MAKES ME WONDER WHY GIOVANNA ISN?T VERDI?S BEST OPERA!
Armindo | Greece | 05/28/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is easily a definite early Verdi performance. Giovanna D'Arco is not one of Verdi's most popular opera but listening to this set makes me wonder why. The music is so beautiful and the characters so heroic. Opera fans and critics regard this particular recording as historical. Firstly, it shows the quality of the young Renata Tebaldi and sets the record straight. In the early 50s she could sing almost anything! Many think of her as a great verisimo diva but listening to Tebaldi here we realise she could have specialised in a different repertoire as well. Early Verdi never sounded so powerful and beautiful. Although Caballe's later Giovanna is perfectly sung, she doesn't have the fierce sound Joan D'Arc requires. Just listen to what Tebaldi does: in the "Sempre all'llba" she sounds like an angel but in "Pronta sono!" she changes and becomes a mighty warrior, exactly what the role requires. Tebaldi definitely benefited from her experience with this role on stage; a role she performed early in her carreer and became her own.But the perfection does not end with Renata. Carlo Bergonzi, the best post-war (Verdi) tenor is heard here just after his conversion from baritone to tenor. His vocal beauty and perfection is equalled only by Gigli's. The first act duets with Tebaldi are simply ecstatic. This is what Verdi is all about! Panerai's Giacomo is a marvel to listen to though he cannot make me forget the two main principals. Finally, I certainly prefer Simonetto's slower conducting than Levine's later fast and loud one. Unfortunately the sound quality not ideal (I couldn't care less) but compared to the previous releases, the improvement is substantial. I can't remember the last time I heard such an all-around great Verdi recording. DON'T MISS THIS!!!"
What to understand what the Tebaldi fuss is about?
essmac | Nashville, TN USA | 01/24/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The sound is abyssmal, and yet Tebaldi's voice still sounds magnificent. Isn't it strange how some of the truly great voices were undefeated by even the most wretched recording quality?
Seriously, this is not fanboy hyperbole: this the ideal performance of this role. Astounding. Young and fresh (and in tune, unlike the sour high notes of her later studio career), Tebaldi is amazing. Time and again, I gasped in amazement that anyone could sing that way (and on a live stage, not in the safety of a studio). The legato, the portamento, the phrasing, the gorgeous tone, the floated high notes that defy gravity... this is why Toscanini said 'voice of an angel'. If I had witnessed this in person, I would have renamed all of my children Renata.
And then come the fiery martial scenes where she sounds possessed, unleashing the dramatic force of her voice until you too are ready to grab a sword and fight for France.
Wow, wow, wow. For years I just didn't understand the Tebaldi worshipers, and then I saw the live 'Forza' with Corelli, and I was instantly converted. This 'Giovanna' has me even more hopelessly devoted."