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Opera In English - Donizetti: Lucia Of Lammermoor / Parry


Release Date: 09/10/2002 
Label:  Chandos   Catalog #: 3083   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Gaetano Donizetti
Performer:  Paul Charles ClarkeElizabeth FutralPeter WeddChristine Rice,   ... 
Conductor:  David Parry
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia OrchestraGeoffrey Mitchell Choir
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 2 Hours 22 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

The question of language is going to be a determining factor in your decision as to whether to purchase this set. If the sound of the original Italian wedded to this music is important to you, clearly you will avoid it. If you are vitally interested in hearing opera in English because the communication of meaning is of primary importance to you, this recording would recommend itself as long as the perfomiance were at least adequate (it is more than that). Conductor Parry did the translation, and it is musical and effective, if at times a bit stilted (but that is perhaps unavoidable). The singers' diction is crisp and the English is clear and comprehensible much of the time. As Futrál goes into her upper range and starts adding Read more ornaments to her role, words become less clear, as you would expect. And you can't follow the words of the Sextet any easier than you might in Italian. But in passages of dialogue and in even much of the singing, the words make their impact and justify the concept of an English-language Lucia.

Once past the language issue, the perfomiance has to be judged on its musical merits and in comparison with its competition. The problem for any singer today is the constantly accumulating compilation of history. As years go by, recordings document more great singers in the major roles, and the task for the newcomer becomes progressively more difficult. It sounds like a backhanded compliment to say that Elizabeth Futral's Lucia is a fine achievement, one that any of us would be delighted to encounter in the opera house, and I don't mean it to be backhanded. She shades the music with sensitivity, she sings with agility and freedom on top, and with a finn rhythmic impulse. She demonstrates genuine imagination in her phrasing, great breath control, and pure intonation. All of these things are real achievements, and her perfomiance gives substantial pleasure. The problem is that her timbre itself is neither particularly distinct nor uniquely beautiful. It is at its most attractive singing below forte, but as she gets louder and higher it tums a bit metallic. Nothing serious— and if you want an English-language Lucia, her perfomiance will add to your enjoyment of this recording. But when compared to the sopranos whose performances of this role stay in the memory (Callas, Sutherland, Sills, Scotto, Gencer, Caballé) and are available on discs, Futrál cannot be said to be quite in that league.

The recorded history for the role of Edgardo is no less daunting for the modern tenor: Di Stefano, Kraus, Bergonzi, Pavarotti, Carreras, and Domingo. Paul Charles Clarke sings warmly and with conviction, and his voice has the requisite agility—but the tone lacks the liquid beauty and/or shimmer of those predecessors. Frequently it sounds white and bleaty, particularly in the middle register and at middle dynamics. Alan Opie's Enrico is, in fact, closest to the best recorded competition—rich in timbre, finn in tone production, with rhythmic incisiveness and imaginative inflection as added bonuses. Peter Wedd's Arturo is somewhat fiercely vocalized, and the rest of the small roles are well taken.

David Parry, the regular conductor of this series, does some of his finest work here—with a strong feeling for line, phrase, and overall shape, and a proper balance between blustery drama and lyrical tenderness. Many of the "traditional" cuts of previous generations are opened up here, though not the brief scene between Lucia's Mad Scene and the tenor's final glory. The choral and orchestral forces execute their assignments extremely well, and the recorded sound is among Chandos's finest. There is a clarity to go with their usual warmth, and a natural voice-orchestra perspective that spotlights neither. Andrew Porter's essay on Donizetti and Lucia is extraordinarily intelligent and insightful, and the English text is given in full.

If I had to have only one Lucia in my collection, it would be Callas's live 1955 Berlin performance with Karajan (Angel 63631). It is one of those remarkable evenings in an opera house when everybody was "on," and Callas's insights into the character and her unique way of coloring her voice make this a necessity for anyone interested in Donizetti's masterpiece. Despite it being a monaural broadcast (though of fairly good quality), it is the one truly essential Lucia. The present one will, however, more than satisfy as an auxiliary English-language rendering.

-- Henry Fogel, FANFARE [1/2003] Read less

Works on This Recording

1. Lucia di Lammermoor by Gaetano Donizetti
Performer:  Paul Charles Clarke (Tenor), Elizabeth Futral (Soprano), Peter Wedd (Tenor),
Christine Rice (Mezzo Soprano), Alan Opie (Baritone), Stephen Chaundy (Tenor),
Peter [bass voice] Rose (Bass)
Conductor:  David Parry
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Geoffrey Mitchell Choir
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1835; Italy 
Date of Recording: 2001 
Venue:  Blackheath Halls, London, England 
Length: 142 Minutes 26 Secs. 
Language: English 

Sound Samples

Lucia di Lammermoor (sung in English): Part 1: Scene 1: Prelude
Lucia di Lammermoor (sung in English): Part 1: Scene 1: Introductory Chorus: Through the park and the woods that surround it (Normanno, Chorus)
Lucia di Lammermoor (sung in English): Part 1: Scene 2: Scene: You seem unhappy (Normanno, Enrico, Raimondo)
Lucia di Lammermoor (sung in English): Part 1: Scene 2: Cavatina: Trembling, I feel the horror (Enrico, Normanno, Raimondo)
Lucia di Lammermoor (sung in English): Part 1: Scene 3: Your suspicions are confirmed now (Normanno, Enrico, Raimondo, Chorus)
Lucia di Lammermoor (sung in English): Part 1: Scene 3: All in vain do you try (Enrico, Raimondo, Chorus)
Lucia di Lammermoor (sung in English): Part 1: Scene 4: Introduction
Lucia di Lammermoor (sung in English): Part 1: Scene 4: He is not here yet! ... (Lucia, Alisa)
Lucia di Lammermoor (sung in English): Part 1: Scene 4: In deepest night a silence reigned (Lucia, Alisa)
Lucia di Lammermoor (sung in English): Part 1: Scene 4: When, in the burning ecstasy (Lucia, Alisa)
Lucia di Lammermoor (sung in English): Part 1: Scene 4: Scene: Here is Edgardo ... (Alisa, Edgardo, Lucia)
Lucia di Lammermoor (sung in English): Part 1: Scene 4: Duet: Pray remember that my father (Edgardo, Lucia)
Lucia di Lammermoor (sung in English): Part 1: Scene 4: Let us swear to love for ever (Edgardo, Lucia)
Lucia di Lammermoor (sung in English): Part 1: Scene 4: Imagine when the breezes sigh (Lucia, Edgardo)
Lucia di Lammermoor (sung in English): Part 2: Act I Scene 1: Scene: Lucia is coming to you soon (Normanno, Enrico)
Lucia di Lammermoor (sung in English): Part 2: Act I Scene 2: Come here to me, Lucia (Enrico)
Lucia di Lammermoor (sung in English): Part 2: Act I Scene 2: Duet: In my eyes, as I approach you (Lucia, Enrico)
Lucia di Lammermoor (sung in English): Part 2: Act I Scene 2: Duet: In secret I suffered the loneliness (Lucia, Enrico)
Lucia di Lammermoor (sung in English): Part 2: Act I Scene 2: What is that? (Lucia, Enrico)
Lucia di Lammermoor (sung in English): Part 2: Act I Scene 2: Your refusal will destroy me (Enrico, Lucia)
Lucia di Lammermoor (sung in English): Part 2: Act I Scene 3: Scene and Aria: At last! (Lucia, Raimondo)
Lucia di Lammermoor (sung in English): Part 2: Act I Scene 3: Ah! Listen, listen to friendly guidance (Raimondo, Lucia)
Lucia di Lammermoor (sung in English): Part 2: Act I Scene 3: In making such a sacrifice (Raimondo, Lucia)
Lucia di Lammermoor (sung in English): Part 2: Act I Scene 4: Finale II: We welcome you to celebrate (Arturo, Chorus)
Lucia di Lammermoor (sung in English): Part 2: Act I Scene 4: Scene: Where is Lucia? (Arturo, Enrico, Chorus)
Lucia di Lammermoor (sung in English): Part 2: Act I Scene 4: Quartet: Our mother's death still grieves her ... (Enrico, Lucia, Arturo, Raimondo, Alisa, Chorus)
Lucia di Lammermoor (sung in English): Part 2: Act I Scene 4: What restrains me at such a moment? (Edgardo, Enrico, Lucia, Raimondo, Alisa, Arturo)
Lucia di Lammermoor (sung in English): Part 2: Act I Scene 4: Continuation of Finale II: Wretched man, do as we tell you (Arturo, Enrico, Edgardo, Raimondo, Lucia, Chorus)
Lucia di Lammermoor (sung in English): Part 2: Act I Scene 4: Stretta of Finale II: Go, you villain, detested and hated! (Arturo, Enrico, Chorus, Raimondo, Lucia, Edgardo, Alisa)
Lucia di Lammermoor (sung in English): Part 2: Act II Scene 1: Scene and Duet: Violent and cruel is the night (Edgardo, Enrico)
Lucia di Lammermoor (sung in English): Part 2: Act II Scene 2: Ashton! (Edgardo, Enrico)
Lucia di Lammermoor (sung in English): Part 2: Act II Scene 2: I long for the moment when daylight is dawning (Edgardo, Enrico)
Lucia di Lammermoor (sung in English): Part 2: Act II Scene 3: So great the happiness that we are voicing (Chorus)
Lucia di Lammermoor (sung in English): Part 2: Act II Scene 4: Grand Scene with Chorus: Stop at once your celebrations - From the chamber (Raimondo, Chorus)
Lucia di Lammermoor (sung in English): Part 2: Act II Scene 4: What you have told us is past believing! (Raimondo, Chorus)
Lucia di Lammermoor (sung in English): Part 2: Act II Scene 5: Scene and Aria: Oh God in heaven! (Lucia, Chorus)
Lucia di Lammermoor (sung in English): Part 2: Act II Scene 5: Alas! I see the spectre between us (Lucia)
Lucia di Lammermoor (sung in English): Part 2: Act II Scene 5: They bring the incense (Lucia, Raimondo, Normanno, Chorus)
Lucia di Lammermoor (sung in English): Part 2: Act II Scene 6: Here is Enrico (Raimondo, Enrico, Chorus, Lucia)
Lucia di Lammermoor (sung in English): Part 2: Act II Scene 6: Scatter your tears of anguish (Lucia, Enrico, Raimondo, Chorus)
Lucia di Lammermoor (sung in English): Part 2: Act II Scene 7: Aria Finale: My ancestors lie here buried (Edgardo)
Lucia di Lammermoor (sung in English): Part 2: Act II Scene 7: A lonely grave will shelter me (Edgardo)
Lucia di Lammermoor (sung in English): Part 2: Act II Scene 8: Such misfortune! (Edgardo, Raimondo, Chorus)
Lucia di Lammermoor (sung in English): Part 2: Act II Scene 8: Rest in peace, for I shall follow (Edgardo, Raimondo, Chorus)

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