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Grand Tier - Catalani: Loreley / Gavazzeni, Cappuccilli

Release Date: 11/14/2006 
Label:  Opera D'oro   Catalog #: 7032   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Alfredo Catalani
Performer:  Piero CappuccilliGianfranco CeccheleAgostino FerrinRita Talarico,   ... 
Conductor:  Gianandrea Gavazzeni
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala OrchestraMilan Teatro alla Scala Chorus
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 2 Hours 3 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

CATALANI Loreley Gianandrea Gavazzeni, cond; Elena Suliotis ( Loreley ); Piero Cappuccilli ( Herrmann ); Gianfranco Cecchele (Walter ); Agostino Ferrin ( Margrave Rudolfo ); Rita Talarico ( Anna of Rehberg ); La Scala O & Ch OPERA D’ORO 7032 (2 CDs Read more 123:19 & ) Live: Milan 2/13/1968

The pluses considerably outweigh the minuses regarding this recording. The only minus of any consequence is the quality of the sound. It is very crude stereo, and the microphone placement is less than ideal. The orchestra is captured with a fair degree of clarity, but the voices are somewhat remote and when off-mike become muted. The sound is by no means terrible, but listening to this album takes some getting used to.

I hope I haven’t dissuaded you from investigating this album. One of the inexplicable mysteries of music is the popularity of some operas and the neglect of others. Loreley is a very decent opera. The libretto is well constructed, the story is interesting, and the music is lovely. Of course we have to accept Victorian conventions and Romantic-era ideas of love and honor, betrayal and remorse; the poetry is frequently eyeball-rolling saccharine; but the music is interesting and helps to tame the corny lyrics.

Catalani passed away at a young age from tuberculosis. Consequently, he left a small body of work, and sadly he died recognizing that his talents were not fully appreciated. La Wally was fairly successful and has endured on the fringes of the operatic repertoire, but Loreley , a work of comparable merit, is remembered primarily from a few arias included in singer’s recitals. La Wally was given a decent studio recording by Decca with a star-studded cast that included Renata Tebaldi and Mario Del Monaco. I’m not aware of a comparable effort made on Loreley ’s behalf, although there are currently three CD albums available of the work, all made during performance. This particular recording is available from Opera d’Oro in two options: a Spartan release that does not include a libretto, and this higher priced edition as part of their Grand Tier series. It comes with a libretto, interesting liner notes, a cardboard slipcase that features Rafal Olbinski’s distinctive artwork, and “Opera d’Oro’s best remastered sound!” I don’t know if the sound is significantly different from the cheaper release, but the libretto is worth having.

Another plus: the cast features Elena Suliotis. Opportunities to hear this dynamic soprano are limited; she sang too much too soon, and by the time she was 30 her voice was in tatters. But when she was in her prime she was considered the next Callas, which may have been her downfall. Because of a similarity in their voices and their bigger-than-life stage presence, too much was expected of Suliotis and she was pushed into roles that would have been better left for later. Her most notable achievement in the recording studio was singing Abigail in Decca’s Nabucco with Tito Gobbi. But in this Loreley we get to hear Suliotis in her prime and in performance; her voice is intact and she chews up the scenery! The rest of the cast is good, too, and Gavazzeni brings out the best in this score. If only someone had had the sense to bring this ensemble into the studio and preserve this production in better sound. We could have lived with one less Traviata and benefited from at least one Loreley . Stage noises are present but not intrusive, and the audience is quiet except for applause at appropriate moments.

This same recording also seems to be available on the Living Stage label at about 10 dollars more than Opera d’Oro’s Grand Tier price. A performance of Loreley from the Lucca Teatro del Giglio is available on the Bongiovanni label. The Bongiovanni sound is superior, the cast is okay, but the orchestra is inferior to the La Scala musicians. Bongiovanni’s Loreley is the most expensive of all. A very budget recording conducted by Alfredo Simonetto with the Italian Radio O & Ch and soloists who are unfamiliar to me is on the Gala label. My recommendation: the Opera d’Oro Grand Tier edition. If you like La Wally , odds are good you’ll also like Loreley.

FANFARE: David L. Kirk
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Works on This Recording

Loreley by Alfredo Catalani
Performer:  Piero Cappuccilli (Baritone), Gianfranco Cecchele (Tenor), Agostino Ferrin (Bass),
Rita Talarico (Soprano), Elena Suliotis (Soprano)
Conductor:  Gianandrea Gavazzeni
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Chorus
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1890; Rome, Italy 
Date of Recording: 02/13/1968 
Venue:  Live  Milan, Italy 
Length: 123 Minutes 1 Secs. 
Language: Italian 

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