frantic cry, which means 'I will die desperate and I have never loved life this much!' Again, the public goes wild, and you will hear the conductor repeatedly trying to go on with the show, but the public does not let him, they keep applauding and asking for an encore. If you have been looking for this famed version of "E lucevan..." for some time, as many people do, this is the one, you have found it.
The CD also includes the final duet of Tosca and Cavaradossi, where Corelli offers a very nuanced interpretation. The soprano does not sound good at all, she seems to scream all the time.
The duets with Tosca and Angelotti in Act 1 are not included.
3. Il Trovatore, January 1, 1961.
At this point in his career, Corelli was in between. According to the updated chronology by Frank Hamilton, in the autumn of 1960, Corelli recorded Norma with Maria Callas, sang Turandot and Tosca several times, and then he sang several Poliuto shows, some of which were with Callas. And all this while he was preparing his Met debut with Il Trovatore, which came in late January 1961. These extremely difficult roles are very different from one another, making a variety of technical and interpretative demands on the singer.
In this Parma show, he sings a finely secure "Deserto sulla terra," a very dramatically-felt "Ah, si ben mio," as usual -- again, this rendition is a bit different from his other versions --, and he adds a few effects in the Pira. Also, he sings a powerful "Mal reggendo." I will only repeat here briefly what I wrote elsewhere: he experimented with different interpretations every time. He will always surprise you.
The recording is with ups and downs, sometimes louder and sometimes less audible. Now and then, Corelli sounds louder, covering both the soprano and the mezzo soprano. Some notes may possibly be off pitch and the conducting of Arturo Basile seems less great (at a certain point, the conductor appears to cover Azucena with a loud orchestra, for instance), but it is debatable whether all this is caused by the actual performance or by the technology.
Not much can be said about the rest of the cast, as you only get to hear little of them, but both mezzo soprano Adriana Lazzarini and baritone Mario Zanasi seem very decent. Unfortunately, the CD does not include the finale of the opera.
The last track on this CD gives his "Core 'ngrato" (Catari), sung as an encore after the Tosca show. With a horrendous pianist, but never mind, because you will hear Corelli rebuking the "ungrateful" woman Catari by using all intensities of sound, from the softest pianissimo to the most powerful fortissimo. And you will not perceive any fatigue in the voice that had just sung the great hero Cavaradossi. Such was his technique.
As a conclusion, even though, for myself, I like complete things, let us look at the bright side of this CD: it offers things of beauty, and easy to handle, too, without any need to study the librettos or to focus on long shows, so you can listen to them as if they were a collection of songs. Enjoy and rejoice.