Search - Giuseppe Verdi, Riccardo Muti, Montserrat Caballé :: Verdi - Aida / Caballé ˇ Domingo ˇ Cossotto ˇ Ghiaurov ˇ Cappuccilli ˇ Roni ˇ NPO ˇ Muti

Verdi - Aida / Caballé · Domingo · Cossotto · Ghiaurov · Cappuccilli · Roni · NPO · Muti
Giuseppe Verdi, Riccardo Muti, Montserrat Caballé
Verdi - Aida / Caballé ˇ Domingo ˇ Cossotto ˇ Ghiaurov ˇ Cappuccilli ˇ Roni ˇ NPO ˇ Muti
Genre: Classical
  •  Track Listings (14) - Disc #1
  •  Track Listings (16) - Disc #2
  •  Track Listings (23) - Disc #3

Behind the pyramids and the elephants, the long lines of prisoners of war and of slaves carrying booty, the choral shouts of "Glory to Egypt," and the splendid brass sounding the Triumphal March, Aida is the story of a lov...  more »


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All Artists: Giuseppe Verdi, Riccardo Muti, Montserrat Caballé, Plácido Domingo, New Philharmonia Orchestra, Choir of the Royal Opera House Covent Ga, Fiorenza Cossotto, Nicolai Ghiaurov, Piero Cappuccilli, Luigi Roni
Title: Verdi - Aida / Caballé ˇ Domingo ˇ Cossotto ˇ Ghiaurov ˇ Cappuccilli ˇ Roni ˇ NPO ˇ Muti
Members Wishing: 0
Total Copies: 0
Label: EMI Classics
Original Release Date: 1/1/1974
Re-Release Date: 9/11/2001
Album Type: Box set, Original recording remastered
Genre: Classical
Style: Opera & Classical Vocal
Number of Discs: 3
SwapaCD Credits: 3
UPCs: 724356761728, 724356761759

Synopsis essential recording
Behind the pyramids and the elephants, the long lines of prisoners of war and of slaves carrying booty, the choral shouts of "Glory to Egypt," and the splendid brass sounding the Triumphal March, Aida is the story of a love triangle: Aida, an Ethiopian princess who has become a slave in Egypt; Amneris, an Egyptian princess; and Radamès, the Egyptian general they both love (Aida secretly). There are ironies and conflicts: How can she love a man who is the enemy of her country, but who says he has fought and conquered for the sake of her love? It is suitable only for the biggest opera houses and therefore demands voices capable of great power as well as emotional expressiveness. Montserrat Caballé, Plácido Domingo, and Fiorenza Cossotto provide such voices, and Ricardo Muti conducts with a sense of drama and dynastic glory. --Joe McLellan

CD Reviews

Is there any Aida without pluses and minuses?
Santa Fe Listener | Santa Fe, NM USA | 06/01/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)

"It's peculiar that no single performance of Aida on records has ever attained consensus as 'the one', the closest candidate being the RCA-Decca performance with Leontyne Price and Jon Vickers. After decades of listening to most of the major contenders, here's how I would size them up.

Best conducting: Karajan on both his readings, the first for Decca in the early Sixties, the second for EMI in 1980. He has the glorious Vienna Phil. on both--for richness, depth, drama, and splendor nothing equals them. Karrajan himself provides a continuous outpouring of insights into Verdi's deceptively simple score.

Best Aida: For many, Leontyne Price will always be defined by this role, her signature for two decades and perfectly suited to her voice, with its dusky low range and incredible floated high notes. She sounds much fresher in her first RCA recording with Solti than in the remake with Leinsdorf. For other listeners there is no replacement for Callas and her intense involvement with the role, while Tebadi stands out for sheer lusciousness of voice.

Best Rhadames: Bjorling really didn't have the heft to sing this role onstage, but pairing Milanov in a classic RCA mono recording (now very much showing its age) he sounds, as always, ravishing in style and tone. Vickers attacks the role with incredible intensity but is singularly un-Italian despite his glorious, heroic volume of sound. Among stylish tenors with smaller voices, Bergonzi under Karajan, paired with Tebaldi, wins high critical praise. Domingo, for all his virtues, always seems to come in second best -- he can be a bit generic, perhaps catching fire more under Abbado than elsewhere.

Let's say we stop there; it's easy to see why the Price-Vickers-Solti set has such a strong following, and also the Tebaldi-Bergonzi-Karajan set. But complaints have always arisen about both, that Vickers has no Italian style and Solti conducts with brazen vulgarity. In the other set, the grouse is that Tebaldi wasn't in best voice and sounds too imperious, while Bergonzi, for all his polish, isn't a viscerally exciting Rhadames.

This carping opened the way for the 70's EMI set with Caballe and Domingo in their vocal prime. Muti conducts skilfully, moving the drama along quickly and with a refreshing lack of overdone sentimentality. Caballe isn't a spinto-dramatic soprano as called for, but she sings for the microphone with wonderful nuance and pathos (I find her less droopy than she often was). Domingo exhibits perfect tone and style, but his reading is a bit callow compared ot what he would achieve later in his career. In other words, there's no true greatness in any part, but the whole hangs together nicely. It must be noted, though, that the bland Capuccilli as Amonasro ruins the drama of the Nile scene.

My review, such as it is, stops here, since other reviewers listed below have detailed the specifics of this recording. But I'd like to offer some notes about all the Aidas I've encountered over the years.

--Aida was Birgit Nilsson's best Italian role, and in her EMI recording she softens her steely tone and makes quite a nice success for herself. She is partnered with Corelli, whose vulgar bawling makes him unlistenable to my ears, but if you admire him, this performance led by a young Zubin Mehta ranks with the Caballe-Domingo one.

--Callas must be listened to on her own, or with Gobbi when he enters as her father in Act 3. Their Nile scene is incomparable, not to be missed. Too bad it's ruined by the entrance of the horribly stentorian, unstylish Richard Tucker, a huge blemish on this recording.

--Abbado should have come through with Aida from La Scala when he was musical director there, but his reading for DG is cautious and bland (the same goes for a live performance on Opera d'Oro with Arroyo and Domingo--they aren't great, either, though very good).

--Aidas who can't really manage the part include Katia Ricciarelli for Abbado and Freni for Karajan in his EMI remake (she's wildly overparted but moving and artistic nonetheless). Aprile Millo for Levine from the Met (Sony) can sing the notes but has nothing interesting to tell us. Heresy to say, but I feel the same way about the revered Zinka Milanov with Bjorling on RCA.

--A Rhadames who can't really sing the part is Carreras under Karajan, but he gives his all trying. Pavarotti sang the role both on stage and on disc (with an unknown and forgettable Aida), but his lyric tenor isn't right. Having said that, I was surprised at how enjoyable his Decca performance is. Domingo has sung the role for Muti, Leinsdorf, Abbado, and Levine. All are very good; probably the best is with Leinsdorf, a shame since the conducting is prosaic and the bloom was off Price's voice by then.

--Uninspired condcuting honors go to Leinsdorf, but I get little out of Levine's hectic, impesonal work on Sony, and the sainted Tulio Serafin on the Callas set is authentic but rather workaday. When it comes down to it, Solti for all his vulgarisms threw himself into his preformance, while Karajan is the greatest maestro to take on the opera, pace the fans of Toscanini, whose fiery reading isn't to my taste, even if it didn't have a second-rate cast and boxy, wooden sonics."
Consistently strong, but also get Price-Vickers-Gorr-Solti
R. J. Claster | Van Nuys, CA United States | 05/21/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)

"There are multiple strengths and no glaring weaknesses in this justly acclaimed recording. Muti's conducting is both dynamic and sensitive, as is Solti's, and somewhat brisker in tempo. Furthermore, he brings out orchestral details that are often not heard. The singing is strong throughout. Domingo's Radames has a powerful, full bodied timbre, and Caballe's Aida is distinguished by beautiful soft tones and clarity of diction, yet, at the same time, she effectively conveys Aida's passion and anguish, and also has the power of voice to handle the big dramatic moments. Ghiaurov's deep basso adds to the gravity of his performance of Ramfis, the chief priest. The only reservations I would offer is that Cossotto as Amneris, while strong of voice, sounds rather wooden in her portrayal as compared to Gorr in the Solti recording, and that Domingo's Radames, while beautifully sung and more Italian in style, does not penetrate into the character's thoughts and feelings as deeply as Vickers (who also possesses the powerful sound required to convey the more external aspects of Radames as noble warrior hero and ardent lover). Furthermore, Price is more lush of voice and overtly passionate, though her singing lacks the pianissimo shadings of Caballe, and she also tends to slur her consonants.
At last - the Aida of choice becomes affordable
Ed Beveridge | London, England | 10/18/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I can't remember how long I've wanted this CD for, but it's always been pricy - thank goodness for this affordable release. For me this is the Aida of choice though in a field with many, many good recordings I can hardly claim this to be true of everyone. For a start, this is a big house, big sound recording. The quality is excellent but it could never be mistaken for a chamber opera. The orchestral playing is big, big, big which isn't thye same as loud, loud, loud. The sound is always opulent and Muti's tempi are wonderfully judged - there never seems to be a rush or a hiatus, and the dance music is as interesting as I've heard it. Choral singing is always exemplary. Truly a benchmark for Verdi conducting.But Aida stands and falls by its soloists, in particular the ladies, and this one stands. Caballe has it all - a steely edge for the big moments and for riding the ensembles (something I've always missed about Price), a phenomenal dynamic range that noone before or since has matched (who wouyldn't kill to produce a top C like hers in the Nile Aria?) and an overwhelming sense of sadness that comes across infallibly in her solo moments. Some might wish for a bigger voice for an Aida but surely noone could imagine a more vivid and fascinating one. Fiorenza Cossotto sounds unnervingle like Caballe especially in her big moments - the Act 2 Scene 1 duet is a good case in point and makes fascinating listening. But she holds her own especially in the trial scene and sounds fresher than many an Amneris whilst lacking nothing in fullness of tone. Domingo's Radames is well known - less imaginative than a Vickers, less beautiful than a Corelli, but always noble and committed. Cappucilli is a stern and scary Amonasro, no match for his daughter in subtlety but not to be trifled with, whilst the reat of the cast is well in place.Yes, I feel that this is the Aida to have especially for fanbs of Caballe. But for Price-worshippers, Callas-worshipers, Vickers-worshippers and their ilk - you may be looking elsewhere."