Search - Giuseppe Verdi, Amilcare Ponchielli, Charles Gounod :: Lebendige Vergangenheit: Leonard Warren

Lebendige Vergangenheit: Leonard Warren
Giuseppe Verdi, Amilcare Ponchielli, Charles Gounod
Lebendige Vergangenheit: Leonard Warren
Genre: Classical
 

      
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CD Reviews

Magnificent performances by a legendary baritone
madamemusico | Cincinnati, Ohio USA | 02/16/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I agree with most of what was said in the previous review of this album, with one difference. Except for the 1941 recordings (and there are only 4 of them here), this is indeed Warren in prime dramatic form. The "Rigoletto" excerpts here compare favorably with his 1950 complete recording, and the cuts from "Trovatore" are remarkably similar to the same arias on his 1952 complete version.

Unlike Tibbett, whose singing was more sharply declamatory and intrinsically "inward-looking" in the presentation of his characters, Warren's genius lay in giving a well-defined character within the parameters of what the composer wrote. Indeed, except for the "Largo al factotum" here, one rarely hears Warren break the legato flow or over-hold high notes as many baritones since have done. Perhaps, to some ears, this is not "dramatic," but it was what attracted Toscanini to select him as his Rigoletto in 1943. Like his vocal coach, Giuseppe de Luca, Warren drew his character with fine shadings and coloration of the voice, much like his successor Sherrill Milnes, though Milnes lacked the metallic ring of Warren and Tibbett.

My biggest disappointment here was Jan Peerce's Don Alvaro in the "Forza" duet. He sings with accuracy, good tone and vocal heft, but there is no feeling of the tortured charatcer here, as one heard from Martinelli, Masini, Gregorian or Tucker at his best.

The transfers sound a bit dated because they include a great deal of the original 78-rpm surface noise, but with it they give us the full sound of Warren's voice. I always loved these recordings because, unlike his mono complete recordings, there was more "space" around the voice, and a voice as big as Warren's sometimes sounded a bit cramped or congested when the soundspace was too dry. In short, a valuable collection for those who already love Warren as well as those who have never heard him."