True Verdian Style
Theodore Deacon | Seattle, WA United States | 12/04/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"At long last, a modern recording of "Il trovatore" that is a model of Verdian style! Humburg is simply superb, accompanying his singers with razor-like precision while pacing with an unerring sense of line. His use of the recent critical edition also pays innumerable dividends in terms of dynamics and orchestral coloring. Indeed, his handling of the finale as finally realized as Verdi intended (and not, as incorrectly noted in an alternate review, with distended dynamics and vocal excisions) is revelatory. Longhi's Leonora does not have Milanov's bravura nor Callas's intensity, but has a more appropriate timbre (as Price does not) and underlines the heroine's essential femininity and vulnerability. Frusoni cannot match Björling's grace and beauty (who today can?) and lacks a trill in "Ah, si, ben mio" but sports a handsome voice, is attentive to dynamics, and exhibits a rare and welcome understanding of Manrico's neuroses. Tschistiakova does have a strong vibrato but is marvelous in her dramatic give and take with Frusoni. Above all there is a superb performance of Di Luna's music by Roberto Servile - a true Verdi baritone: high, bright, and firm. His performance of "Il balen"is one of the few in the last 60 years that can be admired beside De Luca's incomparable version. At Naxos's astonishingly inexpensive price why be satisfied with excerpts? Buy the complete set and experience Humburg's brilliance in toto."