Notes and Editorial Reviews
Bellini's opera version of the Romeo and Juliet story is one of his finest early works, the first to unequivocally display his mature style. It had a fully successful early run, although it has suffered much neglect in subsequent years, in modern times mostly because the part of Romeo is written for a mezzo-soprano. The opera is now customarily given in the original voice ranges, and the present recording is of one of the first modern performances to do so. Live performance, Rome, October 23, 1958.
R E V I E W:
This live performance from RAI Rome in 1958 is a fine if literal (there are no embellishments to arias) reading of this lovely work. It is of particular interest to fans of mezzo Fiorenza Cossotto, here caught
early in her career, before the voice had grown into the dramatic, Verdian instrument we're familiar with. She sings Romeo well, with a fine, boyish tone. Otherwise unknown soprano Antonietta Pastori is a lovely Giulietta, singing with small, well-focused, pretty tone. Similarly not-famous Renato Gavarini is a very good Tebaldo--rhythmically accurate and exhibiting a good-sized, tonally pleasant tenor. The two basses are fine, the chorus is a bit scrappy, and the orchestra is good enough under the young Lorin Maazel.
It's interesting to note what fine singers were floating around Italy in the 1950s; today they might be stars. The performance is good without being compelling--there's little passion. This may have been a one-time-only performance, and involvement in character is not high on the singers' list of interests. It can't compare with the competition, but it's a bargain, and if you're unfamiliar with the opera and/or you're a Cossotto fan, you won't be disappointed.
--Robert Levine, ClassicsToday.com
Reviewing earlier release of this recording, Opera D'Oro 1397
Works on This Recording
I Capuleti e i Montecchi by Vincenzo Bellini
Fiorenza Cossotto (Mezzo Soprano),
Renato Gavarini (Tenor),
Antonietta Pastori (Soprano),
Ivo Vinco (Bass),
Vittorio Tatozzi (Baritone)
Italian Radio Symphony Orchestra Rome,
Italian Radio Chorus Rome
Written: 1830; Italy
Date of Recording: 10/23/1958
Venue: Live Rome, Italy
Length: 115 Minutes 6 Secs.
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