In May 1977 Karajan returned to the Vienna State Opera like a king returning from exile, and was greeted with 'unbounded adulation', as Gottfried Kraus here affirms in his notes, for the conductor's Trovatore, with Leontyne Price, Ludwig, Pavarotti, Cappuccilli and Van Dam as his superb cast. A year later he returned for a revival of the same work, this time with a television broadcast as an added incentive. Cappuccilli and van Dam remained from the previous cast, Kabaivanska, Bonisolli and Cossotto were the scheduled newcomers, but at the dress rehearsal Bonisolli, annoyed that an audience was present, chucked his sword at the conductor during Manrico's Act 3 aria. Consternation all round. Luckily by the first night on May 1st Domingo, noRead more less, had been engaged as a replacement.
None the less, Viennese critics thought the cast less admirable than its predecessor. On the strength of this evidence and a video I possess of the TV transmission, they may have been wrong. It would be hard at that time, let alone since, to find singers more suited to their roles. To my mind, Kabaivanska is a subtler Leonora than Price (heard on the 1962 Salzburg/DG set under Karajan and in his faulty 1977 studio recording), even if her actual tone is not as rich as Price's. This regrettably under-recorded soprano sings with vigour, feeling, refinement and technical assurance, all displayed affectingly in her Act 4 aria, the very picture of the wronged, desperate Leonora. Cossotto, sometimes coarse in tone (and not quite the equal of the subtler Simionato in 1962 or Barbieri in 1956) remains an undoubted presence.
Domingo has never been the ideal tenor for Di quella pira' (as is Corelli in 1962), but every other part of Manrico's role is very much his territory as be once again shows, singing it in his absolute prime - try his introductory serenade. Cappuccilli as ever is a strong presence as Luna and, like his colleagues, gives his all for Karajan. Van Dam, singing formidably, is in his element as Ferrando. Karajan himself seems rejuvenated by the occasion, presenting the work with the raw, emotional drive it calls for. You are definitely present at a memorable evening at the Staatsoper.
I won't say that the performance surpasses his 1962 Salzburg rendering, let alone the classic 1956 recording on EMI with Callas et al in the cast, but as yet another revelation from the Vienna archives, and one for which no allowances have to be made in terms of sound quality (the earlier sets are in mono), this must now come into the reckoning as a favoured version, not least because it appears at mid price, though it suffers from the omission of Leonora's Act 4 cabaletta 'Tu vedrai'. There's also a short, interesting bonus with Karajan talking about the work with Marcel Prawy. A translation is included in the accompanying booklet but, as with all this series, no libretto or translation is provided.
-- Gramophone [8/1999]
This recording includes a radio interview with Herbert von Karajan.
Libretto is not included. Read less
Works on This Recording
Il trovatoreby Giuseppe Verdi Performer:
Ewald Aichberger (Tenor),
Fiorenza Cossotto (Mezzo Soprano),
Raina Kabaivanska (Soprano),
Placido Domingo (Tenor),
Piero Cappuccilli (Baritone),
José van Dam (Bass Baritone),
Maria Venuti (Soprano),
Heinz Zednik (Tenor),
Karl Caslavsky (Bass)
Herbert von Karajan
Vienna State Opera Chorus,
Vienna State Opera Orchestra
Period: Romantic Written: 1853; Italy Date of Recording: 05/01/1978 Venue: Live State Opera House, Vienna, Austria Length: 142 Minutes 13 Secs. Language: Italian
Average Customer Review: ( 1 Customer Review )
has weaknessFebruary 16, 2013By Carmen P. (Arlington, TX)See All My Reviews"instruments sounded very dull since it is a live performance the times where singers were away from microphones causes volume to be very low."Report Abuse