Author Topic: VERDI King of Italian Opera  (Read 142367 times)

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Offline mc ukrneal

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Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
« Reply #420 on: March 06, 2013, 08:12:22 PM »
My thanks to participants of this thread for their discussion.  Recent lists and discussion of favorites by Tsaraslondon and others has also been very helpful.

Hello, I don't want to bumble into shillery, but one the whole, but how do the GMG Verdians rate the selections included in this COMPLETE WORKS megalith?  I'm going to do my Verdi homework, I promise; but I am curious how many of the recordings in this box might rate as credible, say, first-or-second-or-so choices, and conversely how many are not really very good at all, if any.  I know the man's work very little; the only operas I've spent some real time with are the half-dozen in that EMI Callas studio megabox (Santini, Serafin, Votto, Karajan) and also Karajan's AIDA, DON CARLO, FALSTAFF, OTELLO).  And Giulini's and Reiner's REQUIEM.
I have not heard every one of them, but of what I have or have heard, I'd say the following are excellent:
-Un giorno di regno
-I Due Foscari
-Giovanna d'Arco
-Gerusalemme (Jerusalem)
-Il Corsaro
-La Battaglia di Legnano
-Stiffelio
-Simon Boccanegra
-Otello
-Requiem (Solti)
-La Traviata
-La Forza del Destino Gergiev (nice to have both versions)
-Don Carlo Solti
-Il Travatore
-Luisa Miller
-Macbeth

Versions I did not like:
-Un ballo in maschera (the only true dud in my opinion)
-La forza Sinopoli (not my favorite to be honest, but has its admirers, Carreras not on best form)

The rest are generally good or better (based on my having heard it (but some time ago) or on general reputation), assuming I didn't miss anything. Because it is difficult to find good recordings of the earlier operas, I consider those Gardelli recordings 'must-haves' for the most part (originally on Philips), and they alone make this box worthwhile. Add to that a number of other truly excellent performances (in mostly good to excellent sound) and I think you have a pretty good box set. Of course, if you tried to put together such a box yourself, you'd never spend so little. If the interest is there, I doubt there will be a better box.
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Offline Octave

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Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
« Reply #421 on: March 07, 2013, 09:15:28 PM »
Thanks for that input, MCU.  It's overkill, but I know just enough of the master's work to be interested, if in fact this or any other box is a deal.  Cheers!
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Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
« Reply #422 on: March 08, 2013, 01:44:43 AM »
I have not heard every one of them, but of what I have or have heard, I'd say the following are excellent:
-Un giorno di regno
-I Due Foscari
-Giovanna d'Arco
-Gerusalemme (Jerusalem)
-Il Corsaro
-La Battaglia di Legnano
-Stiffelio
-Simon Boccanegra
-Otello
-Requiem (Solti)
-La Traviata
-La Forza del Destino Gergiev (nice to have both versions)
-Don Carlo Solti
-Il Travatore
-Luisa Miller
-Macbeth

Versions I did not like:
-Un ballo in maschera (the only true dud in my opinion)
-La forza Sinopoli (not my favorite to be honest, but has its admirers, Carreras not on best form)

The rest are generally good or better (based on my having heard it (but some time ago) or on general reputation), assuming I didn't miss anything. Because it is difficult to find good recordings of the earlier operas, I consider those Gardelli recordings 'must-haves' for the most part (originally on Philips), and they alone make this box worthwhile. Add to that a number of other truly excellent performances (in mostly good to excellent sound) and I think you have a pretty good box set. Of course, if you tried to put together such a box yourself, you'd never spend so little. If the interest is there, I doubt there will be a better box.

I too think most of the selections are good.

I question the inclusion of the Bonynge I Masnadieri over the Gardelli.

I don't like Solti's Ballo either. I seem to remember Sinopoli's Forza got a Gramophone award, but when the best singing on the set comes from the Preziosilla (Baltsa), it seems like a questionable award. There are much better versions out there.

I'm not a big fan of Solti's Requiem either (Sutherland sounds completely wrong to me), but, for the rest, though they wouldn't all be my top rated versions, I think they can be recommended confidently.




\"A beautiful voice is not enough.\" Maria Callas

Offline Octave

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Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
« Reply #423 on: March 08, 2013, 09:30:23 PM »
Thanks for that, Tsaraslondon, as well as for your list of preferred recordings on page 21.
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Offline marvinbrown

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Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
« Reply #424 on: May 31, 2013, 05:09:37 AM »
  VERDI FANS!!  How is everyone doing? I hope all of you are celebrating Verdi's 200th Anniversary this year- or at least giving this composer more attention than usual.  Personally I am deep into Verdi's operas!  A few months ago, in March I bought the COMPLETE WORKS of Verdi on the Decca label.  This MEGA BOXSET:

 



  and if I may be blunt: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hxDoldFID4s

  I started with Oberto and am working my way through the operas in chronological order of composition (Tsaraslondon   8) style).  I have now reached Luisa Miller.  I was unfamiliar with Verdi's early works and was skeptical at first.  But after listening to Jerusalem, La Battaglia de Legnano and Il Corsaro as well as Alzira and Giovanna D'arco I finally understand what I once read about Verdi..... "Every Verdi opera is a class act!" It is incredible how in every opera there is at least a few arias, a few ensembles and not mention choral lines that sent my heart pounding with delight!

  This is the BEST boxset I own!  With the sole exception of Ernani (a disappointingly strained performance by Dame Joan Sutherland) the performances are on the whole top notch! Thankfully I have a recording of  Schipper's Ernani with Price to supplement. Sound quality on this boxset is superb!

  I am especially excited about the French Version of Don Carlo which is unfamiliar to me (the boxset features both the Italian and French Versions) In addition there are 2 versions of La Forza the original (1862 St Petersburg Version) and the revised version 1869. There are also 8 CDs covering the Requiem, Quattro Pezzi Sacri, Sacred Works, Songs , Arias and other Rarities, String Quartets and Ballet Music....OH MY!  The only issue is the lack of libretti but the 2 books included in this boxset include a synopsis of each opera on a track by track basis. My local library has some libretti as well, so I am managing quite well.

  For a total price of around £125 for 75 CDs and performances drawn from the EMI, DG and Decca catalogues I would encourage anyone interested in this boxset to snap it up. 

  Happy Listening!

  marvin
« Last Edit: May 31, 2013, 05:13:29 AM by marvinbrown »

Offline mc ukrneal

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Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
« Reply #425 on: May 31, 2013, 06:25:27 AM »
  VERDI FANS!!  How is everyone doing? I hope all of you are celebrating Verdi's 200th Anniversary this year- or at least giving this composer more attention than usual.  Personally I am deep into Verdi's operas!  A few months ago, in March I bought the COMPLETE WORKS of Verdi on the Decca label.  This MEGA BOXSET:

 



  and if I may be blunt: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hxDoldFID4s

  I started with Oberto and am working my way through the operas in chronological order of composition (Tsaraslondon   8) style).  I have now reached Luisa Miller.  I was unfamiliar with Verdi's early works and was skeptical at first.  But after listening to Jerusalem, La Battaglia de Legnano and Il Corsaro as well as Alzira and Giovanna D'arco I finally understand what I once read about Verdi..... "Every Verdi opera is a class act!" It is incredible how in every opera there is at least a few arias, a few ensembles and not mention choral lines that sent my heart pounding with delight!

  This is the BEST boxset I own!  With the sole exception of Ernani (a disappointingly strained performance by Dame Joan Sutherland) the performances are on the whole top notch! Thankfully I have a recording of  Schipper's Ernani with Price to supplement. Sound quality on this boxset is superb!

  I am especially excited about the French Version of Don Carlo which is unfamiliar to me (the boxset features both the Italian and French Versions) In addition there are 2 versions of La Forza the original (1862 St Petersburg Version) and the revised version 1869. There are also 8 CDs covering the Requiem, Quattro Pezzi Sacri, Sacred Works, Songs , Arias and other Rarities, String Quartets and Ballet Music....OH MY!  The only issue is the lack of libretti but the 2 books included in this boxset include a synopsis of each opera on a track by track basis. My local library has some libretti as well, so I am managing quite well.

  For a total price of around £125 for 75 CDs and performances drawn from the EMI, DG and Decca catalogues I would encourage anyone interested in this boxset to snap it up. 

  Happy Listening!

  marvin
Glad you are enjoying it! You have some wonderful performances still ahead!
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Offline douglasofdorset

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Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
« Reply #426 on: July 22, 2013, 03:36:51 AM »
I have a confession to make.  For the last two or three years I have been searching for a live production of Verdi's little-known opera Jérusalem, which I consider a great stride forward from I Lombardi and a very good opera of its kind, and I thought that surely somewhere in Europe (I live in U.K.) would be performing this as part of marking the 200th anniversary.  But no, my Google search only reveals a performance by Sarasota Opera in March 2014.  Does anyone know anything about this company?  Would it be worth going all that way (and enduring immigration etc.) just to see this rarely-performed opera?

I have found clips on YouTube for a 1995 Vienna State Opera production which looks very good, but unfortunately I was not 'into it' then, having bought the Mescheriakova/Giordani/Scandiuzzi CDs cond. Fabio Luisi since then - I love it, though hearing Italians/Russians trying to pronounce French is often painful.

Offline mc ukrneal

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Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
« Reply #427 on: July 22, 2013, 04:03:23 AM »
I have a confession to make.  For the last two or three years I have been searching for a live production of Verdi's little-known opera Jérusalem, which I consider a great stride forward from I Lombardi and a very good opera of its kind, and I thought that surely somewhere in Europe (I live in U.K.) would be performing this as part of marking the 200th anniversary.  But no, my Google search only reveals a performance by Sarasota Opera in March 2014.  Does anyone know anything about this company?  Would it be worth going all that way (and enduring immigration etc.) just to see this rarely-performed opera?

I have found clips on YouTube for a 1995 Vienna State Opera production which looks very good, but unfortunately I was not 'into it' then, having bought the Mescheriakova/Giordani/Scandiuzzi CDs cond. Fabio Luisi since then - I love it, though hearing Italians/Russians trying to pronounce French is often painful.
I don't know anything about them, but whether it makes sense for you depends on you (desire, cost, etc.). Although it is not performed that often, it is periodically played somewhere, so it is possible there will be other performances in the next 3-5 years. There is a DVD of this work, which I mention if that would suffice (though reviews appear mixed - perhaps someone else here will have seen it).
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Offline douglasofdorset

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Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
« Reply #428 on: July 22, 2013, 05:05:06 AM »
Thanks, mc ukrneal, for your reply.

I think I saw some review of the DVD - something about the chorus looking offstage the wrong way while awaiting the arrival of a procession I seem to remember! - so as you say reviews may have been mixed.  Thanks again.

Offline Brewski

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Happy 200th Birthday, Giuseppe Verdi
« Reply #429 on: October 09, 2013, 11:04:27 AM »
I marked the occasion last Sunday, seeing a marvelous production of Nabucco by Opera Philadelphia: excellent singers, a superb (and large) chorus, and an interesting "show-within-a-show" concept by director Thaddeus Strassberger, who placed an audience of Austrian aristocrats in the hall's balconies. And in a nice touch, rather than repeating the "Va, pensiero" chorus immediately after it appears, Strassberger waited until the final curtain call: the entire cast - including the principals - reprised it a cappella, and beautifully, too.

Tonight, some of the following, including this Traviata that I haven't seen:

Verdi: Arias (Ramón Vargas, tenor)



Verdi: La Traviata



--Bruce
Even Beethoven's 5th was new once. Imagine being in that first audience

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Offline marvinbrown

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Re: Happy 200th Birthday, Giuseppe Verdi
« Reply #430 on: October 10, 2013, 12:52:09 AM »
I marked the occasion last Sunday, seeing a marvelous production of Nabucco by Opera Philadelphia: excellent singers, a superb (and large) chorus, and an interesting "show-within-a-show" concept by director Thaddeus Strassberger, who placed an audience of Austrian aristocrats in the hall's balconies. And in a nice touch, rather than repeating the "Va, pensiero" chorus immediately after it appears, Strassberger waited until the final curtain call: the entire cast - including the principals - reprised it a cappella, and beautifully, too.

Tonight, some of the following, including this Traviata that I haven't seen:

Verdi: Arias (Ramón Vargas, tenor)



Verdi: La Traviata



--Bruce

  HAPPY BIRTHDAY VERDI
  Today, October 10 is Verdi's 200 year Anniversary and to celebrate this man's tremendous achievement in the world of opera I decided to play his (arguably) GREATEST masterpiece......OTELLO!  Currently spinning this sublime performance which is featured in the big Verdi boxset from Decca to which I also have the individual recording:

 



  Verdi fans please celebrate in kind as there is so much to be grateful for. Verdi lived well into his 80s and produced his greatest works when he was well into old age (even by today's definition of old age!) Whether its Otello, Falstaff, Aida, Don Carlo, Un Ballo there is an opera to suit all tastes.  So why not join me in this joyous occasion? What Verdi operas are you listening to today?

  marvin

Offline mc ukrneal

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Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
« Reply #431 on: October 10, 2013, 01:03:19 AM »
Verdi fans please celebrate in kind as there is so much to be grateful for. Verdi lived well into his 80s and produced his greatest works when he was well into old age (even by today's definition of old age!) Whether its Otello, Falstaff, Aida, Don Carlo, Un Ballo there is an opera to suit all tastes.  So why not join me in this joyous occasion? What Verdi operas are you listening to today?

marvin
There's a good idea. I'm with you!  I will listen to one of my newer acquisitions: La Forza del Destino with Tebaldi and del Monaco (not to mention Siepi, Simionato, etc.). :)

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Offline amw

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Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
« Reply #432 on: October 10, 2013, 01:11:26 AM »
I've glanced through my collection and realised that the only Verdi I have right now is the String Quartet in E minor.... and his birthday ends in 2 hours here as well :<

It's a nice string quartet though!

Offline marvinbrown

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Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
« Reply #433 on: October 10, 2013, 01:26:16 AM »
There's a good idea. I'm with you!  I will listen to one of my newer acquisitions: La Forza del Destino with Tebaldi and del Monaco (not to mention Siepi, Simionato, etc.). :)



  An excellent choice!

 
I've glanced through my collection and realised that the only Verdi I have right now is the String Quartet in E minor.... and his birthday ends in 2 hours here as well :<

It's a nice string quartet though!

  Verdi was a composer of operas first and foremost.  May I recommend that you explore AIDA and OTELLO. No music collection should be without those 2 operas.....and then there is La Traviata, Il Trovatore, La Forza, Rigolleto, Don Carlo and Un Ballo we really are spoiled for choice here!  I once read a statement on Verdi that I believe to be true...."Every Verdi opera is a class act!"

  Please explore the operas.....there is so much to admire.

  marvin

Offline Sergeant Rock

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Re: Happy 200th Birthday, Giuseppe Verdi
« Reply #434 on: October 10, 2013, 01:33:15 AM »
  HAPPY BIRTHDAY VERDI
What Verdi operas are you listening to today?

Too early in the day for opera  :D ;)  I'm starting with something easier on the ears, mind and soul: Quattro Pezzi Sacri, Robert Shaw conducting the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Chorus. This afternoon I'll listen to an opera.




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Offline amw

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Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
« Reply #435 on: October 10, 2013, 01:42:53 AM »
  Verdi was a composer of operas first and foremost.  May I recommend that you explore AIDA and OTELLO. No music collection should be without those 2 operas.....and then there is La Traviata, Il Trovatore, La Forza, Rigolleto, Don Carlo and Un Ballo we really are spoiled for choice here!  I once read a statement on Verdi that I believe to be true...."Every Verdi opera is a class act!"

  Please explore the operas.....there is so much to admire.

  marvin

I'm aware it's the operas, rather than the few instrumental & choral works, that really put Verdi in the first rank of composers, but have to admit it's been a long time since I've seen one of them. I know I've seen Aida and La Traviata in concert, and Rigoletto in film, I think. There is a small number of opera singers I tolerate so if I spot one of them in Otello, which seems to be the one to have since I know I've never heard it (Falstaff is also supposed to be good) I'll pick it up—as far as the non-operatic works of opera composers go, this string quartet beats Wagner's Album-Sonate and any instrumental music I've heard by Rossini hands down, so I have high hopes.

Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
« Reply #436 on: October 10, 2013, 07:05:04 AM »
There's a good idea. I'm with you!  I will listen to one of my newer acquisitions: La Forza del Destino with Tebaldi and del Monaco (not to mention Siepi, Simionato, etc.). :)



A sprawling score, that contains some of Verdi's greatest music. I am not so thrilled by the scene painting in the crowd scenes and rat-a-plan stuff, whilst understanding their purpose in relieving the otherwise unremitting gloom of the rest of the score.

I am listening now to the second scene of Act II, one of the greatest in all Verdi, in the Callas recording, with Rossi-Lemeni a most sympathetic Padre Guardiano. Callas is superb in this scene. Though others may have sung the aria with fuller, more rounded tone, none have brought to it such intensity and meaning.

That said, I know you have an antipathy for Callas,so there is no point me recommending it to you.

However, the recording above is not really the best Forza out there, though there is a live Tebaldi one around somewhere, conducted by Mitropoulos, which shows what a great Leonora Tebaldi could be, and also a DVD of a performance from La Scala with Corelli, Bastianini and Christoff, on which the singing is spectacular. This studio one is a bit earthbound.

Price/Domingo/Levine is much more alive and probably the best all round set. Price doesn't have Callas's way with words, nor does she sing the music, particularly in the first act, with Callas's accuracy, but she is in all other aspects ideal, and that easily recognisable, smokey timbre of hers is ideal for the role.

Domingo is good here, but even better on the later Muti. Unfortunately Freni, thoughtful and musical singer though she is, sounds overparted as Leonora.

The Sinopoli won a Gramophone Award, but it hasn't stood the test of time. The best singing comes from Baltsa as Preziosilla, which is not really the reason one buys a recording of Forza.



\"A beautiful voice is not enough.\" Maria Callas

Offline Wendell_E

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Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
« Reply #437 on: October 11, 2013, 03:57:17 AM »
The Met's Sirius/XM station's devoting the week to Verdi (except for this week's three live broadcast's).  On the 9th, I listened to a 1977 Forza (Levine; Price, Domingo, MacNeil, Talvela, Elias, Capecchi), and on the 10th a 1966 Trovatore originally broadcast just a week after Price and Corelli's dual Met debuts (Cleva; Corelli, Price, Sereni, Dalis, Wilderman, and a 22-year old Teresa Stratas as Inez, just weeks before she got her big break as Liù).
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Offline Fafner

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Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
« Reply #438 on: October 11, 2013, 04:06:43 AM »
  VERDI FANS!!  How is everyone doing? I hope all of you are celebrating Verdi's 200th Anniversary this year- or at least giving this composer more attention than usual.  Personally I am deep into Verdi's operas!  A few months ago, in March I bought the COMPLETE WORKS of Verdi on the Decca label.  This MEGA BOXSET:

 



  and if I may be blunt: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hxDoldFID4s

  I started with Oberto and am working my way through the operas in chronological order of composition (Tsaraslondon   8) style).  I have now reached Luisa Miller.  I was unfamiliar with Verdi's early works and was skeptical at first.  But after listening to Jerusalem, La Battaglia de Legnano and Il Corsaro as well as Alzira and Giovanna D'arco I finally understand what I once read about Verdi..... "Every Verdi opera is a class act!" It is incredible how in every opera there is at least a few arias, a few ensembles and not mention choral lines that sent my heart pounding with delight!

  This is the BEST boxset I own!  With the sole exception of Ernani (a disappointingly strained performance by Dame Joan Sutherland) the performances are on the whole top notch! Thankfully I have a recording of  Schipper's Ernani with Price to supplement. Sound quality on this boxset is superb!

  I am especially excited about the French Version of Don Carlo which is unfamiliar to me (the boxset features both the Italian and French Versions) In addition there are 2 versions of La Forza the original (1862 St Petersburg Version) and the revised version 1869. There are also 8 CDs covering the Requiem, Quattro Pezzi Sacri, Sacred Works, Songs , Arias and other Rarities, String Quartets and Ballet Music....OH MY!  The only issue is the lack of libretti but the 2 books included in this boxset include a synopsis of each opera on a track by track basis. My local library has some libretti as well, so I am managing quite well.

  For a total price of around £125 for 75 CDs and performances drawn from the EMI, DG and Decca catalogues I would encourage anyone interested in this boxset to snap it up. 

  Happy Listening!

  marvin


I eventually had to cancel my order from Vivace Classical (after waiting in vain for a few months) and I ordered it for a bit more at Amazon.es.  It arrived within days.  It is a great box promising many more hours of listening pleasure. Viva Verdi!
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Offline mc ukrneal

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Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
« Reply #439 on: October 11, 2013, 05:40:46 AM »
A sprawling score, that contains some of Verdi's greatest music. I am not so thrilled by the scene painting in the crowd scenes and rat-a-plan stuff, whilst understanding their purpose in relieving the otherwise unremitting gloom of the rest of the score.

I am listening now to the second scene of Act II, one of the greatest in all Verdi, in the Callas recording, with Rossi-Lemeni a most sympathetic Padre Guardiano. Callas is superb in this scene. Though others may have sung the aria with fuller, more rounded tone, none have brought to it such intensity and meaning.

That said, I know you have an antipathy for Callas,so there is no point me recommending it to you.

However, the recording above is not really the best Forza out there, though there is a live Tebaldi one around somewhere, conducted by Mitropoulos, which shows what a great Leonora Tebaldi could be, and also a DVD of a performance from La Scala with Corelli, Bastianini and Christoff, on which the singing is spectacular. This studio one is a bit earthbound.

Price/Domingo/Levine is much more alive and probably the best all round set. Price doesn't have Callas's way with words, nor does she sing the music, particularly in the first act, with Callas's accuracy, but she is in all other aspects ideal, and that easily recognisable, smokey timbre of hers is ideal for the role.

Domingo is good here, but even better on the later Muti. Unfortunately Freni, thoughtful and musical singer though she is, sounds overparted as Leonora.

The Sinopoli won a Gramophone Award, but it hasn't stood the test of time. The best singing comes from Baltsa as Preziosilla, which is not really the reason one buys a recording of Forza.

Yeah, I will probably end up getting the Price recording eventually, although the Tebaldi/Del Monaco does have some wonderful moments.
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