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Puccini: Tosca / Rostropovich, Vishnevskaya, Et Al

Release Date: 06/14/2005 
Label:  Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog #: 000458402   Spars Code: ADD 
Composer:  Giacomo Puccini
Performer:  Galina VishnevskayaMatteo ManuguerraAntonio ZerbiniMario Guggia,   ... 
Conductor:  Mstislav Rostropovich
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Maîtrise de Radio FranceFrench National Radio ChorusFrench National Orchestra
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 55 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

I have a soft spot for this passionate, red-blooded, visceral performance of Tosca. Galina Vishnevskaya's Slavic timbre isn't to all tastes (it is to mine), though she sings not just with fire but with consistent imagination, beauty, and subtlety. Hers is a fully rounded portrait, alternately jealous and teasingly coy in the first act, trembling on the verge of hysteria during her sparring match with Scarpia (and thrilling when she offs him with the bread knife), and truly desperate as she launches herself from the parapet at the opera's close. Really the only singer who took the character this seriously was Callas, and her voice was an acquired taste as well. In short, this is an important document of a singer who, for reasons having more Read more to do with Soviet politics than with her artistic endowment, made far too few recordings. She was the best of her kind, and this was one of her great roles.

As to the remainder of the cast, Franco Bonisolli is the real deal: an Italian tenor with plenty of vocal heft. He also made relatively few recordings, and while the role doesn't lack for fine exponents, and certainly isn't as juicy as the female lead, he does an excellent job in his Act 1 and 3 arias and sounds suitably defiant and heroic in Act 2. Similarly, Matteo Manuguerra isn't a Scarpia on the level of, say, Tito Gobbi, but he's awfully generous with his voice and obviously enjoys playing the bad guy.

Rostropovich's conducting may not be idiomatic in the traditional sense--he's very generous of rubato and perhaps is a touch too indulgent here and there--but he's far more interesting than several Italian hacks I could name, and he's got the French orchestra playing with an unusual level of commitment to the cause. The sonics capture plenty of orchestral detail, but also are kind to the voices. A very, very welcome reissue.
--David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com Read less

Works on This Recording

Tosca by Giacomo Puccini
Performer:  Galina Vishnevskaya (Soprano), Matteo Manuguerra (Baritone), Antonio Zerbini (Bass),
Mario Guggia (Tenor), Guido Mazzini (Tenor), Franco Bonisolli (Tenor)
Conductor:  Mstislav Rostropovich
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Maîtrise de Radio France,  French National Radio Chorus,  French National Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1900; Italy 
Language: Italian 

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