Great voices, poor sound.
Reynaldo Pulido | Caracas, Venezuela | 11/28/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Although is a 80s live recording, I think that the sound is so poor. I was afraid in the first minutes that my recent purchase was mono recorded or the date of the event that the cover states was wrong, and it was recorded indeed, thirty years before. But it's neither mono nor an ancient treasure, it is a stereo recording, a raw material, that make you feel in a actual live staging of this original opera emotionally and musically linked with Guillaume Tell. In other hand, the cast was -in my opinion - historical, without (as other reviews state)weakness, even if the principal role is sung by a exceptional mezzo and not by a soprano. The reason of this kind of licences is that this role and other, like Elibetta and Desdemona, was composed for a soprano with much coloratura, but with solid low tones: Isabel Colbran, first Rossini's sentimental partner. Von Stade has that bright mezzo voice that allows her sing Elena dominating the daring notes composed by Rossini, and adding personal ornamentation. Here, Blake have a fresher, controlled and more powerful voice than his future Uberto in 1992 reference-recording under the purist Muti's baton, which does that you listen him singing and not screaming. I haven't got to talk about Horne, simply her resources are endless, and you eventually listen on stage one of her battle horse in historical recital: " Mura felice". Zaccaria with his elegant voice, does some efforts to reach high tones. If you want to listen this opera almost exactly like appears on paper, buy the La Scala (under Muti, 1992) recording, with a better sound, only with applauses at the end of the acts, with strong cast too and not too expensive. Or buy the DVD version of La Scala production that I never see, but it could be nearly the same thing. I would like to give four stars, but because of its price, I gave it a maximum calification."
Why such poor sound for 1981?
Ralph Moore | Bishop's Stortford, UK | 02/10/2010
(3 out of 5 stars)
"While previous Amazon.com reviewers rightly praise this live recording for the spritely direction and excellent singing, I think it is disingenuous of them not to make more of the poor sound quality and warn the prospective buyer. One gives this set five stars even though he also says, "Although it is an 80's live recording, I think that the sound is so poor that I was afraid in the first minutes that my recent purchase had been recorded in mono, or that the date of the event that the cover states was wrong, and that it had been recorded thirty years before."
This is all the more germane if you consider that the super-bargain Opera d'Oro live recording from ten years earlier is equally, if not better sung by Caballe, Hamari and Bonisolli - though both of these live performances remain preferable to the lacklustre Muti Philips 1992 live La Scala recording, which has June Anderson in rather acidic and laboured voice. It is true that nobody is as touching as Von Stade or as secure as Marilyn Horne are here, but you can hear Horne do her "Mura felici" party-piece on several recital discs and Caballe still sings divinely, being in finest voice in 1970.
So I suggest going for the Opera d'Oro version every time, even if Julia Hamari is tentative compared with Horne; there is ample compensation in the amazing Bonisolli and the delicacy of Caballe's roulades."