Notes and Editorial Reviews
Argeo Quadri, cond; Leyla Gencer (
); Carmen Burello (
); Gianni Raimondi (
Il Duca, Arturo
); Cornell MacNeil (
); Jorge Algorta (
); Manuel Ausensi
Teatro Colón O & Ch
MYTO 4, mono (2 CDs: 147:41) Live: Buenos Aires 6/24/1961; 6/30/1961
The audience for this 1961 performance of
in Buenos Aires must have felt they got its money’s worth. The performance is a strong one, with the principals in good voice. Because Cornell MacNeil recorded the title role twice in the studio, the attraction of these discs will center especially on Leyla Gencer and Gianni Raimondi, whose recorded legacies are mostly (in the case of Gencer, entirely) from live recordings.
Gencer’s Gilda is not the young girl portrayed in the libretto, but a mature woman. Although her voice is occasionally weak at times, perhaps because of microphone placement, she gives a strongly sung, moving portrayal. Raimondi is splendid as the Duke, with a beautiful, ringing voice and brilliant top notes. MacNeil sings a well-characterized Rigoletto, whose love and concern for his daughter shine through his performance. Among the supporting singers, Carmen Burello’s Maddalena and especially Jorge Algorta’s Sparafucile are worthy of praise.
Argeo Quadri provides good support and keeps the performance moving while allowing the singers to indulge the occasional held high note. The usual theatrical cuts of the time are taken, which are not terribly disfiguring except for the severe wrench caused by cutting “Possente amor.” We are not told the source of the recording, but the sound is quite good, and there is almost no distracting stage noise.
As a bonus we get act III of
, minus the orchestral introduction and with cuts. Gencer and Raimondi are in wonderful voice (even a ringing high D from Raimondi). The entire performance is available on a Living Stage CD set. June 1961 would have been a good month to attend the opera in Buenos Aires.
The packaging is bare bones, just a track listing and a picture of MacNeil as Rigoletto. Obviously, this should not be a primary recording of
. For that, my preference is the Decca recording with Sutherland, Pavarotti, and Milnes. Those looking for a recording with MacNeil would probably prefer one of his studio recordings. This recording is especially valuable for those who want to hear Gencer or Raimondi in these roles, but can also be recommended for those interested in a very strong, well-sung, live performance.
FANFARE: Ron Salemi
Works on This Recording
Rigoletto by Giuseppe Verdi
Gianni Raimondi (Tenor),
Cornell MacNeil (Baritone),
Leyla Gencer (Soprano),
Jorge Algorta (Bass)
Buenos Aires Teatro Colón Orchestra,
Buenos Aires Teatro Colón Chorus
Written: 1851; Italy
Date of Recording: 06/30/1961
Venue: Live - Teatro Colon, Buenos Aires
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