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Franco Corelli - 7 Complete Operas

Release Date: 10/16/2007 
Label:  Bravissimo Opera Library   Catalog #: 9902   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Ruggero LeoncavalloGiacomo PucciniUmberto GiordanoGaetano Donizetti,   ... 
Performer:  Tito GobbiMario CarlinFranco CorelliMafalda Micheluzzi,   ... 
Conductor:  Alfredo SimonettoSir Alexander GibsonLovro von MatacicAntonino Votto,   ... 
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Italian Radio Symphony Orchestra MilanItalian Radio Chorus MilanRoyal Opera House Covent Garden Orchestra,   ... 
Number of Discs: 14 
Recorded in: Mono 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

This live, 1957 performance is self-recommending to fans of either Milanov or Corelli, she 10 years from retirement, he only a few years into his career. Her Tosca is dignified and imperious and full of voice; what she lacks in deep insights she makes up for in grand tone--her "Vissi d'arte" is a knockout--and she can work herself into a lather with the best of them. Not quite in her prime, she's still masterfully stylish: her use of portamento is an object lesson in Italian-opera singing and her pianissimos are in a class by themselves. She makes occasional lunges at high notes and is unwieldy in Tosca's more overtly loony outbursts, but she's a soprano who deserves her almost legendary status, and this recording is better than Read more her studio recording of the same role, made the same year.

Corelli's steely-golden-bronzed tone is a thrill a minute, and he was still young enough in '57 to sing the words as well as the notes most of the time. His big moments--"Vittoria!, Vittoria" and "E lucevan le stelle" for example--demand an almost physical reaction from the listener. What a glorious sound he had! Giangiacomo Guelfi, the least-known of the three, had a less starry career in the U.S. than he should have. He possessed a huge, snarly, wonderfully Italian baritone that could spread, but that invariably excited. Michael Langdon and Forbes Robinson, two stalwarts of British opera in the '50s and '60s, turn Angelotti and the Sacristan, respectively, into real characters, and Alexander Gibson leads the Covent Garden forces in an exciting performance. Recommended--after Callas, of course.

--Robert Levine, ClassicsToday.com
reviewing Tosca, previously released as Opera d'Oro 1349

This is the most consistently satisfying Chénier on discs, black or silver. I realize that's saying a great deal, since we have Pavarotti-Caballé-Chailly (very pretty, but lacking the correct vocal weight), Corelli-Stella-Santini (she's somewhat of a wipe-out), Carreras-Marton-Patanè (all below par) and Domingo-Scotto-Levine (the best up to now) to compete with, but trust me... Recorded live at the Vienna State Opera in June I960, the sound is pretty good monaural, the cast, down to the smallest role, is both excellent and rich with surprises (Kostas Paskalis sings Fleville, Alois Pernerstorfer sings Mathieu, Renato Ercolani is “Incredible,“ the spy), and all the leads (and secondary parts) are topnotch. Corelli was at the start of the best period of his career in 1960—he had learned how to sing with subtlety (occasionally) and the voice was in perfect shape. Von Mata?i? doesn't quite give him enough room in the “Improvviso“ but lends great support elsewhere: I still contend that Corelli's voice was precisely what was needed in this role and that no one has come along to take his place. Bright, shiny top, endless breath, rich, baritonal bottom —what a Chénier!

Tebaldi, too, was in splendid form, with the top sounding very secure. Her big third-act aria is taken very slowly and she can handle it. It and the rest of the role are sung with drama, intelligence, and that womanly, lush tone which, sadly, didn't last quite long enough. Ettore Bastianini is the ideal Gerard—angry, lustful, self-hating, rueful—and the true Verdi sound he possessed is all too rare nowadays. Note the cast list above for two nice additions in the roles of the Countess and Madelon—both are welcome. The supporting cast tends to sing with some pretty odd Italian diction, but so what? Von Mata?i? and the Viennese seem to know they're on to something good and they add luster and energy to the proceedings. There are plenty of thrills here, with some of the century's greatest singers at their best.

-- Robert Levine, FANFARE [1/1989]
reviewing Andrea Chénier, previously released as Fonit Cetra 1017

Franco Corelli was in full bloom at this point in his career and he partners Callas nicely and sings brilliantly in his solos. Ettore Bastianini's honeyed baritone has rarely been heard to better advantage. Antonino Votto leads a singer-driven performance. The sound is pretty trying, but it's worth it for Callas.

-- Robert Levine, ClassicsToday.com
reviewing Poliuto, previously released as Opera d'Oro 1228 Read less

Works on This Recording

I Pagliacci by Ruggero Leoncavallo
Performer:  Tito Gobbi (Baritone), Mario Carlin (Tenor), Franco Corelli (Tenor),
Mafalda Micheluzzi (Soprano), Lino Puglisi (Baritone)
Conductor:  Alfredo Simonetto
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Italian Radio Symphony Orchestra Milan,  Italian Radio Chorus Milan
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1892; Italy 
Date of Recording: 09/26/1954 
Venue:  Live - Milan 
Tosca by Giacomo Puccini
Performer:  Giangiacomo Guelfi (Baritone), Franco Corelli (Tenor), Michael Langdon (Bass),
Zinka Milanov (Soprano), David Tree (Tenor), Forbes Robinson (Bass)
Conductor:  Sir Alexander Gibson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Orchestra,  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Chorus
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1900; Italy 
Date of Recording: 07/01/1957 
Venue:  Live - London 
Andrea Chénier by Umberto Giordano
Performer:  Hilde Konetzni (Soprano), Elisabeth Höngen (Mezzo Soprano), Ettore Bastianini (Baritone),
Franco Corelli (Tenor), Margareta Sjöstedt (Mezzo Soprano), Renata Tebaldi (Soprano),
Carlo Forti (Bass), Edmund Hurshell (Baritone)
Conductor:  Lovro von Matacic
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna State Opera Chorus,  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1896; Italy 
Date of Recording: 06/26/1960 
Venue:  Live - Vienna 
Poliuto by Gaetano Donizetti
Performer:  Piero de Palma (Tenor), Rinaldo Pelizzoni (Tenor), Ettore Bastianini (Baritone),
Nicola Zaccaria (Bass), Maria Callas (Soprano), Franco Corelli (Tenor),
Virgilio Carbonari (Bass), Giuseppe Morresi (Bass Baritone)
Conductor:  Antonino Votto
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Chorus
Period: Romantic 
Date of Recording: 12/07/1960 
Venue:  Live - Milan 
Les Huguenots by Giacomo Meyerbeer
Performer:  Nicolai Ghiaurov (Bass), Giorgio Tozzi (Bass), Antonio Cassinelli (Bass),
Alfredo Giacomotti (Bass), Piero de Palma (Tenor), Manuel Spatafora (Baritone),
Fiorenza Cossotto (Mezzo Soprano), Giulietta Simionato (Mezzo Soprano), Franco Corelli (Tenor),
Dame Joan Sutherland (Soprano), Wladimiro Ganzarolli (Baritone), Silvio Maionica (Bass),
Walter Gullino (Tenor)
Conductor:  Gianandrea Gavazzeni
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Chorus
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1836; France 
Date of Recording: 06/07/1962 
Venue:  Live - Milan 
Language: Italian 
Il trovatore by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Franco Corelli (Tenor), Kurt Equiluz (Tenor), Siegfried Rudolf Frese (Bass Baritone),
Leontyne Price (Soprano), Giulietta Simionato (Mezzo Soprano), Ettore Bastianini (Baritone),
Nicola Zaccaria (Bass), Laurence Dutoit (Soprano)
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 
La Fanciulla del West by Giacomo Puccini
Performer:  Franco Corelli (Tenor), Tito Gobbi (Baritone), Gigliola Frazzoni (Soprano)
Conductor:  Antonino Votto
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Chorus
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1910; Italy 
Date of Recording: 4/4/1956 
Venue:  Live - Milan 

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  3 Customer Reviews )
 Must Have Treasures July 4, 2014 By Robert Elden (New York, NY) See All My Reviews "All seven of these complete opera recordings, featuring Franco Corelli in his vocal prime, are taken from live performances in major European opera venues aided and abetted by a stellar roster of singing and conducting co-stars from the 1950/60s, all equally in their vocal prime. Truly, each opera is a must for any avid collector's library and to be treasured and played often. And, what a bargain!" Report Abuse
 Golden Age Singing November 19, 2013 By Charles W. (Tyler, TX) See All My Reviews "I have only listened to Tosca, Pag. and Chenier so my comment refer only to those operas. All are live performances and the recorded sound varies from fair to just lousy but the performances of Corelli and many of his colleagues are of golden age quality. Corelli had a huge, beautiful voice and tremendous breath control. His performances in the above operas are the best I have listened to. Milinov in Tosca and Tebaldi and Bastianini in Chenier are also superb. If only the sound were better the set would be so much more enjoyable. Recorded sound in the mid fifties and sixties had reached a pretty good level of technical quality, but these recordings were never meant for commercial use and sound like they were recorded with a $100 tape recorder and a $50 microphone. Worth the money in any case for the glorious singing." Report Abuse
 diapointing October 16, 2013 By M. Mitchell (Ajax, ON) See All My Reviews "Well performed operas with great casts; pairing Corelli with sopranos Milanov, Tebaldi Sutherland and Calas. Unfortunately the recording quality is vart poor," Report Abuse
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