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Verdi - The Greatest Operas

Release Date: 10/16/2007 
Label:  Bravissimo Opera Library   Catalog #: 9801   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Sherrill MilnesKarl RidderbuschCarlo CossuttaEwald Aichberger,   ... 
Conductor:  Karl BöhmCarlo Maria GiuliniHerbert von KarajanNino Verchi,   ... 
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna State Opera ChorusVienna Philharmonic OrchestraFlorence Teatro Comunale Orchestra,   ... 
Number of Discs: 14 
Recorded in: Mono 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Seven complete operas by Giuseppe Verdi at a budget price in one space-saving set, featuring a twenty-four-page booklet with biographies of singers, detailed listings, and historic photos. Operas recorded from 1962 to 1976.

R E V I E W:

...The Macbeth features Sherrill Milnes at his 1970 best. His coconspirator, Christa Ludwig, is in astonishing voice—one doesn’t expect a so-called “mezzo-soprano” to be hitting an occasional high B or C and even, once, a D? (but not in the Sleepwalking Scene, where it’s called for)! Some scrambled rapid passages do little to spoil the powerful impression she makes. Strong support comes from Karl Ridderbusch (Banquo) and Carlo Cossutta (Macduff). Karl Böhm is apparently as
Read more willing to cut Verdi as he is Strauss, but leads a strong performance. This is the 1865 revision that Verdi made but it briefly reverts to 1847 so Milnes can have a longer death scene.

That even Rigoletto can be a “conductor’s opera” is demonstrated by a 1966 Florence performance led by Carlo Maria Giulini, who welcomes us to Rigoletto’s “dark side,” with emphasis on the score’s gloom and some slower-than-average tempos. It works, and it helps that the young Luciano Pavarotti’s ebullient Duke sings with a careless buoyancy and Renata Scotto uses her acting smarts and superior technique and nearly makes an interesting character out of one of opera’s biggest birdbrains. In “Caro nome,” she takes full advantage of Giulini’s tempo to produce a showstopper. Faced with this level of “competition,” the healthy-voiced Kostas Paskalis sings as if he’s determined to be noticed, marring his perfectly good performance with some blatant bids for applause. There are standard “theater cuts” and occasional interjections by the prompter.

...In a 1973 La traviata, we have one of those rare instances where the elder Germont (Sesto Bruscantini, born in 1919) actually is old enough to be Alfredo’s father (José Carreras, born in 1946). I doubt that Bruscantini, an agile and intelligent baritone, ever had the kind of big, mellow voice we have come to expect in this role; “Di provenza il mar” is made for someone who can deploy that sort of voice. His is thinner and his only advantage is that he actually does sound a good bit older than his “son,” whose singing is warm and intense, dating from those thrilling days of yesteryear when he could fearlessly throw himself into his roles as if there were no piper to be paid. Renata Scotto’s risks, on the other hand, tend to be calculated ones—sometimes one can almost imagine the wheels turning. Her top notes are edgy and sometimes she miscalculates by singing too softly, but in Violetta she has a role she can sink her teeth into. As the cliché goes, she “creates a character”—and she can sing it, too. Nino Verchi cuts the second verse of “Ah fors e lui,” and I’m sorry not to have heard Carreras pouring it on in “O mio rimorso.” The sound is a cut above what one is accustomed to from unofficial sources.

The Falstaff recording’s “in-house” origins are suggested by the clarity with which we hear the orchestra. That is not necessarily a bad thing since there are a lot of things of genuine interest going on down in the pit as Mario Rossi conducts the San Carlo Orchestra of Naples. Fortunately, we can still hear the strong cast. The performance may lack the refinement of the studio recordings, but it has plenty of spirit. Gobbi’s Falstaff is known from other live recordings and a renowned studio effort with Herbert von Karajan. He doesn’t replicate his other Falstaffs here, suggesting that he’s tailoring his reactions to the cast at hand. Renato Capecchi is probably best known for his character roles, but he was more than just a character baritone when he got to record Rigoletto nearly 50 years ago with Gianna d’Angelo (a terrific Gilda) and Richard Tucker. Here, he’s a strong Ford and it’s a pleasure to hear him and Gobbi, two real pros, working together. Renata Tebaldi as Alice is a piece of luxury casting that doesn’t really pay off because the role doesn’t give her a chance to show off her assets, but she’s never less than good and Freni, as expected, more than fills the role of Nanetta. The Cauis (Vittorio Pandano), Bardolph (Renato Ercolani), and Pistol (Enrico Campi) provide vivid, enthusiastic support.

FANFARE: James Miller

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Works on This Recording

Macbeth by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Sherrill Milnes (Baritone), Karl Ridderbusch (Bass), Carlo Cossutta (Tenor),
Ewald Aichberger (Tenor), Ljubomir Pantscheff (Bass), Harald Pröglhöf (Bass),
Siegfried Rudolf Frese (Baritone), Christa Ludwig (Mezzo Soprano), Gildis Flossman (Soprano)
Conductor:  Karl Böhm
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna State Opera Chorus,  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1847/1865; Italy 
Date of Recording: 04/1970 
Venue:  Live  State Opera, Vienna, Austria 
Language: Italian 
Rigoletto by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Rita Bezzi (Mezzo Soprano), Arturo La Porta (Baritone), Luciano Pavarotti (Tenor),
Renata Scotto (Soprano), Kostas Paskalis (Baritone), Paolo Washington (Bass),
Plinio Clabassi (Bass), Enzo Guagni (Tenor), Rosa Laghezza (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  Carlo Maria Giulini
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Florence Teatro Comunale Orchestra,  Florence Teatro Comunale Chorus
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1851; Italy 
Date of Recording: 11/1966 
Length: 127 Minutes 37 Secs. 
Language: Italian 
Il trovatore by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Franco Corelli (Tenor), Leontyne Price (Soprano), Ettore Bastianini (Baritone),
Giulietta Simionato (Mezzo Soprano), Nicola Zaccaria (Bass), Laurence Dutoit (Soprano),
Siegfried Rudolf Frese (Bass Baritone), Rudolf Zimmer (Bass), Kurt Equiluz (Tenor)
Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna State Opera Chorus,  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1853; Italy 
Date of Recording: 07/31/1962 
Venue:  Live  Salzburg, Austria 
Length: 131 Minutes 11 Secs. 
Language: Italian 
La traviata by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Sesto Bruscantini (Baritone), José Carreras (Tenor), Anna Pedrotti (Soprano),
Guido Mazzini (Baritone), Renata Scotto (Soprano), Fernando Jacopucci (Tenor),
Carlo Meliciani (Bass), Franco Lombardi (Bass)
Conductor:  Nino Verchi
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1853; Italy 
Date of Recording: 09/18/1973 
Venue:  Live  Tokyo, Japan 
Falstaff by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Fedora Barbieri (Mezzo Soprano), Renata Tebaldi (Soprano), Mirella Freni (Soprano),
Tito Gobbi (Baritone), Renato Capecchi (Baritone), Agostino Lazzari (Tenor),
Renato Ercolani (Tenor), Enrico Campi (Bass), Vittorio Pandano (Tenor),
Fernanda Cadoni (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  Mario Rossi
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Naples Teatro San Carlo Chorus,  Naples Teatro San Carlo Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1893; Italy 
Date of Recording: 12/01/1962 
Length: 124 Minutes 30 Secs. 
Language: Italian 
Un ballo in maschera by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Ettore Bastianini (Baritone), Giulietta Simionato (Mezzo Soprano), Eugenia Ratti (Soprano),
Giuseppe Morresi (Bass Baritone), Antonio Cassinelli (Bass), Marco Stefanoni (Bass),
Angelo Mercuriali (Tenor), Antonio Ricci (Tenor), Giuseppe Di Stefano (Tenor),
Maria Callas (Soprano)
Conductor:  Gianandrea Gavazzeni
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Chorus
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1859; Italy 
Date of Recording: 12/07/1957 
Venue:  La Scala, Milan, Italy 
Length: 131 Minutes 36 Secs. 
Language: Italian 
Ernani by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Placido Domingo (Tenor), Raina Kabaivanska (Soprano), Carlo Meliciani (Baritone),
Nicolai Ghiaurov (Bass), Milena Pauli (Soprano), Piero de Palma (Tenor)
Conductor:  Antonino Votto
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Chorus
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1844; Italy 
Date of Recording: 12/07/1969 
Venue:  Live  Teatro Alla Scala, Milan, Italy 
Language: Italian 

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  7 Customer Reviews )
 Verdi GLITSCH November 18, 2014 By Antje Weber (Naples, FL) See All My Reviews "Sorry but....listening to the absolutely sublime voices of the 60's+ was blissful until the cd's started slipping/wobbling and distorting the sound. This was not the case with the Deutache Grammophone disk set of Le Nozze. Pls be aware there must be a quality problem. The price was just too good to be true? It was not my cd player because all other cd's played aound fine." Report Abuse
 Wonderful Selections, Performances and Sound April 24, 2013 By Donald S. (Denver, CO) See All My Reviews "Great value.Booklet includes 60 Second Overview synopsis, Listings of all songs and performers. Well done!" Report Abuse
 great April 18, 2013 By paul T. See All My Reviews "fantastic cd paul t" Report Abuse
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