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Notes and Editorial Reviews
Fiorilla was one of two comic roles in Maria Callas' repertoire, the other being Rossini's Rosina. Il Turco is a strange work, witty and wry rather than zany, and very literary. Most of the score's highlights are ensembles, and you might imagine that Callas could overpower her co-stars in such a situation. But the opposite is true despite her unique timbre that always shines through. She's in great voice in this 1954 recording, absolutely secure throughout her range, and her impeccable rhythmic sense makes her work in the tricky, sometimes off-the-beat ensembles ideal. She turns out to be a team player par excellence. The role is of a headstrong, sassy woman who loves the attention men give her, and she loves playing one off against the
other. Callas uses a girlish tone when being seductive but puts some iron into it when she has to make a point. Bass Nicola Rossi-Lemeni plays the Turk Callas plays games with, and he's as expressive and fluid as she is. The rest of the cast is equally good. There have been better (and more complete) recordings since, but Callas is in a class by herself, and this is utterly charming.
--Robert Levine, ClassicsToday.com
Works on This Recording
Il turco in Italia by Gioachino Rossini
Maria Callas (Soprano),
Nicola Rossi-Lemeni (Bass),
Nicolai Gedda (Tenor),
Mariano Stabile (Baritone),
Jolanda Gardino (Soprano),
Franco Calabrese (Bass),
Piero de Palma (Tenor)
Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra,
Milan Teatro alla Scala Chorus
Written: 1814; Italy
Date of Recording: 1954
Venue: La Scala Theater, Milan, Italy
Length: 112 Minutes 48 Secs.
Average Customer Review: ( 1 Customer Review )
Classic, Historic Recording September 7, 2013
By Henry S. (Springfield, VA) See All My Reviews
"According to the CD notes, this Rossini opera has not been consistently performed over the years, and in fact underwent a rebirth (or resurrection) in the early 1950's shortly before this 1954 recording was made. Featuring the legendary Maria Callas and a cast of superb singers from the 1950's, the performance sizzles with exuberant arias, duets, trios, recitatives, choruses, etc., as to be expected from the pen of Rossini. The CD notes provide a valuable track by track story synopsis, which is a big help in digesting Rossini's madcap tale, since there is no Italian (or English)libretto included. Therefore, anyone willing to follow the synopsis while listening to the CD will surely have a solid, aesthetically rewarding listening adventure, as this is truly vintage Italian opera of a very high order. Concerning the sonic quality of this 60 year old recording, do not be overly concerned about this. The recording is mono and uses 1950's recording technology, but EMI's remastering has effectively recovered much of the original lustre of the performance. 'Listenability' is thus no real issue here. The only real disappointment I experienced was discovering that several major cuts were made to Rossini's score in this recording (Act 2 is only 35 minutes long, for example). The CD notes explain this situation as best they can and fill in the deleted sections in the synopsis. Despite this shortcoming, this recording is a magical historical statement, and I can and do recommend it."