Notes and Editorial Reviews
Gianandrea Gavazzeni, cond; Carlo Bergonzi (
); Renata Scotto (
); Carlo Cava (
); Giuseppe Taddei (
); Renza Jotti (
OPERA D’ORO 7044 (2 CDs: 147:00
class="ARIAL12">Text and Translation) Live: Florence 1967
This is one of the most remarkable Donizetti productions of the 20th century. The previously released DVD of the same performance (taken live from a 1967 production) has already received acclaimed recognition for its professionalism, great singing, and utmost perfectionism. One wonders why Opera d’oro didn’t plan this release earlier.
Gaetano Donizetti was a very hard-working man, who didn’t simply write light-hearted entertaining operettas. He desired to belong among the greatest of his time, and if he could just have lived longer (he hardly reached the age of 51), he certainly would have.
This performance reflects all characteristics that a reference recording needs; the quality of the singing is superb: no cast has ever fit so well together as this one—all of these singers were in the prime of their career at the time. Carlo Bergonzi was praised for his reliable singing, his refined phrasing, and his remarkable musicality. His performance of Nemorino is one of the finest ever. Renata Scotto’s Adina is warm and round, except for some unstable notes in the high register. Together, they form the enchanting center of the opera, around which the rest of the cast constructs their story—an impressive and ever-reliable Giuseppe Taddei in the role of the soldier Belcore. Carlo Cava and Renza Jotti both sound extremely pleasing in the roles of Dulcamara and Giannetta.
The Orchestra of Maggio Musicale Fiorentino is led by a serious and inspired Gianandrea Gavazzeni—a conductor who understands his job very well. Together with a motivated, but clearly over-enthusiastic orchestra (at times the winds sound awfully out of tune), he leads them through all difficulties in the score.
Although the recording was taken from a live performance back in 1967, we still get a relatively clear and focused sound; all details are well preserved throughout the years. Unfortunately, this means that every false note in the winds hurts the ear, partly because of the unscrupulously dry acoustic.
Although we certainly have a great reference recording here, you may like the DVD production from the Vienna State Opera back in 2005. It was released on Virgin and sung by the versatile Rolando Villazòn, joined by the no less impressive Anna Netrebko. It’s a top-notch performance on all levels: great singing, inspired playing, and good sound. For those who look for the classics, try to find the Met production from 1992 with Pavarotti, Battle, and Levine on DG—an equally memorable performance.
FANFARE: Bart Verhaeghe Read less
Works on This Recording
L'Elisir d'Amore by Gaetano Donizetti
Renata Scotto (Soprano),
Carlo Bergonzi (Tenor),
Giuseppe Taddei (Baritone),
Carlo Cava (Bass)
Florence Teatro Comunale Orchestra,
Florence Teatro Comunale Chorus
Written: 1832; Italy
Date of Recording: 06/1967
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