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Bellini: I Puritani / Sills, Gedda, Plishka, Rudel

Release Date: 10/09/2001 
Label:  Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog #: 471207   Spars Code: ADD 
Composer:  Vincenzo Bellini
Performer:  Nicolai GeddaRichard Van AllanPaul PlishkaRiccardo Cassinelli,   ... 
Conductor:  Julius Rudel
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic OrchestraAmbrosian Opera Chorus
Number of Discs: 3 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 2 Hours 55 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

I Puritani has been restored to currency since Maria Callas brought it back to life more than half a century ago. Since then, two other sopranos have been major exponents of the role: Joan Sutherland and Beverly Sills, and it is the latter's studio recording that is at last available as a DGG Westminster reissue (after a brief apparition on the short-lived Millennium label). Sills has always been greatly admired on the western shores of the Atlantic, but it is interesting to see how European critics are now coming round and accepting that she also had a vital contribution to make in the repertoire in which they have always granted top ranking to Callas and Sutherland.

Sills has the advantage of Julius Rudel as conductor,
Read more always alert and sufficiently aware stylistically so that the music never bogs down. Nicolai Gedda may not have the most Italianate sound, but his musicianship never lets him (or us) down. It is good to be reminded by Louis Quilico what a "Verdi baritone" is supposed to sound like, though he is somewhat heavy-handed for Bellini. Paul Plishka's contribution as Giorgio is equally sonorous. Of the comprimarios, the less said the better, but that is true on almost every recording.

In terms of competition, this version is extremely attractive with its virtual completeness. Maria Callas/Giuseppe di Stefano/Tullio Serafin are revelatory only for the soprano, as the text suffers from heavy cutting and the remainder of the cast is too anchored in verismo tradition. Of Sutherland's two versions, neither is listed in the recent Schwann at my disposal. The early one is easily surpassed by the later effort, with Luciano Pavarotti, Piero Cappucilli, and Nicolai Ghiaurov: also the only recording offering the third act duet for soprano and tenor in its entirety. If you want an excellent version, one that is on occasion outclassed by the competition even though those versions also have their shortcomings, you can't go wrong with Sills and Rudel.

-- Joel Kasow, FANFARE [3/2002] Read less

Works on This Recording

I puritani by Vincenzo Bellini
Performer:  Nicolai Gedda (Tenor), Richard Van Allan (Bass), Paul Plishka (Bass),
Riccardo Cassinelli (Tenor), Louis Quilico (Baritone), Heather Begg (Mezzo Soprano),
Beverly Sills (Soprano)
Conductor:  Julius Rudel
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  Ambrosian Opera Chorus
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1835; Italy 
Date of Recording: 08/1973 
Venue:  EMI Abbey Road Studios, London 
Length: 175 Minutes 1 Secs. 
Language: Italian 

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