Recorded live 1978. Buy from AmazonThis marvellous performance marked Karajan’s long-awaited return to the Vienna State Opera in 1978. As his adversary, Count di Luna, Piero Cappuccilli is in firm, supple voice, giving a faultless account of ‘Il balen’ and fierily dramatic in the ensembles. His ‘Di quella pira’ is not one for the book of legends, but the ‘Ah si, ben mio’ that precedes it deserved its applause, and the final scene is sung as by one inspired. Gwyneth Jones is in best voice, before the loosening process had made itself evident and when her ample soprano was in its fullest bloom. Recorded 1956. Buy from AmazonCallas and Karajan took the world by the ears in the 1950s with this Il trovatore. Fiorenza Cossotto offers her appreciable all to Azucena, a role she made very much her own and one in which she’s yet to be surpassed.
As a result, many never heard Bruno Prevedi’s Manrico. All this is realised by the young Karajan with that almost insolent mastery of score and orchestra which made him such a phenomenon at this period of his career. Sound, picture and direction are exemplary. Join the Club today and receive all three great Gramophone products for just £103 per year. An £83 saving than if bought separately. The latest news, features, blogs and reviews delivered weekly to your inbox! Read about the artists who changed the world of classical music. If you are a library, university or other organisation that would be interested in an institutional subscription to Gramophone for further information.
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Dramatically it deals powerfully in human archetypes. For Giulini, his personal touch is felt more distinctively in the studio recording of 1983, but this performance is truer to the distinctive tensions and excitement of the opera itself. DVD Recommendation Plácido Domingo (ten) Manrico Raina Kabaivanska (sop) Leonora Piero Cappuccilli (bar) Count di Luna Fiorenza Cossotto (mez) Azucena José van Dam (bass) Ferrando Vienna State Opera Chorus and Orchestra / Herbert von Karajan Stage director Herbert von Karajan Video director Günther Schneider-SiemssenArtHaus Musik DVD 107 117 (151’ 1000 word essay on world war 2 · NTSC · 4: 3 · PCM stereo 5. 1 · 0 · s). The Gramophone Uni halle wittenberg dissertationen Choice Maria Callas (sop) Leonora Giuseppe di Stefano (ten) Manrico Rolando Panerai (bar) Count di Luna Fedora Barbieri (mez) Azucena Nicola Zaccaria (bass) Ferrando Luisa Villa (mez) Ines Renato Ercolani (ten) Ruiz, Messenger Giulio Mauri (bass) Old Gypsy Chorus and Orchestra of La Scala, Milan / Herbert von Karajan EMI Great Recordings of the Century 562898-2 (129' · ADD · S/T/t). Mehta’s pacing may be uneven, his accompanying breathless, but he draws robust playing in bold primary colours to which the recording gives vivid presence.
The acoustic serves Manrico less well: Essays on giuseppe verdi. Walter Legge always managed to team Callas with the right conductor for the work in question. Often it was Serafin, but Karajan in Il trovatore is utterly compelling. This opera, like Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony and Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring, is one of music’s great essays in sustained rhythmic intensity; Raina Kabaivanska, the Leonora, may not have had a typically Verdian voice but what she does with her resources is remarkable, combining a classic style – some beautifully etched phrasing – with a poise as a vocal and dramatic actress that’s second to none, except perhaps Callas. So it’s one vocal treat after another, culminating in a superlative Act 4. When Price did not come and Gwyneth Jones was substituted, the cast began to assume a more homely complexion than seemed right for a gala occasion, and absentees from the gallery began to feel complacent. There are some cuts, but, equally, some welcome inclusions (such as the second verse of ‘Di quella pira’, sung by di Stefano with his own unique kind of slancio ). Although the EMI sound is very good, one or two climaxes suggest that in the heat of the moment, the engineer, Robert Beckett, let the needle run into the red and you might care to play the set in mono to restore that peculiar clarity and homogeneity of sound which are the mark of Legge’s finest productions of the mono era. Buy from AmazonThe Leonora of Leontyne Price is the high-point of the Mehta recording: But, whatever you do, don’t miss this set. Additional Recommendations Plácido Domingo (ten) Manrico Leontyne Price (sop) Leonora Sherrill Milnes (bar) Count di Luna Fiorenza Cossotto (mez) Azucena Bonaldo Giaiotti (bass) Ferrando Elizabeth Bainbridge (mez) Ines Ryland Davies (ten) Ruiz Stanley Riley (bass) Old Gypsy Neilson Taylor (bar) Messenger Ambrosian Opera Chorus; All the vocal tricks and techniques are there, but it’s very much a concert performance, and we’re never entirely engaged. Peter Glossop (bar) Count di Luna Gwyneth Jones (sop) Leonora Giuletta Simionato (mez) Azucena Bruno Prevedi (ten) Manrico Joseph Rouleau (bass) Ferrando Elizabeth Bainbridge (mez) Ines John Dobson (ten) Ruiz William Clothier (bar) Old Gypsy Handel Owen (ten) Messenger Chorus and Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden / Carlo Maria GiuliniRoyal Opera House Heritage Series mono ROHS011 (127’ · ADD · T/t)Recorded live 1964.
Buy from AmazonLeontyne Price being expected, prices were raised. Leonora was one of Callas’s finest stage roles, and this recording is wonderfully intense, with a dark concentrated loveliness of sound in the principal arias that puts one in mind of Muzio or Ponselle at their best. He seems to be singing in the bath when we first overhear him. This, though, is a younger, simpler Domingo than the one we encounter elsewhere, and there are passages of wonderfully sustained intensity. She is technically in firm control and includes the Act 4 cabaletta, sung with assurance and scrupulous precision. It was also the notorious occasion when Franco Bonisolli threw a tantrum and walked out of the dress rehearsal. Otherwise the vocal heroes are the male chorus. As Ferrando, José van Dam launches the opera with tremendous authority. He was replaced at the eleventh hour by Domingo, who thereby completed a cast that has hardly been bettered. Her velvety, sensuous articulation of what’s certainly an ‘immenso, eterno amor’ is entirely distinctive and dramatically astute. Inspired no doubt by the reception he receives on first entering the pit, Karajan is at his most proactive, and the singers react with real conviction to complement their exemplary singing. The staging, Karajan’s own, and the sets are pretty conventional, but who cares when the score is projected with such confidence and the voices are of such rare quality? New Philharmonia Orchestra / Zubin Mehta RCA Red Seal 74321 39504-2 (137‘ · ADD · T/t) Recorded 1969. The youngish Domingo is the feisty troubadour of the title to the life, and he sings Manrico’s taxing music as if that were the easiest thing in the world. Cossotto’s Azucena is disappointing.
The New Philharmonia is a no less ardent exponent.