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Verdi: Opera Choruses - Aida, Nabucco, Otello, Macbeth, Etc


Release Date: 09/17/2002 
Label:  Apex   Catalog #: 40836   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
Conductor:  Carlo Rizzi
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Santa Cecilia Academy Rome ChorusSanta Cecilia Academy Rome Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 1 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

This is a seriously good CD and, costing only £4.99, represents astonishingly good value. As a general point Carlo Rizzi is very much in charge. He treads a superbly balanced line between the competing powers of orchestra and chorus; now holding one or other in check then balancing them in strong crescendo or diminuendo.

Track one is a favourite which is so hummable: Va, pensiero. After a strong introduction the choir is successively lyrical then powerful. Here is a slightly edgy tone of longing for the homeland concluding on superbly fading notes for holy support.

Having started with a favourite from Nabucco the second track takes us back to the opening scene of the opera. Here again the chorus is in
Read more supplicant mode. It divides for male and female voices before the final verse. This gives the opportunity to hear first the clear tones of the male voices where there are some excellent tonal contrasts and, after a melodic introduction on the harp, we have the gentle tonal contrasts of the female voices. The concluding verse brings all together again with excellent contrasts between the different vocal sections.

The witches from Macbeth appear next. On a personal note I always find it difficult to reconcile my concept of evil hags in the play with these superbly melodic creatures in the opera. That problem is exacerbated by the slightly quick tempo of this scene together with the lyrical groups of witches who sound rather fun.

Any such reservations are removed entirely in Patria oppressa! where the Scottish refugees mourn their plight. This is set in ‘a barren place’ so evocatively played by the orchestra. Sharp brass, and then thin strings conjure up the scene, with the chorus coming in superbly softly. They develop in power and emotion with strong tonal variation while the orchestra continues its plaintive cries.

I Lombardi on track six will have you flicking back to track one. There are musical similarities created by Verdi; and also created by this recording which emotively recall happier times. The second extract from I Lombardi - Gerusalem! is particularly poignant now (Christmas 2001) with all the troubles besetting its many peoples. Here again, with strong orchestral accompaniment, the chorus divides and regroups. The male voices again provide some fine contrasts.

The Gypsy camp from Il Trovatore is set well by the orchestra but just a shade too fast for the chorus to maintain their clarity of diction. This Anvil Chorus is hammered home reducing emphasis and contrast. Don Carlo is one of Verdi’s most dramatic works: and the chosen extract contrasts the joyous people celebrating the Coronation with the sombre monks about to despatch heretics. It is emphasised here by a lyrical crowd and dirge like monks. This grand–scale scene is made vibrantly alive.

The Cypriots celebration at the return of Otello sounds just that in Fuoco di gioia! It is bright and melodic with different parts of the choir blending, separating and re-aligning. You can ‘see’ the final flame flare up and die away. Triumphalism must conclude; so we go to Aida and the returning victors. Orchestra and chorus combine strongly before we have sectional contrasts. The March itself is not overdone. This is not "in your ear" big brass band sound. It is compellingly clear, leading into the Ballet and the final choral contribution. This is indeed a welcoming and celebrating crowd.

Finally a brief comment on the accompanying booklet with libretto and translation. This also contains Act and scene details and a comprehensive review of the political background of the extracts. Verdi chose these texts because he believed that successful opera is based on confrontation and passionate emotion: it is a fortunate "spin-off" that they were also political and helped publicise his music and the cause of Italian nationalism.

-- Robert McKechnie, MusicWeb International
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Works on This Recording

1. Nabucco: Va, pensiero by Giuseppe Verdi
Conductor:  Carlo Rizzi
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Santa Cecilia Academy Rome Chorus,  Santa Cecilia Academy Rome Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1842; Italy 
Date of Recording: 09/1992 
Venue:  Musica Santa Cecilia, Rome, Italy 
Length: 4 Minutes 35 Secs. 
2. Nabucco: Gli arredi festivi by Giuseppe Verdi
Conductor:  Carlo Rizzi
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Santa Cecilia Academy Rome Chorus,  Santa Cecilia Academy Rome Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1842; Italy 
Date of Recording: 09/1992 
Venue:  Musica Santa Cecilia, Rome, Italy 
Length: 5 Minutes 54 Secs. 
3. Macbeth: Tre volte miagola by Giuseppe Verdi
Conductor:  Carlo Rizzi
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Santa Cecilia Academy Rome Chorus,  Santa Cecilia Academy Rome Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1847/1865; Italy 
Date of Recording: 09/1992 
Venue:  Musica Santa Cecilia, Rome, Italy 
Length: 3 Minutes 47 Secs. 
4. Macbeth: Patria oppressa! by Giuseppe Verdi
Conductor:  Carlo Rizzi
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Santa Cecilia Academy Rome Chorus,  Santa Cecilia Academy Rome Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1847/1865; Italy 
Date of Recording: 09/1992 
Venue:  Musica Santa Cecilia, Rome, Italy 
Length: 7 Minutes 21 Secs. 
5. La battaglia di Legnano: Giuriam d'Italia by Giuseppe Verdi
Conductor:  Carlo Rizzi
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Santa Cecilia Academy Rome Chorus,  Santa Cecilia Academy Rome Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1849; Italy 
Date of Recording: 09/1992 
Venue:  Musica Santa Cecilia, Rome, Italy 
Length: 4 Minutes 13 Secs. 
6. I lombardi: O Signore, dal tetto natio by Giuseppe Verdi
Conductor:  Carlo Rizzi
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Santa Cecilia Academy Rome Chorus,  Santa Cecilia Academy Rome Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1843; Italy 
Date of Recording: 09/1992 
Venue:  Musica Santa Cecilia, Rome, Italy 
Length: 4 Minutes 17 Secs. 
7. I lombardi: Gerusalem! by Giuseppe Verdi
Conductor:  Carlo Rizzi
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Santa Cecilia Academy Rome Chorus,  Santa Cecilia Academy Rome Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1843; Italy 
Date of Recording: 09/1992 
Venue:  Musica Santa Cecilia, Rome, Italy 
Length: 5 Minutes 40 Secs. 
8. Il trovatore: Vedi! le fosche notturne "Anvil Chorus" by Giuseppe Verdi
Conductor:  Carlo Rizzi
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Santa Cecilia Academy Rome Chorus,  Santa Cecilia Academy Rome Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1853; Italy 
Date of Recording: 09/1992 
Venue:  Musica Santa Cecilia, Rome, Italy 
Length: 2 Minutes 46 Secs. 
9. Don Carlos: Spuntato ecco il dì d'esultanza by Giuseppe Verdi
Conductor:  Carlo Rizzi
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Santa Cecilia Academy Rome Chorus,  Santa Cecilia Academy Rome Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1867/1884; Italy 
Date of Recording: 09/1992 
Venue:  Musica Santa Cecilia, Rome, Italy 
Length: 7 Minutes 26 Secs. 
10. Otello: Fuoco di gioia by Giuseppe Verdi
Conductor:  Carlo Rizzi
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Santa Cecilia Academy Rome Chorus,  Santa Cecilia Academy Rome Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1887; Italy 
Date of Recording: 09/1992 
Venue:  Musica Santa Cecilia, Rome, Italy 
Length: 2 Minutes 46 Secs. 
11. Aida: Gloria all' Egitto by Giuseppe Verdi
Conductor:  Carlo Rizzi
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Santa Cecilia Academy Rome Chorus,  Santa Cecilia Academy Rome Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1871; Italy 
Date of Recording: 09/1992 
Venue:  Musica Santa Cecilia, Rome, Italy 
Length: 2 Minutes 46 Secs. 

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 UNBELIEVABLE OPERA PRESENTATION! June 17, 2013 By Linda F. (Boynton Beach, FL) See All My Reviews "The music was just enchanting! I listened to the CD one time after another and then proceeded to order an entire opera!!! Fabulous presentation!" Report Abuse
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