A favorite opera with an old and inconsistent performance
firstname.lastname@example.org | Chelmsford, Massachusetts | 03/23/1999
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I had the privilege of being part of a cast of this opera at Indiana University of Pennsylvania in the late 70's, directed by the avuncular Herbert Wildeboor (since deceased). I've always loved the 7/8 hymn at the end of the first act. However, this performance is very uneven, including generally unfortunate singing by female leads, and bad acting (at least) by the person singing Reverend Parris. Reverend Hale and John Proctor are consistently good. And the orchestra parts, very demanding, are well handled. It astounds me that there is no new recording in all these years. I've since seen it done in Pittsburgh and know it's being done somewhere on the West Coast. While Mr. Ward's music is considered cliche by some, I prefer it much to, for example, Moore's Ballad of Baby Doe. Perhaps my affection for it is due to having the opportunity to perform it."
An opera that deserves consideration by a major company
Larry A. Verdugo | Pasadena, CA USA | 10/03/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I became familiar with this recording of the "The Crucible" back in the 60's when it was available on the old CRI label. It was an exciting piece then and it remains one now. It has been a puzzle to me why such an opera has not been taken up and presented regularly by major companies. The music is appealing--and frequently more than that; the drama is potent and never fails to captivate; it offers wonderful opportunites to a cast of singing actors. So what's the problem?! Granted some of the liberties taken with the Arthur Miller text render certain moments dramatically unclear and the Gershwinesque strains that accompany the slave Tituba's character are certainly a mistake. Still, the work as a whole is an exciting one. Hightlights abound, with the whole of the last act being especially moving. This is still the only recording available and, overall, it is excellent. The leads perfectly embody the roles of John and Elizabeth Proctor, while the balance of the cast, a few vocal duds notwithstanding, competently fill in the many character roles.The CD sound is very good and far superior to my old vinyl disks. If you've never heard "The Crucible," give this recording a chance. It is well worth your time."
William K. Heimann | Red Bank, NJ USA | 12/19/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This performance is a gem. Just the soaring majesty of Frances Bible is well worth the experience. What a sadly underrated artist. The final duet with Bible and Ludgin is a lesson in passionate, searing drama and full-out singing."