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Massenet: Werther / Pretre, Kraus, Obraztsova, Rinaldi, Zaccaria, Milan Teatro Alla Scala Orchestra, Et Al


Release Date: 08/12/2008 
Label:  Opera D'oro   Catalog #: 1482   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Jules Massenet
Performer:  Alfredo KrausElena ObraztsovaNicola ZaccariaAlberto Rinaldi
Conductor:  Georges Prêtre
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala ChorusMilan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews



MASSENET Werther Georges Prêtre, cond; Alfredo Kraus ( Werther ); Elena Obraztsova ( Charlotte ); Daniela Mazzuccato ( Sophie ); Alberto Rinaldi ( Albert ); La Scala O & Ch OPERA D’ORO 1482, mono (2 CDs: 131:50) Live: Milan 2/12/1976


I imagine that the obvious Read more customers for this release are fans of Alfredo Kraus and Elena Obraztsova. There may also be those who are really curious about what the orchestra is doing—for them, this release should be delightful, for the perspective places the orchestra front and center, relegating the singers to the rear. They are only rarely drowned out, and it is obvious that some very good singing is going on off in the distance. It’s a triumph that Kraus, Obraztsova, and the rest of the cast (Nicola Zaccaria is a vivid Bailiff) make the impression that they do. Obviously, the recording was made somewhere in the auditorium with an audience consisting, in equal parts, of clappers and shushers, with the former eventually triumphing as things heat up. Georges Prêtre, making a slight cut in act II, conducts in what sounds like, but probably wasn’t, an improvisatory way—the playing is strong and impassioned. The audience seems to have gotten its money’s worth, presumably hearing the singers more clearly than you will.


A good recording of Werther but, really, who needs it? It’s gobbled up alive by the competition. Obraztsova fans? She made a good studio recording with Domingo, Augér, and Grundhaber with Chailly conducting. Kraus admirers? He made a good studio recording with Troyanos, Barbaux, and Managuerra with Plasson conducting. As for Prêtre, he, too, made a good studio recording with Gedda, de los Angeles, Mesplé, and Benoit, as well as yet another La Scala pirate with Kraus, Valentini-Terrani, and Panerei, which I haven’t heard. If none of the above interests you, we are still not out of good ones: a particular favorite of mine is a stereo RTF production conducted by Jésus Etcheverry with Albert Lance, Rita Gorr, Mady Mesplé, and Gabriel Bacquier; and there is always the 1931 78 reissue led by Elie Cohen with the celebrated Georges Thill, a more-heroic-than-usual Werther, and French stalwarts Ninon Vallin and Germaine Feraldy. Cohen makes three cuts, one in each act, but they are harmless ones. It really is a classic recording whose only weakness is the playing of the orchestra, which is a shade less precise and sonorous than what we are accustomed to nowadays.


FANFARE: James Miller
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Works on This Recording

1.
Werther by Jules Massenet
Performer:  Alfredo Kraus (Tenor), Elena Obraztsova (Mezzo Soprano), Nicola Zaccaria (Bass),
Alberto Rinaldi (Baritone)
Conductor:  Georges Prêtre
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala Chorus,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1892; France 

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