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Leyla Gencer / 7 Complete Operas (14-disc Set)

Release Date: 10/16/2007 
Label:  Bravissimo Opera Library   Catalog #: 9911   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Gaetano DonizettiJules MassenetGiuseppe VerdiChristoph W. Gluck,   ... 
Performer:  Plinio ClabassiAnna Maria RotaMario CarlinLeyla Gencer,   ... 
Conductor:  Gianandrea GavazzeniCarlo Felice CillarioMario RossiVittorio Gui,   ... 
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Italian Radio Symphony Orchestra MilanItalian Radio Chorus MilanTrieste Teatro Verdi Orchestra,   ... 
Number of Discs: 14 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Seven complete operas starring the brilliant Leyla Gencer—great live opera recordings at budget price in one space-saving set! In a world dominated by singers from the countries with the most deep-rooted operatic cultures, Turkish soprano Leyla Gencer (b. 1928) seemed an exotic quantity to many Western audiences. Her career remained somewhat at the fringes, but a cadre of fans has always rooted for her devotedly, and their numbers have only grown as more people are exposed to her passionate artistry through recordings. Her voice was not large, nor her production absolutely even, but she compensated for these liabilities with many other talents: her voice was flexible in coloratura, she was able to float exquisitely soft high notes, she Read more adhered closely to the score, she could vary her vocal color, her phrasing was minutely nuanced, and above all she was an intelligent and passionate interpreter of superior dramatic insights.

R E V I E W S:

This is an odd souvenir, in pretty good sound, of a performance of Gluck's Alceste from Rome in 1967. It seems to be the same edition used in the (pirated) Callas performance from '54; it is sung in Italian as well. The whole performance is what might be called non-Gluckian (it bears little resemblance to Ostman's very Classical approach to the French version on Naxos): these are red-blooded Italianate singers who play up the personal-tragedy angle rather than the gods-are-angry-isn't-fate-something angle. In other words, these singers and conductor Vittorio Gui turn Alceste into an Italian opera. Arguably there's enough here to make the argument--a loving couple torn apart by fate, weeping choruses and handmaidens, etc.--and as we get it, it's pretty passionate stuff.

The focal point of course is the title role, and always-strange-and-interesting Leyla Gencer is those things and more here: her grief and love are palpable, her pianissimos float beautifully, and her chest voice practically disturbs with its ferocity. She makes quite a meal of her big aria and the hysteria at the close of Act 2 ( with some great, asthmatic sobbing). It also has to be said that her glottal attacks, hot-blooded theatrics, and uneven registers can be jarring. Tenor Mirto Picchi is a passionate will-he-live-or-won't-he Admetus, and the role sits in precisely the part of his voice that's best for exclamatory singing. The rest of the cast is good enough, the chorus can be a bit ragged, stage movements occasionally can be heard (as can a prompter), and the Rome Orchestra thinks it's playing Verdi. This is a bargain release, and an oddly pleasing one. Gluck may not have approved of the overt emotionalism presented here (when Gencer laments, watch out!), but seen as a performance unto itself, it's very exciting.

--Robert Levine, ClassicsToday.com
reviewing Alceste, previously released as Opera d'Oro 1356

The title role is essayed by the "queen of the pirates," mezzo-soprano Leyla Gencer with bass-baritone Louis Quilico as a robust Aleandro and little-known tenor Tito del Bianco just okay in the role of Faone. Quilico is very dynamic here, particularly in the opening scenes where he has most of the music and appears to be driving the whole production with the forcefulness of his performance. However, it is Gencer who, despite a rough start, eventually winds up owning this performance -- she obviously loves the role, and delivers up Saffo in strongly dramatic overtones that suggest a carefully considered combination of singing and acting, with an increasing reliance for the latter as the show progresses. This is one of the best of Gencer's many live opera performances.

-- Uncle Dave Lewis, AllMusic.com
reviewing Saffo, previously released as Opera d'Oro 1450 Read less

Works on This Recording

Anna Bolena by Gaetano Donizetti
Performer:  Plinio Clabassi (Bass), Anna Maria Rota (Mezzo Soprano), Mario Carlin (Tenor),
Leyla Gencer (Soprano), Silvio Maionica (Bass), Aldo Bertocci (Tenor),
Giulietta Simionato (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  Gianandrea Gavazzeni
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Italian Radio Symphony Orchestra Milan,  Italian Radio Chorus Milan
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1830; Italy 
Werther by Jules Massenet
Performer:  Eno Mocchiutti (Bass), Giuliana Tavolaccini (Soprano), Mario Borriello (Baritone),
Leyla Gencer (Soprano), Raimondo Botteghelli (Tenor), Ferruccio Tagliavini (Tenor),
Vito Susca (Bass)
Conductor:  Carlo Felice Cillario
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Trieste Teatro Verdi Orchestra,  Trieste Teatro Verdi Chorus
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1892; France 
Simon Boccanegra by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Vito Susca (Bass), Leyla Gencer (Soprano), Rolando Panerai (Baritone),
Giuseppe Zampieri (Tenor), Tito Gobbi (Baritone), Giorgio Tozzi (Bass)
Conductor:  Gianandrea Gavazzeni
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna State Opera Chorus,  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1857; Italy 
Roberto Devereux by Gaetano Donizetti
Performer:  Ruggiero Bondino (Tenor), Leyla Gencer (Soprano), Piero Cappuccilli (Baritone),
Silvano Pagliuca (Bass), Bruno Grella (Bass), Anna Maria Rota (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  Mario Rossi
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Naples Teatro San Carlo Chorus,  Naples Teatro San Carlo Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1837; Italy 
Alceste by Christoph W. Gluck
Performer:  Leyla Gencer (Soprano), Renza Jotti (Soprano), Mirto Picchi (Tenor),
Fernanda Cadoni (Mezzo Soprano), Attilio D'Orazi (Baritone), Lidia Nerozzi (Mezzo Soprano),
Giuseppe Baratti (Tenor), Maurizio Piacente (Bass)
Conductor:  Vittorio Gui
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Rome Opera House Orchestra,  Rome Opera House Chorus
Period: Classical 
Written: 1767; Vienna, Austria 
Saffo by Giovanni Pacini
Performer:  Tito Del Bianco (Tenor), Leyla Gencer (Soprano), Maurizio Piacente (Bass),
Mario Guggia (Tenor), Vittoria Maniachi (Soprano), Franca Mattiucci (Mezzo Soprano),
Louis Quilico (Baritone)
Conductor:  Gianandrea Gavazzeni,  Carlo Felice Cillario,  Franco Capuana
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Naples Teatro San Carlo Chorus,  Naples Teatro San Carlo Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1840; Italy 
Elisabetta, regina d'Inghilterra by Gioachino Rossini
Performer:  Glauco Scarlini (Tenor), Wilma Borelli (Mezzo Soprano), Umberto Grilli (Tenor),
Leyla Gencer (Soprano), Pietro Bottazzo (Tenor), Sylvia Geszty (Soprano)
Conductor:  Nino Sanzogno
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Palermo Teatro Massimo Chorus,  Palermo Teatro Massimo Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1815; Italy 

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