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Tullio Serafin conducts Italian Opera Overtures and Preludes


Release Date: 08/28/2007 
Label:  Medici Masters   Catalog #: 8   Spars Code: ADD 
Composer:  Giuseppe VerdiVincenzo BelliniGioachino RossiniGaetano Donizetti
Conductor:  Tullio Serafin
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic OrchestraPhilharmonia OrchestraMilan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 12 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Unlike his more celebrated countrymen, Victor De Sabata and Arturo Toscanini, Tullio Serafin remained a man of the theater for nearly all of his conducting career, thereby sharing the headlines with celebrated singers from Rosa Ponselle and Lawrence Tibbett to Maria Callas and Tito Gobbi. I imagine that his extreme competence tended to be taken for granted. Many people may be unaware that he had a decade-long career at the Met, leaving in 1934 to assume the directorship of the Teatro Reale in Rome. While in New York, he conducted Deems Taylor’s The King’s Henchman and Peter Ibbotson, Louis Gruenberg’s The Emperor Jones, and Howard Hanson’s Merry Mount, as well as the expected Italian standards. In Italy, he led performances of all the Read more standard Wagner operas except The Flying Dutchman.

This collection features him in the expected Italian repertoire but, for once, the spotlight focuses directly on the conductor, who leads solid, satisfying performances of these preludes and overtures. Characteristically, they are not particularly fast or revved-up for “excitement” but do have a relaxed, singing quality, for the most part. The two Traviata preludes are so beautifully laid out that I actually felt frustrated that they weren’t followed by acts I and III. What is striking about the Forza Overture is not the parts that are normally whipped-up but the way they contrast with the gentler, singing parts—once again, he’s patient in building up to the fireworks at the end. If I go on, I’ll just keep repeating myself so, I’ll cut this short. Some collectors will already have these pieces in other, perfectly acceptable performances. Serafin’s are a little different—less assertive, and seem more willing to trust Verdi. An interesting curiosity: the Royal Philharmonic’s performances were recorded in Kingsway Hall in February 1959. A week later, EMI recorded the Nabucco and Aida (the brief prelude that always begins the opera—not the slam-bang overture that he composed for the first La Scala performances) selections at Studio One, Abbey Road. Was it because one or the other venue was not available at the time? Was it because a different orchestra (the Philharmonia) was involved? These are not important points and I only mention them because I was surprised to discover that I found the acoustics at Studio One slightly fuller and clearer than those of Kingsway Hall, a hallowed recording site of the past.

– Fanfare (2008; James Miller) Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
I vespri siciliani: Overture by Giuseppe Verdi
Conductor:  Tullio Serafin
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1855; Italy 
Date of Recording: 02/19/1959 
Venue:  Kingsway Hall, London, England 
Length: 9 Minutes 12 Secs. 
2.
La traviata: Act 1 Prelude by Giuseppe Verdi
Conductor:  Tullio Serafin
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1853; Italy 
Date of Recording: 02/19/1959 
Venue:  Kingsway Hall, London, England 
Length: 4 Minutes 37 Secs. 
3.
La traviata: Act 3 Prelude by Giuseppe Verdi
Conductor:  Tullio Serafin
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1853; Italy 
Date of Recording: 02/19/1959 
Venue:  Kingsway Hall, London, England 
Length: 5 Minutes 6 Secs. 
4.
La forza del destino: Overture by Giuseppe Verdi
Conductor:  Tullio Serafin
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1862/1869; Italy 
Date of Recording: 02/19/1959 
Venue:  Kingsway Hall, London, England 
Length: 7 Minutes 55 Secs. 
5.
Nabucco: Overture by Giuseppe Verdi
Conductor:  Tullio Serafin
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1842; Italy 
Date of Recording: 02/27/1959 
Venue:  EMI Abbey Road Studios, London 
Length: 8 Minutes 17 Secs. 
6.
Aida: Act 1 Prelude by Giuseppe Verdi
Conductor:  Tullio Serafin
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1871; Italy 
Date of Recording: 02/27/1959 
Venue:  EMI Abbey Road Studios, London 
Length: 4 Minutes 10 Secs. 
7.
Norma: Overture by Vincenzo Bellini
Conductor:  Tullio Serafin
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1931; Italy 
Date of Recording: 04/16/1961 
Venue:  EMI Abbey Road Studios, London 
Length: 5 Minutes 33 Secs. 
8.
Norma: Act 2 Introduction by Vincenzo Bellini
Conductor:  Tullio Serafin
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1831; Italy 
Venue:  Teatro Alla Scala, Milan, Italy 
Length: 3 Minutes 49 Secs. 
Notes: Teatro Alla Scala, Milan, Italy (09/05/1960 - 09/12/1960) 
9.
La Cenerentola: Overture by Gioachino Rossini
Conductor:  Tullio Serafin
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
Written: 1817 
Date of Recording: 04/16/1961 
Venue:  EMI Abbey Road Studios, London 
Length: 8 Minutes 27 Secs. 
10.
Linda di Chamounix: Overture by Gaetano Donizetti
Conductor:  Tullio Serafin
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1842; Italy 
Date of Recording: 04/16/1961 
Venue:  EMI Abbey Road Studios, London 
Length: 7 Minutes 9 Secs. 
11.
Don Pasquale: Overture by Gaetano Donizetti
Conductor:  Tullio Serafin
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1843; Italy 
Date of Recording: 04/16/1961 
Venue:  EMI Abbey Road Studios, London 
Length: 6 Minutes 44 Secs. 

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