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Notes and Editorial Reviews
Recording contains liner notes by Robert Levine, a complete libretto in Italian and English and a listing and timing of the arias.
Carlo Felice Cillario, cond; Montserrat Caballé (
); Shirley Verrett (
); Ottavio Garaventa (
Raffaele Ariè (
); Giulio Fioravanti (
); Nella Verri (
); La Scala O & Ch
OPERA D’ORO GRAND TIER OPD7079 (2 CDs: 126:01
Text and Translation) Live: Milan 1971
28:3 I reviewed two other recordings of
with Montserrat Caballé in the title role. Legato Classics also issued another recording with her and José Carreras, conducted by Nello Santi. This recording was previously issued on the Myto label. As I have previously stated, this opera had an interesting history. It was banished by the King of Naples, and Donizetti revised the work, calling it
it premiered in 1834 and was not a success. The original version premiered at La Scala in 1835 starring an ill Maria Malibran. Harold Rosenthal wrote in
magazine (March 1966), “The audience was hostile, mostly because of Malibran’s poor vocal condition, and although subsequent performances went better, the opera was withdrawn after seven performances and seems to have vanished from the repertory until it was revived at Bergamo in the autumn of 1958.” The cast of that revival was Dina Soresi as Mary Stuart, Renata Heredia Capnist as Elisabetta, Antonio Zerbini as Talbot, Nicola Tagger as Leicester, and Laura Zannini as Anna. The conductor was Oliviero de Fabritiis.
In this recording the two leading ladies are excellent. Montserrat Caballé shines as Maria, and Shirley Verrett is a great Elisabetta. Ottavia Garaventa is a suitable Roberto, and both Raffaele Ariè and Giulio Fioravanti are strongly voiced characters. Nella Verri is a good Anna, and the conducting by Carlo Felice Cillario is an example of the
style necessary for Donizetti’s music, although he uses the traditional cuts made in those years.
This recording was obviously taped in the audience. Thus the sound is variable. The orchestra at times drowns out the singers, and the quality of vocal sound varies probably due to the place on the stage of the singer. The applause is forceful and very loud. The excellent booklet has notes by Robert Levine, a complete libretto in Italian and English, and a listing and timing of the bands.
Since its revival
has been often performed and recorded. Not only are there now four recordings featuring Caballé, but there is a complete recording featuring Beverly Sills and Eileen Farrell that was reviewed in
24:4. Other sopranos who have recorded the title role are Joan Sutherland, Edita Gruberova, and Janet Baker. There are also two more recent recordings; Naxos has one with Laura Polverlli as Elisabetta and Maria Pia Piscitelli as Maria conducted by Riccardo Frizza; and Dynamic has issued a performance conducted by Fabrizio Maria Carminati, with Carmelia Remigio as Maria, Sonia Ganassi as Elisabetta, and Joseph Celleja as Leicester. The CD issue was reviewed in
30:1 by David L. Kirk and the DVD issue was reviewed in 27:1 by Joel Kasow. It features a new critical edition and was favorably reviewed by both critics.
Still, my first choice is the Beverly Sills, Eileen Farrell, and Stuart Burrows complete recording. Caballé fans will enjoy this recording.
FANFARE: Bob Rose
Works on This Recording
Maria Stuarda by Gaetano Donizetti
Shirley Verrett (Mezzo Soprano),
Ottavio Garaventa (Tenor),
Montserrat Caballé (Soprano),
Nella Verri (Mezzo Soprano),
Raphael Arie (Bass),
Giulio Fioravanti (Baritone)
Carlo Felice Cillario
Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra,
Milan Teatro alla Scala Chorus
Written: 1835; Italy
Date of Recording: 1971
Average Customer Review: ( 1 Customer Review )
Compelling and Satisfying Performance December 11, 2016
By Joseph Erdeljac (West Chester, PA) See All My Reviews
"This live recording is very well recorded and all of the performers are in great voice. Caballe is in top shape but just a bit heavy on some of the vocals for my taste in this particular character. Still she is one of outstanding talent in this stellar cast. Verrett is a wonderful compliment to her in the duets and ensembles. Some of the other names are not as familiar to me but very satisfying in their performances. This is a recording worth having in one's collection."