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Rossini: Il Barbiere Di Siviglia / Galliera, Callas, Et Al


Release Date: 11/06/2007 
Label:  Emi Great Recordings Of The Century Catalog #: 92041   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Gioachino Rossini
Performer:  Maria CallasLuigi AlvaNicola ZaccariaMario Carlin,   ... 
Conductor:  Alceo Galliera
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia OrchestraPhilharmonia Chorus
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

" Callas’s EMI studio recording of Barbiere from February 1957 is rightly viewed as a much-needed corrective to the disastrous Scala staging of a year earlier. At the same time, it’s important to realize—especially since Callas’s Rosina on that occasion (her first time singing the role) tends to be much criticized in the writings about her—that problems inherent to the occasion affected everyone involved, as was already made clear decades ago in the recollections from Carlo Maria Giulini, Luigi Alva, and Nicola Rossi-Lemeni preserved in John Ardoin and Gerald Fitzgerald’s Callas (Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1974). Giulini, who says he was ill and went ahead only as a favor to Victor de Sabata, claims to have “conducted every Read more performance with [his] head down so [he] wouldn’t see what was happening onstage,” and describes it as “the worst memory of [his] life in the theater. . . . It was an artistic mistake, utterly routine, thrown together, with nothing given deep study or preparation.” In fact, he never conducted at La Scala again. According to Alva, all on stage “were left (in the absence of a proper director) to our own devices. For veterans like Gobbi and Rossi-Lemeni, this was nothing. Luckily I had once done the opera in Trieste, so I had something to base my acting on.” And though one reads often of the audience uproar after the Count’s line—“Bella voce! Bravissima!”—that follows Callas’s singing of the lesson scene in act II, one reads hardly anything about the extended applause and bravos following Rossi-Lemeni’s exaggeratedly distended “La calunnia” in act I—a response he himself unhesitatingly called “a polemic, a protest against Maria’s Rosina.” It’s also interesting that, despite the complaints as to Callas’s singing Rosina in mezzo keys with soprano variants, that “issue” becomes more a straightforward observation than reason for grousing when it’s the excellent EMI studio set—recorded under the guiding hands of conductor Alceo Galliera and producer Walter Legge—that’s being discussed.

Despite its age, and despite cuts that were standard for its time, the EMI set (which has fewer cuts than the Scala staging) continues to hold its place as one of Barbiere’s best recordings. As to the other participants, I need note only that it was recorded not with La Scala forces, but with the Philharmonia Orchestra and Chorus (the orchestra is quite wonderful) , and that, were it not for his name (Fritz Ollendorff), you probably would never guess that you’re hearing a non-Italian singer as Bartolo. Rossi-Lemeni’s scenery-chewing Bartolo in the Scala staging would particularly have benefited from some reining-in by a good director. You’ll find, in the Callas literature, references to the possibility that Zeffirelli was being considered and that Visconti may have had a hand in keeping him out; but there’s no mention of this whatsoever in Zeffirelli’s autobiography. So, all things considered, the Scala performance will be of interest really only to Callas enthusiasts, who should probably hear it not just for its documentary value, but also for the live interaction between Callas and Gobbi onstage, as well as for the young Luigi Alva’s impressive presence as Almaviva, a role he would go on to record commercially several times (the EMI set with Callas being the first of these).

Some words about the sound of the Barbiere releases under consideration here: EMI’s new “Great Recordings of the Century” remastering is a terrific improvement over the company’s 1997 Callas Edition version of the studio Barbiere—brighter, more brilliant, really more consistently alive than the earlier one, particularly with regard to the presence and clarity of the orchestra. (The stretta that closes act I continued to astonish me even after repeated hearings.)."

FANFARE: Marc Mandel
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Works on This Recording

1.
Il barbiere di Siviglia by Gioachino Rossini
Performer:  Maria Callas (Soprano), Luigi Alva (Tenor), Nicola Zaccaria (Bass),
Mario Carlin (Tenor), Fritz Ollendorff (Bass), Tito Gobbi (Baritone),
Gabriella Carturan (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  Alceo Galliera
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Philharmonia Chorus
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1816; Italy 
Language: Italian 

Sound Samples

Il Barbiere di Siviglia: Sinfonia (Orchestra)
Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Act I, Scene One: Piano, pianissimo, senza parlar (Fiorello/Coro/Conte)
Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Act I, Scene One: Ecco ridente in cielo (Conte)
Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Act I, Scene One: Ehi, Fiorelli?...Mio signore (Conte/Fiorello/Coro)
Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Act I, Scene One: Mille grazie, mio signore (Conte/Fiorello/Coro)
Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Act I, Scene One: Recitativo:Gente indiscreta! (Conte/Fiorello/Figaro)
Il Barbiere di Siviglia (2007 Digital Remaster), Act One, Scene One: La ran la le ra...Largo al factotum (Figaro)
Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Act I, Scene One: Recitativo: Ah, che bella vita! (Figaro/Conte)
Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Act I, Scene One: Se il mio nome saper voi bramate (Conte/Rosina/Figaro)
Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Act I, Scene One: Recitativo: Oh cielo!...Nella stanza convien (Conte/Figaro)
Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Act I, Scene One: All'idea di quel metallo (Conte/Figaro)
Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Act I, Scene One: Piano, piano...un 'altra idea! (Conte/Figaro)
Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Act I, Scene One: Oh, il meglio mi scordavo (Conte/Figaro)
Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Act I, Scene One: Ah, che d'amore la fiamma io sento (Conte/Figaro)
Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Act I, Scene Two: Una voce poco fa (Rosina)
Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Act I, Scene Two: Recitativo: Sì, sì, la vincerò (Rosina/Figaro)
Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Act I, Scene Two: Recitativo: Ah, disgraziato Figaro! (Bartolo/Rosina/Berta/Ambrogio)
Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Act I, Scene Two: Recitativo: Ah! Barbiere d'inferno (Bartolo/Basilio)
Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Act I, Scene Two: La calunnia è un venticello (Basilio)
Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Act I, Scene Two: Recitativo: Ah! Che ne dite? (Basilio/Bartolo)
Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Act I, Scene Two: Recitativo: Ma bravi! Ma benone! (Figaro/Rosina)
Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Act I, Scene Two: Dunque io son (Figaro/Rosina)
Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Act I, Scene Two: Fortunati affetti miei (Figaro/Rosina)
Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Act I, Scene Two: Recitativo: Ora mi sento meglio (Rosina/Bartolo)
Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Act I, Scene Two: A un dottor della mia sorte (Bartolo)
Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Act I, Scene Two: Finora in questa camera (Berta/Conte)
Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Act I, Scene Two: Ehi, di casa, buona gente (Conte/Bartolo)
Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Act I, Scene Two: Ah, venisse, il caro oggetto (Conte/Bartolo/Rosina)
Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Act I, Scene Two: Dunque, lei vuol battaglia? (Conte/Bartolo/Rosina/Berta/Basilio/Figaro)
Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Act I, Scene Two: Che cosa accadde (Figaro/Bartolo/Conte/Rosina/Berta/Basilio/Coro)
Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Act I, Scene Two: Fermi tutti. Nessun si mova (Coro/Bartolo/Figaro/Basilio/Conte/Berta/Rosina/Ufficiale)
Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Act I, Scene Two: Fredda ed immobile (Rosina/Conte/Bartolo/Figaro/Basilio/Berta)
Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Act I, Scene Two: Ma signor...ma un dottor (Bartolo/Coro/Berta/Basilio/Rosina/Conte/Figaro)
Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Act II: Recitativo: Ma vedi il mio destino! (Bartolo)
Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Act II: Pace e gioia sia con voi (Conte/Bartolo)
Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Act II: Recitativo: Insomma, mio signore (Bartolo/Conte)
Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Act II: Recitativo: Venite, signorina (Bartolo/Rosina/Conte)
Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Act II: Contro un chor che accende amore (Rosina/Conte)
Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Act II: Recitativo: Bella voce! Bravissima! (Conte/Rosina/Bartolo)
Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Act II: Quando mi sei vicina (Bartolo)
Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Act II: Recitativo: Bravo, signor barbiere (Bartolo/Figaro/Rosina/Conte)
Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Act II: Don Basilio!...Cosa veggo! (Rosina/Conte/Figaro/Bartolo/Basilio)
Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Act II: Buona sera, mio signore (Rosina/Conte/Figaro/Bartolo/Basilio)
Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Act II: Orsù, Signor Don Bartolo (Figaro/Bartolo/Conte/Rosina)
Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Act II: Che vecchio sospettoso! (Berta)
Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Act II: Il vecchiotto cerca moglie (Berta)
Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Act II: Temporale/Thunderstorm/Gewittermusik/Orage (Orchestra)
Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Act II: Recitativo: Alfine eccoci qua (Figaro/Conte/Rosina)
Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Act II: Ah, qual colpo inaspettato! (Figaro/Conte/Rosina)
Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Act II: Zitti, zitti, piano, piano (Figaro/Conte/Rosina)
Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Act II: Recitativo: Ah, disgraziati noi! (Figaro/Conte/Rosina/Basilio/Bartolo/Ufficiale)
Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Act II: Recitativo: Insomma io ho tutti i torti (Bartolo/Figaro/Basilio/Conte/Rosina)
Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Act II: Di sì felice innesto (Figaro/Berta/Bartolo/Basilio/Coro/Rosina/Conte)

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