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Puccini: Turandot / Previtali, Udovich, Sole, Clabassi, Corelli, Mattioli, Et Al

Release Date: 01/27/2009 
Label:  Myto Records   Catalog #: 171   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Giacomo PucciniGeorges Bizet
Performer:  Renata MattioliTeodoro RovettaRenato ErcolaniFranco Corelli,   ... 
Conductor:  Fernando Previtali
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Italian Radio Chorus MilanItalian Radio Symphony Orchestra Milan
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Mono 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

PUCCINI Turandot & Fernando Previtalli, cond; Lucille Udovich ( Turandot ); Franco Corelli ( Calaf, Don José 1 ); Renata Mattioli ( Liù ); Plinio Clabassi ( Timur ); Nino Sanzogno, cond; 1 Belén Amparan ( Read more class="ARIAL12i">Carmen ); 1 Anselmo Colzani ( Escamillo ); 1 RAI O & Ch, Milan MYTO 171, mono (2 CDs: 155:11) Broadcast: Milan 12/13/1958; 6/13/1956 1

BIZET Carmen: Excerpts 1

This performance of Turandot is (or was) available on video/DVD; in fact, I think the soundtrack is lip-synched from this recording. Myto had already issued this performance coupled with another set of excerpts from Carmen with Corelli and some different singers. The ways of recording companies are mysterious. Perhaps that one is out of print. If it is, it’s a pleasure to welcome this high-quality Turandot back to the catalog. Previtalli paces the work flexibly and dramatically and we hear it in good 1958 broadcast sound. I know little about Udovich except that, what little I do know suggests that she was certainly a dramatic soprano with ample power and range for such roles as Norma, Gioconda, and Turandot. She can compete with any of those who made studio recordings. Her upper range is bright without turning strident and she projects the character’s cold hostility. The only even semi-bad moment comes at the outset of the riddle scene where, accompanied only by drum thwacks, she briefly wanders just a shade off pitch, but recovers as soon as the winds come in. I prefer Corelli’s studio Calaf on EMI, but this one will do quite nicely. He was never a fastidious stylist, of course, but the role of Calaf just seems to fit him and he restrains his tendency to scoop and slobber over the slower music—and there are those nice, virile high notes. The Liù, Renata Mattioli, offers a pleasant, straightforward piece of singing and Plinio Clabassi is a better Timur than one usually gets. The Ping-Pang-Pong trio (Mario Borriello, Mario Carlin, Renato Ercolani) is as good as any I’ve heard—what a pity that Previtalli observes Puccini’s optional cuts in their big act II scene (and Udovich and Corelli are so good that I wish he hadn’t cut the final duet, either). I think that this performance, mono sound aside, offers genuine competition to the best of the studio recordings, which, for me, are those conducted by Serafin (also mono, with Callas, Fernandi, Schwarzkopf)), Leinsdorf (Nilsson, Björling, Tebaldi), Mehta (Sutherland, Pavarotti, Caballé), and Molinari-Pradelli (Nilsson, Corelli, Scotto).

Corelli has the distinction of being the first tenor to record Don José in both the Guiraud and Oeser editions. The first, a fancily packaged, superbly recorded RCA set, is heavily conducted by Herbert von Karajan and adds up to less than the sum of its parts; the second, a Eurodisc recording led by Lorin Maazel, is the first and most eccentric of the Oeser versions. In neither of them is Corelli much of an asset, but I prefer him in approximate French to the way he chews up the role in his native language on this 1956 collection of excerpts. Here he is, living up to all the bad things critics used to bash him for: scooping, whining, holding his good notes forever—the whole shtick, and Nino Sanzogno is his compliant collaborator. The best singing or, at least, what we hear of it, comes from Amparan and Colzani. All we get of Colzani is his entire act III performance, starting right after Micaëla’s aria and continuing to the end of the act. Amparan is heard in the dancing scene of act II, act III (but no Card Song), and the final duet. The Micaëla is nothing special and I’m sure this is one performance where her act III aria didn’t steal the show. Although Myto identifies the El Dancairo and Remendado, who are heard singing one line apiece, and the Frasquita and Mercedes, who are not heard at all unless they’re singing along with the chorus, it does not identify the Micaëla, despite the fact that we hear her in the entire duet with Don José and a considerable amount of her role in act III. Not that it really matters.

FANFARE: James Miller
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Works on This Recording

Turandot by Giacomo Puccini
Performer:  Renata Mattioli (Mezzo Soprano), Teodoro Rovetta (Baritone), Renato Ercolani (Tenor),
Franco Corelli (Tenor), Plinio Clabassi (Bass), Lucilla Udovich (Soprano),
Mario Carlin (Tenor), Nino Del Sole (Tenor), Mario Borriello (Baritone)
Conductor:  Fernando Previtali
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Italian Radio Chorus Milan,  Italian Radio Symphony Orchestra Milan
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1926; Italy 
Carmen: Excerpt(s) by Georges Bizet
Performer:  Franco Corelli (Tenor)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1873-1874; France 

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