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Verdi: Rigoletto; La Traviata; Un Ballo En Maschera; Don Carlo; Falstaff

Verdi
Release Date: 07/08/2014 
Label:  Bravissimo Opera Library   Catalog #: 9922   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Rita BezziArturo La PortaLuciano PavarottiRenata Scotto,   ... 
Conductor:  Carlo Maria GiuliniNino VerchiFrancesco Molinari-PradelliHorst Stein,   ... 
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Florence Teatro Comunale OrchestraFlorence Teatro Comunale ChorusMilan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra,   ... 
Number of Discs: 11 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Reviews of some of the original recordings that make up this set:

Rigoletto

It's good to have Luciano Pavarotti and Renata Scotto together in their primes. Both were singers of intelligence and sensitivity, and except in Scotto's case, in the very highest notes, they were singers of great tonal beauty as well. Here, taped live in 1966, we find the tenor at his most engaging as the dangerous, carefree Duke, absolutely certain of himself, singing with great passion and energy. At the same time Scotto paints a lovely, fragile picture of Gilda--eager and innocent. The Rigoletto is Kostas Paskalis, a baritone who had a relatively full career. He has a big, burly sound and he's thoroughly involved, but he exaggerates
Read more all of the big moments and pulls the vocal line out of position for the sake of so-called "drama", and what we wind up with is a lot of sobbing, snarling, and barking in addition to all the notes. A pity he couldn't restrain himself. Paolo Washington's Sparafucile is properly sinister; Rossa Laghezza's Maddalena is properly slutty. Carlo Maria Giulini leads his Florence forces in an energetic, singer-pleasing, fair-sounding performance. In short, Scotto and Pavarotti fans may clamor for this, but be warned: the central character disappoints.

--Robert Levine, ClassicsToday.com

Un Ballo In Maschera
Francesco Molinari-Pradelli leads a searing performance with the Scala forces responding beautifully to his exciting shaping of the score. Carreras recalled later that these performances were the greatest of his career to that point. We can only be grateful for their documentation and continue to yearn for a Verdi renaissance that gives us this kind of unbridled passion, first-rate singing and innate understanding of style in the opera house again. In the meanwhile, we have this amazing Ballo.”

-- Ira Siff, Opera News

Don Carlos
With its odd, brilliant mixture of interpersonal and political relationships, Don Carlos is a very hard opera to put across, and this 1970 Vienna performance of the four-act version is partially successful. Franco Corelli never recorded the role of Carlos commercially so this is instantly valuable; and indeed the tenor is in magnificent voice–pungent, emotionally forward, thrilling, and only occasionally sloppy. His Elisabetta is Gundula Janowitz, hardly a Verdi soprano, but she makes some very beautiful sounds nonetheless even if she never quite wins us over the way Tebaldi or Caballé do. Eberhard Waechter is surprisingly Italianate as Posa and Shirley Verrett almost walks away with the whole show with her fiery Eboli. Nicolai Ghiaurov is at his grandest as poor Philip II, and his scene with the terrifying Grand Inquisitor of Martti Talvela will take your breath away. Horst Stein leads a not-always-tidy but exciting reading. Perhaps this isn’t anyone’s only Don Carlos, but it’s a very interesting one nonetheless.

-- Robert Levine, ClassicsToday.com

Falstaff
"Verdi's Falstaff turned 100 years old last February, but continues to sparkle, even in this dim-sounding aircheck...this 1951 Scala production is a consistently invigorating experience. Two weeks after his sixty-third birthday, Mariano Stabile (who can also be heard in a 1937 Salzburg aircheck under Toscanini) remains unfailingly sensitive to Falstaff s every word and gesture, bringing the title character consistently to life from one moment to the next, with a spectacular sense of connection to everything going on around him. At the same time, this is a real ensemble performance, as Falstaff needs to be; it probably doesn't hurt that this is an all-Italian cast. Too bad there's no way to recapture the stage business that so audibly and frequently delights the audience; for example, I'd give anything to see, as well as hear, Stabile's delivery of Falstaff's “Lo so“ (“I know“) when Quickly praises his seductive powers in their second-act exchange. Unfortunately, I must reiterate that the sound is a real problem: this can really be recommended only to collectors. But then again,there are also things the likes of which you won't hear elsewhere, like de Sabata's way with the string accents and portamentos in the final exchange between Falstaff and Ford at the end of act II, scene i. So weigh the pluses and minuses for yourself; you probably won't be disappointed. "

-- Marc Mandel, Fanfare Read less

Works on This Recording

1. 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 
2. La traviata by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  José Carreras (Tenor), Renata Scotto (Soprano), Sesto Bruscantini (Baritone),
Anna Pedrotti (Mezzo Soprano), Guido Mazzini (Baritone), Franco Lombardi (Tenor),
Fernando Jacopucci (Tenor), Carlo Meliciani (Bass), Anna di Stasio (Mezzo Soprano),
Noboru Hisaoka (Tenor), Ryouzu Kanetani (Tenor)
Conductor:  Nino Verchi
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Chorus
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1853; Italy 
Date of Recording: 09/18/1973 
Venue:  Live  Tokyo, Japan 
Length: 124 Minutes 5 Secs. 
Language: Italian 
3. Un ballo in maschera by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Renato Bruson (Baritone), Margherita Guglielmi (Soprano), Federico Davià (Bass),
Giovanni Foiani (Bass), Aldo Bertocci (Tenor), Regolo Romani (Tenor),
Montserrat Caballé (Soprano), Carlo Meliciani (Baritone), Ruza Baldani (Mezzo Soprano),
José Carreras (Tenor)
Conductor:  Francesco Molinari-Pradelli
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Chorus
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1859; Italy 
Date of Recording: 02/18/1975 
Venue:  Live  Milan, Italy 
Length: 139 Minutes 22 Secs. 
Language: Italian 
4. Don Carlos by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Eberhard Wächter (Baritone), Martti Talvela (Bass), Tugomir Franc (Bass),
Judith Blegen (Soprano), Gundula Janowitz (Soprano), Edita Gruberova (Soprano),
Franco Corelli (Tenor), Shirley Verrett (Mezzo Soprano), Nicolai Ghiaurov (Bass),
Ewald Aichberger (Tenor)
Conductor:  Horst Stein
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna State Opera Chorus,  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1867/1886 
Date of Recording: 10/25/1970 
Venue:  Live  State Opera House, Vienna, Austria 
Language: Italian 
5. Falstaff by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Mariano Stabile (Baritone), Silvio Maionica (Baritone), Giuseppe Nessi (Tenor),
Mariano Caruso (Tenor), Alda Noni (Soprano), Cloe Elmo (Mezzo Soprano),
Anna Maria Canali (Mezzo Soprano), Paolo Silveri (Baritone), Cesare Valletti (Tenor),
Renata Tebaldi (Soprano)
Conductor:  Victor De Sabata
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Chorus
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1893; Italy 
Date of Recording: 05/26/1951 
Venue:  Live  Milan, Italy 
Language: Italian 

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