"Wow!! I have never heard a more potent and heartfelt Fanciulla than this one. Frazzoni is an undiscovered gem. Her heart informs every word she sings and she has an incredible voice. Her piano tones are georgeous. Generic vocal terms and cliches will not fit Frazzoni for she is an exception to the rule, for example, there is no limit to how high she will take her "chest voice". Every single tone is wide open, but she never lost her voice even to this day. Her voice is supported very firmly on the breath. I will not speak of Corelli or Gobbi much as they are fabulous as usual. Votto has a powerful impact with orchestra; the sonorities are vivid and the heaviness of the score is amply displayed.Back to my darling Frazzoni--she is not a Minnie you weep for like Tebaldi, nor one you admire like Steber. She is a Minnie you leave saying "You go Girl!!!" Please buy it!!!"
Heroic Destiny | 11/02/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This performance of Puccini's "La Fannicula del West" came to me as a complete surprise. I originally bought the set for Franco Corelli, who, for me, is THE tenor of the middle-of-the-twentieth century period. His performance here does not in any way dispell that opinion. He's in outstanding youthful form, powerful, yet sensitive, and his golden tone pour out like lava. Tito Gobbi is a vivid Jack Rance, and his singing is full of wonderful inflections. But the REAL surprise here is the Minnie of Gigliola Frazzoni, a shamefully neglected soprano who sang at La Scala during the days when Maria Callas and Renata Tebaldi reigned in Europe. As great as both Callas and Tebaldi certainly were, Frazzoni in this performance would give either one of them a run for their money. She displays a massive dramatic soprano, with wonderfully rich chest tones, and she gives this difficult role everything she's got, which is considerable. I am in 100% agreement with the previous reviewer about this performance. Moreover, the sound, while not perfect, is nevertheless remarkably good for the period and the circumstances. I actually find this performance as good, if not better than the legendary London recording (in studio stereo) starring Del Monaco and Tebaldi. If you're a Corelli fan, this record is a must; if you love Puccini, and want to hear his most passionate score, you must own this recording."
GREAT SINGING, POOR SOUND
Alfredo R. Villanueva | New York, NY United States | 03/19/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"WHEN I BUY A HISTORICAL PERFORMANCE FROM THE FIFTIES, I BRACE MYSELF FOR WHAT I KNOW THE SOUND WILL BE: MOSTLY POOR. IN THIS RECORDING, HOWEVER, IT IS COMPENSATED BY THE SINGING OF THE PRINCIPALS. GOBBI AND CORELLI ARE BOTH TOTALLY ADDICTIVE, AND GIGLIOLA FRAZZONI DELIVERS. BUT I STILL NEED ANOTHER SET, HOPEFULLY IN BETTER SOUND AND WITH A LIBRETTO!"
Great performance, obviously - but the sound?
Ralph Moore | Bishop's Stortford, UK | 02/22/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Although I do not think that "Fanciulla" is Puccini's greatest work it contains a wealth of lovely music, not least big, well-known arias and some tender love music. It's true that the Americanisms - everyone bawling "Hellooo" - and the rather ghastly, patronising depiction of Native Americans going "Ugh!" are rather grating, and there is more than a hint of sentimentality about the plot, but it can be a blast when performed by a cast as good as this. Corelli is clearly in spectacular voice, Gobbi is suitably snarling and subtle as the sheriff, Jack Rance, while Gigliola Frazzoni turns in a truly startling performance as Minnie; wild and wonderful, with the occasional mis-fire but some of the most heartfelt and gutsy singing you'll ever hear froma dramatic soprano. Unfortunately, the sound is pretty wretched compared with Tebaldi and Del Monaco's excellent studio, stereo Decca recording - only what you'd expect for a 1956 stage performance but hard going when the distortions and fuzziness so obscure the sound picture. Only buy this as a supplement - it's cheap enough, especially on Marketplace - but don't expect much aurally; it's pretty dim and disappointing."