Notes and Editorial Reviews
Recorded in June, 2005, this is the first Edgar to appear in three years. A good set (on Naïve) under Yoel Levi, with Julia Varady and Carl Tanner, came out in 2003; prior to that, in 1977, one was recorded in Carnegie Hall starring Renata Scotto and Carlo Bergonzi (released on Sony). Also from the '70s there is a no-holds-barred, unpolished broadcast under Carlo Felice Cillario with Veriano Luchetti that recently appeared on the Opera d'Oro label.
While Puccini denounced the work later in life, it still has many thrilling, if crude and bombastic moments. You can certainly recognize the composer in it (and indeed, recognize bits of music similar to some of his other operas), and there are many beautiful, engaging
melodies. Its hero, Edgar, has an enormous amount of music to sing and it tends toward the loud and high. How then, you must be asking, is Placido Domingo, in the autumn of his career, handling it on this recording? The answer is: splendidly.
Of course, it is not the voice of a young man, but he sings with passion and huge tone, all the way up to high-B (somewhat strained, although it would have been a tough note for him 20 years ago as well). In short, his fans will not be disappointed. Adriana Damato as Fidelia does not have the sweetness of tone or phrasing that either Varady or Scotto has (nor either of their unique gifts), although her third act is quite effective. Marianne Cornetti is a good, dark Tigrana, but the role is awkwardly written and none of the recorded singers truly impress in the part. Juan Pons' Frank is sung with his usual all-purpose involvement--is he Scarpia? Michonnet? Amonasro?--and fuzzy tone.
Alberto Veronesi leads orchestra and chorus in a performance that is just manic and overbearing enough--this is an opera that makes a lot of noise--and the engineers have done a grand job, apart from the occasional burying of the singers. If you don't own the Sony, in which Carlo Bergonzi is glorious and Scotto is superb as well, or the not-very-Italianate Varady, you will want this. But how many Edgars does a collection need?
--Robert Levine, ClassicsToday.com
Works on This Recording
Edgar by Giacomo Puccini
Placido Domingo (Tenor),
Adriana Damato (Soprano),
Marianne Cornetti (Mezzo Soprano),
Juan Pons (Baritone),
Rafal Siwek (Bass)
Santa Cecilia Academy Rome Chorus,
Santa Cecilia Academy Rome Orchestra
Written: 1889; Italy
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