Search - Berliner Philharmoniker, Giuseppe Verdi, Bryn Terfel :: Verdi - Falstaff / Terfel, Pieczonka, Hampson, Röschmann, Shtoda, Diadkova, Berlin Phil., Abbado

Verdi - Falstaff / Terfel, Pieczonka, Hampson, Röschmann, Shtoda, Diadkova, Berlin Phil., Abbado
Berliner Philharmoniker, Giuseppe Verdi, Bryn Terfel
Verdi - Falstaff / Terfel, Pieczonka, Hampson, Röschmann, Shtoda, Diadkova, Berlin Phil., Abbado
Genre: Classical
 
  •  Track Listings (14) - Disc #1
  •  Track Listings (16) - Disc #2

A common failing of recent Falstaff recordings is the hole in the middle--the larger-than-life Sir John sung by baritones several sizes too small for the role, both vocally and dramatically. That problem doesn't exist here...  more »

     
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Synopsis

Amazon.com's Best of 2001
A common failing of recent Falstaff recordings is the hole in the middle--the larger-than-life Sir John sung by baritones several sizes too small for the role, both vocally and dramatically. That problem doesn't exist here. Bryn Terfel's outsized singing personality perfectly matches Verdi's conception. Whether bellowing in rage, preening in praise of his fleshly abundance, or crooning sweet nothings to his intended conquests, Terfel dominates this performance as a Falstaff should. As his adversaries, Thomas Hampson's Ford is outstanding, well-sung and characterized, and Adrianne Pieczonka's Mistress Ford is quite good, too. Indeed, there's little to complain about with the rest of this well-assembled cast. If some older recordings of the opera boast more distinctive touches (e.g., the way Cloe Elmo's Mistress Quickly relishes her repeated "reverenzas" for Toscanini), few are as well-matched. Claudio Abbado gets the Berlin Philharmonic to play well in music it can't have done before. The engineering is adequate, if opaque, with orchestral details too often fading into the background. In sum, while Abbado's Falstaff doesn't match the classic Toscanini (RCA), Karajan (his first), or Solti, it's by far the best of the current crop and indispensable for Terfel's and Hampson's performances. --Dan Davis
 

CD Reviews

A Falstaff for the new millenium
Rodney Hrvatin | Adelaide, South Australia Australia | 08/22/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)

"When Bryn Terfel first performed this work here in Australia, many critics believed he would rise to become one of the great Falstaffs of our age. They were right. Terfel's cheeky nature makes him the ideal person to portray the big oaf with the required amount of non-humility. His arias (for want of a better word) are some of the finest singing on this set. He is superbly matched by Thomas Hampson as the jealous Ford. His second act aria is an absolute highlight for me and nearly made me burst into spontaneous applause at the conclusion (until I realised I would have looked stupid clapping a cd). Hampson brings both fear and humbleness to the role which is rare, but not in Hampson who, along with Terfel, must surely be one of the great male voices of our time. The ladies fare well too, headed by Adrienne Pieczonka as Alice. Although, at the risk of sounding like a Gramophone Magazine pedant, she does occasionally lose some of the brightness and sparkle in her middle register- not that it matters a lot to the untuned ear, it is still a memorable performance nonetheless. The supporting roles are all sung superbly with the right choice of character voice for each one. Vocally, the only drawback is Daniil Shtoda's Fenton who has a rather annoying vibrato when pitching his top notes. It's almost as if he's trying a little TOO hard. Commanding it all is the skillful hand of Claudio Abbado. Being a Verdi veteran (and having created, arguably, two defenitive recordings of Verdi operas- "Simon Boccenegra" and "Macbeth") he brings all his wealth of knowledge to this score. At no time does he sound forced with tempo and the Berliners respond with their usual finesse and grace. The set is well worth the money, and it more than compliments the old Karajan, Gobbi, Schwarzkopf set from the 50's. I believe that this recording will surely go down as one of the finest releases of the year."
The best of the last
J. Luis Juarez Echenique | Mexico City | 09/13/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)

"It's hard to believe that Claudio Abbado hasn't recorded a Verdi opera in almost 17 years, but then, where are the great Verdi voices these years?
Here he was fortunate enough to grab the best possible cast of our time. True, both Terfel and Hampson are still rather young for their roles, and neither is a natural-born verdian, but at least both are individual artists with first class voices.
Terfel makes a jolly Sir John, and he pours a lot of sound to go with the belly, it's only the sense of fun of a Giuseppe Taddei that is missing.
Hampson too makes a young and yuppy Ford, missing the sheer gusto that the great Rolando Panerai brought to a role he made his own.
Abbado recorded this opera after a long and serious illness, but you would never know it. The Berlin Philharmonic play like gods and most of the rest of the cast is very good.
Of all digital versions this stands next to the 1982 Giulini for all around excellence. In general I would still prefer Giulini's cast, and even though Bruson is a little too-serious knight, he is the genuine article as a Verdi baritone. The Karajan digital recording suffers from his unidiomatic conducting, but Taddei and Panerai make it indispensable. The Gardiner recording has a very provincial cast that is hardly memorable (except for Sara Mingardo as Quickly)."
Bryn Terfel is Falstaff
D. A Wend | Buffalo Grove, IL USA | 03/03/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Having seen Bryn Terfel sing Falstaff I was very interested in this recording of the opera. His performance for this recording is superb, and is the chief reason for buying this set. Claudio Abaddo and the Berlin Philharmonic are equally excellent and it is apparent from their performance that they have a lot of affection for the score. However, having listened to this recording a few times, I think it helps to have seen a performance of Falstaff in order to better appreciate the comic situations and humor, particularly for a better appreciation of Mr. Terfel's performance. The booklet provides a glimpse into the makeup and costume that adds so much to the character.The wives of Windsor, Adrianne Pieczonka (Alice Ford), Dorothea Roschmann (Nannetta), Larissa Diadkova (Mistress Quickly) and Stella Douffexis (Meg Page) are very well cast. Their performances are full of character and are a highlight of the recording. Thomas Hampson's Ford seemed to me to be overshadowed by Bryn Terfel, and not a very good match with the role. Mr. Hampson sings well but his character never catches fire. Daniil Shtoda made a suitably ardent Fenton and Anthony Mee and Anatoli Kostcherga make a comic Bardolph and Pistol. The recording is excellent with a good feel for the orchestra and singers. Altogether, this is a good recording but not one that can outshine those that came before it."