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Mascagni: Cavalleria rusticana - Leoncavallo: Pagliacci / David Parry
Pietro Mascagni, Ruggero Leoncavallo, London Philharmonic Orchestra
Mascagni: Cavalleria rusticana - Leoncavallo: Pagliacci / David Parry
Genre: Classical
 
  •  Track Listings (21) - Disc #1
  •  Track Listings (23) - Disc #2

While occasionally the bel canto operas sound odd in English, here we have a pair of verismo operas, which do not rely on the type of mellifluousness that bel canto requires. The translations avoid silly archaisms and conv...  more »

     
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While occasionally the bel canto operas sound odd in English, here we have a pair of verismo operas, which do not rely on the type of mellifluousness that bel canto requires. The translations avoid silly archaisms and convey the flavor of the dramas vividly. "If ever he discovered, he'd beat me like a dog," Pagliacci's Nedda sings even more pointedly than the direct translation "Oh, if he caught me /He's so brutal..."; and Turiddu's "The very sight of you disgusts me" in Cavalleria Rusticana weighs even more than "I pay no attention to your anger," which could have very easily been substituted. These operas really work in English. Dennis O'Neill is the Canio and Turiddu, and he's equally exciting as both. His diction is exemplary, and the strain put on his voice at forte above the staff seems to suit the characters. The wonderful Nelly Miricioiu is a fine Santuzza, but the role requires, at times, a fiercer middle register and more ferocious exclamatory skills than she can muster. Phillip Joll's Alfio is fittingly crude: he makes the best of his duet with Santuzza. In Pagliacci, Alan Opie's Tonio is towering from his very first "Hello" (a nice substitute for "Si puo?") through his cowering, nasty asides to his final vengeance. Rosa Mannion pulls out all the stops as Nedda. Throughout both operas, David Parry never rushes the action (these are the slowest Cav and Pag on the market), but he leads with an inner tension that guides both works to their inevitable tragic conclusions. The others in both casts, the Geoffrey Mitchell Choir, and the London Philharmonic are all first-rate. --Robert Levine