The most Italian of all operas!
L. E. Cantrell | Vancouver, British Columbia Canada | 02/22/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
""Il trovatore" is the silliest of operas and one of the most sublime. The Marx Brothers knew exactly what they were doing when they sent it up in "A Night at the Opera." As Groucho later wrote, "you can't burlesque a bad act." This recording captures all the silliness and all the sublimity.
I confess that I am a stone Trovatore-freak, even to the extent of owning and--heaven help me!--enjoying that weird old album of thirty different tenors consecutively singing "Di quella pira." Of all the performances I know, this is the one that swaggers and roisters and goes about its business in the most enjoyable manner.
The conductor, Fernando Previtali, molded the performance with the hand of a master. If he allowed the long-held high notes for no better reason than the thrill of the sound, he never let the forward pace of the piece be less than headlong.
On my shelves are the recorded Manricos of Neri, Bjorling, Del Monaco, Corelli, Bergonzi, and even that guy who sang with Callas in Mexico City. I have heard the attempts of Pavarotti, Domingo, Licitra and Alvares, as well as a couple on the stage of the San Francisco Opera whose names are faded from my memory. It is to Giacomo Lauri-Volpi on this recording that I listen regularly. His voice is by turns powerful, eloquent, fiery, caressing and thrilling. His characterization of Manrico is dead on: a perfect fool, swaggering and passionately self-centered--an even dumber jock than poor old Otello. And the sound he makes--wow! Imagine Gigli pumped up on steroids to become a dramatic tenor.
Carlo Tagliabue is in good voice here. He is fine Conte di Luna, by turns love sick, fatuous, frustrated and ferocious. I like the dramatic soprano, the much underappreciated Caterina Mancini, and Miriam Pirazzini more than holds her own against very strong competition in the role of Azucena.
Give this one a try for a good wallow in the most Italian of operas. Five well-deserved stars."