Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Giuseppe Verdi, Alberto Erede, Renata Tebaldi|
Guiseppe Verdi: Aida
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Only serious collectors need apply.
William T. Clegg | Pocatello, Idaho United States | 05/23/2000
(3 out of 5 stars)
"As a cohesive, compelling performance, London/Decca's 1952 recording of Verdi's AIDA falls rather short though it boasts some beautiful singing, clear monophonic sound, and an attractive price for such a starry cast. This set's shortcomings stem mainly from the conductor, Alberto Erede. He is too deliberate in pacing the first two acts, draining the lifeblood from the performance, and allows some incredibly rough ensemble both between the orchestra and vocalists and within the orchestra itself. Things go much better in the second two acts for orchestra and conductor, although they still have a hard time staying with Tebaldi during "O patria mia".Speaking of Tebaldi, her vocal performance is somewhat better than the one she recorded in 1959 with Herbert von Karajan and the Vienna Philharmonic. Her voice has the same honeyed tone, but boasts greater security in its upper reaches and truer intonation thoughout. Tebaldi's histrionic prowess is clearly in its embryonic stages and she doesn't penetrate more than a few layers past the skin's surface in her portrayal, a reading not really "hammy" but definitely not subtle either. In any case, her performance here shows why Toscanini dubbed her voice that of an angel.Mario del Monaco is the Rhadames to Tebaldi's Aida. Vocally, there isn't a note he can't hit, a fact sometimes painfully apparent, as in his rendition of "Celeste Aida"; but as with so much of his work, his palette of vocal colors is limited to say the least. In short, although his voice is thrillingly virile, virility quickly becomes tiring when there's nothing to contrast it with.As for the rest of the cast, the great Ebe Stignani as Amneris is past her prime and doesn't really make a believable competitor for Rhadames' affections. There are times when it's still clear why she owned this role both vocally and dramatically, such as the first scene of Act IV, but her earlier recording under Serafin with Gigli and Caniglia shows her to much better advantage. The Amonasro of Aldo Protti is curiously self-defeating, trying to be vocally impressive in all the wrong places at the expense of dramatic truth. Fernando Corena, never less than first-class, does a great job in every way as the King, surprising in view of his mastery of comic roles and the dominant part they played in his career. Dario Caselli as Ramfis is vocally wobbly and suggests little of the menace inherant in his character. Finally, Piero de Palma, one of the premier comprimarios of the last century, gives what I believe was his first recorded try as the Messenger, and pulls it off very well.Even in this pre-stereo era, the producers are able to suggest depth and distance in the sound, approximating as much as a possible a credible stage picture. But on the whole, this is not the best performance available. It would make a good supplemental recording, and is especially valuable for the insight it provides into Tebaldi's artistic development. This is one for the more seasoned opera fan and not for the newly initiated."
Ralph Moore | Bishop's Stortford, UK | 11/19/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"While I agree with much that William Clegg said in his review back in 2000, I think his overall assessment is much too harsh. No it's not the best "Aida" available - perhaps the Muti or one of the Leontyne Price recordings fits that description - but it's surprising, considering I can choose from nine different recordings in my collection, how often I pull down this one. It's opera of the old Italian school and its shortcomings - mono (but still quite spacious) sound and some rough orchestra ensemble - are negligible compared with its glories. Tebaldi is here much more secure than in the later Karajan recording, del Monaco is in clarion voice and not wholly without subtlety, pace his detractors, Stignani is still, to my ears, a tower of strength and I certainly do not agree with Mr Clegg's verdict on Caselli; I find his voice rich, robust and more than adequate; rather it's Corena who sounds a bit rocky to me, in fact. Protti may not be the greatest of post-war Verdi baritones but he seems to me to be on top of his role and I think he embodies the irascible, percussive Amonasro well while still occasionally mustering sufficient vocal smoothness in the more lyrical passages; his confrontation with Aida in Act Three is very effective. If you're unsure, try to listen to an extract from that duet and I think you'll be convinced. We'd queue round the block to hear an "Aida" this well cast today. At this price - especially in the Marketplace section; as little as about $8 delivered - what more do you want? This is the companion piece to the Erede "Otello", equally under-estimated (see my review) but this time in stereo. One could do a good deal worse than invest so few dollars in each and get to know two great operas performed in the Grand Tradition."
A fine performance
Robert T. Martin | 03/09/2010
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This 1952 performance is very satisfying. Tebaldi is glorious and Del Monaco, while unsubtle at times, is heroic and a very believable Radames. The rest of the cast is solid (reviewers Clegg and Moore provide admirable detail). Erede's conducting is neither particularly insightful nor energetic yet he finds a steady pace that might be a bit slow but doesn't drag and he provides plenty of punch in the crowd scenes and drama when the singers call for it. This is clearly a singers' show that the conductor doesn't intrude upon but rather complements. I'm usually bothered by operatic conducting that doesn't exhibit a strong personality but here Maestro Erede's contribution, in a performance in which the singers do much of the heavy lifting, works well. The sound is much better than average early 50's mono."