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Verdi: Ernani / Muti, Domingo, Bruson, Ghiaurov

Release Date: 06/19/2007 
Label:  Emi Classics   Catalog #: 81884   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Placido DomingoMirella FreniRenato BrusonJolanda Michieli,   ... 
Conductor:  Riccardo Muti
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala OrchestraMilan Teatro alla Scala Chorus
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 2 Hours 9 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

VERDI Ernani Riccardo Muti, cond; Mirella Freni ( Elvira ); Plácido Domingo ( Ernani ); Gianfranco Manganotti ( Don Riccardo ); Renato Bruson ( Don Carlo ); Nicolai Ghiaurov ( de Silva ); Alfredo Giacomotti ( Jago ); Jolanda Michieli ( Read more class="ARIAL12i">Giovanna ); La Scala, Milan O & Ch EMI 81884 (2 CDs: 118:31 Text and Translation) Live: Milan 12/1982

To my ears there are two main contenders for a midprice stereo recording of Ernani . This present set is one and the other features Joan Sutherland in partnership with Luciano Pavarotti and conducted by Richard Bonynge on Decca. Let me say at the outset that the honors are fairly evenly distributed between both sets and there is no obvious front runner. Personal preferences for individual singers or conductors could very much shape your choice between them.

Recorded live at La Scala, Milan, Riccardo Muti’s account can be urgent and full bodied, if a little opaque on instrumental detail as regards the orchestral sound in the recording. Rarely is your attention overly diverted from the high standard of playing by stage noise, although some is noticeable. Bonynge’s Welsh National Opera forces, though, are just as committed, being heard best in the work’s big moments like the finale of act II. Bonynge secures a greater variety of tonal color from his orchestra and his chorus is the more musical in their singing.

Mirella Freni’s Elvira is a convincing and dramatically involving reading of the role. If it is not quite as creamy and beautiful as Sutherland’s studio recorded alternative, this can largely be put down to having to push the voice throughout a live performance in a large venue. The top of Sutherland’s voice loses ideal focus at times, and in group exchanges she is often not favored by the recording balance. Fewer such issues affect EMI’s recording.

The various merits of Pavarotti and Domingo come to the fore once again in deciding between sets. Both have much to reward listening. On balance, Pavarotti gives a reading with greater subtlety and variety of tone, but Domingo is not far behind on those scores. Another rivalry between Leo Nucci for Bonynge and Renato Bruson in the role of Don Carlo sees the honors fall in Bruson’s favor, as Nucci tends to forte or nasal vocal production that wears on repeated listening. Ghiaurov’s De Silva is more idiomatic than that of Paata Burchuladze. The smaller roles are all more than adequately sung.

FANFARE: Evan Dickerson
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Works on This Recording

Ernani by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Placido Domingo (Tenor), Mirella Freni (Soprano), Renato Bruson (Baritone),
Jolanda Michieli (Soprano), Nicolai Ghiaurov (Bass), Gianfranco Manganotti (Tenor),
Alfredo Giacomotti (Bass)
Conductor:  Riccardo Muti
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Chorus
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1844; Italy 
Date of Recording: 12/07/1982 
Venue:  Live  Teatro Alla Scala, Milan, Italy 
Length: 128 Minutes 31 Secs. 
Language: Italian 

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