A GREAT RECORDING OF A ROSSINI COMEDY
lesismore26 | Chicago, Illinois USA | 07/03/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Rossini's "Il Turco in Italia has never enjoyed the success of that composers vastly more celebrated "Barbiere di Siviglia", but there are some wonderful and fun things here nonetheless. The fairly uncomplicated story of a viperish Italian woman (married to an elderly and passive husband) who falls for a visiting Turk evolves into a vibrant and funny "opera buffa" in the very skilled hands of Maria Callas, Nicola Rossi-Lemeni (in the title role), and Mariano Stabile (as a poet in search for a subject who observes and relishes the goings-on). While, of course, Callas was not readily associated with comedy (her profound assumptions of Norma, Medea, Lucia, Traviata, and Lady Macbeth were already legendary at the time of this 1954 recording), she had scored a great success in this opera, both in Rome, and in a celebrated La Scala revival. Callas is in stupendous voice here ------ she executes roulades, cadenzas, and top D's with a security she rarely exhibited thereafter. Moreover, she creates a real comic character. As is essential for this type of music, her enunciation is pushed forward, with incredibly clear declamation of both consonants and open vowel sounds. Her entire assumption here reminds one of a celebrated Hamlet who, for a change of pace, undertakes to undertake Falstaff, and Callas brings it off with tremendous panache. But she is not the only star here. Nicola Rossi-Lemeni is a wonderfully pompous Turk, and his duet work with Callas is in the greatest tradition of the art of opera-buffo. Mariano Stabile, one of the greatest Italian buffo baritones of the century, contributes a showy and humourous portrait of the poet in search of a subject. And as a bonus, the young Nicolai Gedda, in the relatively small role of Narciso, sings a short but very lyrical aria. Gavazzeni, who was one of the podium giants of the Italian opera stage several decades ago, conducts the beautiful score with a breezy and airy quality, always allowing his artists plenty of latitude to make their own particular mark on this music. This performance is somewhat cut, and there is more music to be heard on the more recent recordings of this opera, but none of them capture the essence of Rossini as does this one. This is not just for Callas fans (though many will already have this wonderful recording), but for anyone interested in savoring a wonderful and refreshing Rossini score that, in it's own very special way, offers rewards as satisfying as those found in "Barbiere di Siviglia", "Italiana in Algeri" and "La Cenerentola". A top-of-the-line effort, in very fine digitally remastered sound that is a vast improvement over the original long playing records."
A Funny side we dont hear often
Exequiel Pitargue | 11/07/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Callas is so associated with her roles of tragic women such as Norma, Lucia ,Violeta and Tosca that her talent for other roles are overshadowed. The La Divina is so versatile and talented that people almost forget that she is equally good in tragic and light comedy roles. The light and comic side of Callas is not often revealed. This recording proves that the charming and witty music that suites the character of Fiorilla is suited for the great talent of Maria Callas .The other performers in this recording did a superb job in their performances. Selim is a charm, Nicolai Gedda shows youth, and Stabile creates an impression in his role as Prosdocimo. Overall this is the Best Il turco in Italia among the three versions I have heard. So for Callas fans who want to hear the other side of Callas purchase this recording its worth every penny."
Cornelia | 06/13/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is proof that those who say that Callas couldn't sing happy or funny parts. Her Fiorilla is deliciously funny. Absolutely exquisite, a must!"