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The Tokyo Concerts / Alfredo Kraus, Franco Corelli

Scarlatti / Kraus /Suga / Nhk Orchestra / Ventura
Release Date: 04/24/2012 
Label:  Dynamic   Catalog #: 33718   
Composer:  Giuseppe VerdiUmberto GiordanoGiacomo MeyerbeerGiacomo Puccini,   ... 
Performer:  Franco CorelliAlfredo KrausEdelmiro ArnaltesEmiko Suga
Conductor:  Alberto Ventura
Orchestra/Ensemble:  NHK Symphony Orchestra Tokyo
Number of Discs: 2 
In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews

2 DVDs for the price of 1

Alfredo KRAUS – The 1996 Tokyo Recital

Audio Format: LPCM 2.0
Region Code: 0 (All)
Format: NTSC, 4:3 Booklet: English, French, Italian, German
Subtitles: English, German, Italian, French Running Time: 55 minutes
Location: Tokyo Bunkamara Orchard Hall
Recorded: June 15, 1996

Franco CORELLI – The 1971 Tokyo Concert

Region Code: 0 (All)
Audio Format: Dolby Digital 5.1, DTS; PCM Stereo 2.0
Format:NTSC, Color, 16:9
Running Time: 60 mins
Subtitles: Italian, English, French, German

R E V I E W: 3614060.zz1_TOKYO_CONCERTS_ALFREDO_KRAUS.html Read more http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=utf-8" />

THE TOKYO CONCERTS: ALFREDO KRAUS & FRANCO CORELLI Alfredo Kraus, Franco Corelli (ten); Emiko Suga (sop); Edelmiro Arnaltes (pn); Asier Polo (vc); Alberto Ventura (cond, pn);Tokyo PO DYNAMIC 33718 (2 DVDs: 104:00) Live: Tokyo 11/8/1971; 6/15/1996


Selections by A. SCARLATTI, GLUCK, MASSENET, RUIZ DE LUNA, OBRADORS, SOROZÁBAL, DONIZETTI, CILEA, SERRANO, VERDI, GIORDANO, MEYERBEER, PUCCINI, MASSENET, DI CAPUA, CARDILLO, DE CURTIS, TOSTI


This is a repackaging of two videos originally issued separately, the Corelli in 2006 on Dynamic 33515 and the Kraus in 2011 on Dynamic 33606. They are offered here as two DVDs for the price of one, which would be a bargain if these two tenors were not so dissimilar in artistry and style. In Alfredo Kraus you have one of the most musical and artistically sensitive tenors since Tito Schipa; in Franco Corelli, the most extroverted and musically inaccurate tenor of his time. (Even on the usually objective ArkivMusic website, it says that “he sang everything ‘Corelli style.’”) I can’t think of two contemporary singers more opposed in style than Kraus and Corelli, unless it might be Jennie Tourel vs. Fedora Barbieri.


Even their stage demeanors are different. Kraus comes across as modest, elegant, a man happy to give the gift of song to an appreciative audience that understands his aesthetic. Corelli just wants to blow people away with his breath control and high notes. In the brief interview with Kraus, discussing his 40th anniversary as a professional tenor, he is asked what singing a song means to him. With his characteristic intelligence and modesty, Kraus replies, “Singing is a style of life; an experience, a philosophy … all desires or anxieties, but also all the happiness of certain people, of all of them, lie in this gift of expressing yourself in song, through the human instrument with words and sounds that reach a sensitive audience.”


And he proves this philosophy, again and again, in this magnificent specimen of his art. True, he begins Scarlatti’s Chi vuole innamorarsi uncharacteristically flat, but by the song’s end he is in control of his voice. During his early years, Kraus’s voice was almost naggingly bright despite its small size, over-piercing in quality, which put some people off despite his sincere artistry and musical phrasing, but by the mid 1970s it began to mellow in the top range. The way this concert in Tokyo is miked, Kraus’s top range does indeed sound bright, but not as brittle in timbre as it was in the early years. And what a great artist he is! Just listen to the way he phrases Gluck’s “O del mio dolce ardor,” slightly slowing the tempo down, using a cello obbligato and shaping each line with the sensitivity and coloration of a great artist. (I’d almost forgotten how great Kraus was in these years until I heard this piece.) And he continues this outstanding singing in the second Massenet piece and the four Spanish songs by Ruiz de Luna, Obradors, and Sorozábal. It’s hard to believe, listening to him here, that he would be dead in three years.


Kraus was solicitous in using a local soprano, Emiko Suga, to partner him in the Lucia duet. She has a very tremulous and acidic soprano voice, and thus spoils the piece. (I’m sure some of you ask why I harp on singers with overly tremulous voices. I’m glad you asked. Watch Suga in the close-ups and you’ll see why I complain. She is obviously fluttering the voice in the back of her throat, as her jaw is always in motion on sustained notes. That’s why. It’s not always an unavoidable defect. Many singers, like Suga, purposely add tremolo to their voices.) Fortunately, the recital gets back on track with a gorgeous performance of “E la solita storia” from Cilea’s L’Arlesiana (in which Kraus also includes cellist Asier Polo, much to my surprise and delight), after which they bring up flowers for the tenor—buckets of them. As an encore, he concludes with Serrano’s “Te quiero, morena” from El trust de los tenorios, which just happens to be one of my absolute favorite Zarzuela jotas —and Kraus sings the hell out of it. Barring the Lucia duet, which is marred by Suga, this is a magnificent recital.


The Corelli concert from 1971 is slightly blurred and out of focus from start to finish, and there is a slight bass hum in the soundtrack, but fans of this tenor will not be disappointed. He belts ’em out from start to finish—although, to be fair, he does notice that he has a conductor and allows him to accept some of the applause. Corelli actually makes an attempt to follow the written rhythms in “Questa o quella” and the “Improvviso” from Andrea Chénier, which surprises me, but true to form he drags out the high notes in the latter. But then we reach “O paradiso” from L’Africaine, and all pretense at musicianship goes by the wayside. Loud, blatant blasting of top notes, drawn-out and distorted phrasing—all the Corelli tricks are here. He does cut the high B? after four seconds, one second longer than it is supposed to be sung but about two seconds shorter than he usually held it. The audience goes absolutely berserk, though; the applause is not only deafening, but extends for two minutes. Corelli waves to the audience. He walks offstage. Conductor Ventura has the orchestra stand up. Ventura walks offstage. Both conductor and tenor walk back on stage. And the applause just keeps on coming. You’d think he had hit a Hail Mary shot in the final seconds of an NBA championship game.


As the recital progresses and you get used to Corelli’s style, though, you have a choice: Give in to the loud singing and high-note mania or cut yourself off from it. Aw, forget that he hits a high B and not a C in “Che gelida manina,” or that he sounds as if he’s singing to a very deaf Mimi somewhere up in the balcony (and yes, he performed it the same way onstage), or that his French diction in the Le Cid aria is simply awful. He gives you your money’s worth of open, brilliant tone, the voice is always perfectly centered, and all things being equal his breath control is phenomenal. Corelli simply wasn’t temperamentally suited to such things as musicality, subtlety, or acting a role. He was a lirico spinto and proud of it. He sang with everything he had, full throttle all the time, and if you weren’t prepared for that when you came to see him it was your misfortune. The Italian songs, all sung as encores, are accompanied on piano. Corelli screams each and every one of them (believe it or not, even Mario Lanza sang some of these more subtly than this), bless his over-the-top soul, and again the audience reacts as if he hit a home run in the bottom of the ninth.


Come to think of it, there may be a certain logic in packaging these two very different tenor recitals together. Any time you feel that Kraus’s small, slightly wiry voice isn’t thrilling enough, you can turn to Corelli, and by the time you get tired of Corelli you can always go back to Kraus. They were kind of the yin-yang of tenors in their time.


The DVD boxes claim that each concert lasts an hour, but when you bring them up on your DVD player it says that the Kraus is 53 minutes and the Corelli 51 minutes. The Kraus DVD appears to have been issued in 2011 while the Corelli was issued earlier, in 2006 on Dynamic 33515. It’s an interesting pairing, and if you’re a fan of either tenor you may want the duo pack just for contrast’s sake.


FANFARE: Lynn René Bayley
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Works on This Recording

1.
Rigoletto: Questa o quella by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Franco Corelli (Tenor)
Conductor:  Alberto Ventura
Orchestra/Ensemble:  NHK Symphony Orchestra Tokyo
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1851; Italy 
2.
Andrea Chénier: Un dì all' azzuro spazio "Improvviso" by Umberto Giordano
Performer:  Franco Corelli (Tenor)
Conductor:  Alberto Ventura
Orchestra/Ensemble:  NHK Symphony Orchestra Tokyo
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1896; Italy 
3.
L'Africaine: O paradis sorti de l'onde by Giacomo Meyerbeer
Performer:  Franco Corelli (Tenor)
Conductor:  Alberto Ventura
Orchestra/Ensemble:  NHK Symphony Orchestra Tokyo
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1865; Germany 
Language: Italian 
4.
La Bohème: Che gelida manina by Giacomo Puccini
Performer:  Franco Corelli (Tenor)
Conductor:  Alberto Ventura
Orchestra/Ensemble:  NHK Symphony Orchestra Tokyo
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1896; Italy 
5.
La Fanciulla del West: Ch'ella mi creda libero e lontano by Giacomo Puccini
Performer:  Franco Corelli (Tenor)
Conductor:  Alberto Ventura
Orchestra/Ensemble:  NHK Symphony Orchestra Tokyo
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1910; Italy 
6.
Le Cid: O Souverain, ô juge, ô père by Jules Massenet
Performer:  Franco Corelli (Tenor)
Conductor:  Alberto Ventura
Orchestra/Ensemble:  NHK Symphony Orchestra Tokyo
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1885; France 
7.
'O sole mio by Eduardo Di Capua
Performer:  Franco Corelli (Tenor)
Conductor:  Alberto Ventura
Orchestra/Ensemble:  NHK Symphony Orchestra Tokyo
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1898; Italy 
8.
Core 'ngrato by Salvatore Cardillo
Performer:  Franco Corelli (Tenor)
Conductor:  Alberto Ventura
Orchestra/Ensemble:  NHK Symphony Orchestra Tokyo
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1911; Italy 
9.
Tu ca nun chiagne by Ernesto De Curtis
Performer:  Franco Corelli (Tenor)
Conductor:  Alberto Ventura
Orchestra/Ensemble:  NHK Symphony Orchestra Tokyo
Period: Romantic 
Written: Italy 
10.
Canzoni napoletane (3): no 1, 'A vucchella by Francesco Paolo Tosti
Performer:  Franco Corelli (Tenor)
Conductor:  Alberto Ventura
Orchestra/Ensemble:  NHK Symphony Orchestra Tokyo
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1907; Italy 
11.
Il Flavio: Chi vuole innamorarsi by Alessandro Scarlatti
Performer:  Alfredo Kraus (Tenor), Edelmiro Arnaltes (Piano)
Period: Baroque 
12.
Paride ed Elena: O del mio dolce ardor by Christoph W. Gluck
Performer:  Alfredo Kraus (Tenor), Edelmiro Arnaltes (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1770; Vienna, Austria 
13.
Elégie by Jules Massenet
Performer:  Alfredo Kraus (Tenor), Edelmiro Arnaltes (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: circa 1869; France 
14.
Werther: Pourquoi me réveiller? by Jules Massenet
Performer:  Alfredo Kraus (Tenor), Edelmiro Arnaltes (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1892; France 
15.
Poème d'amour: no 3, Ouvre tes yeux bleus by Jules Massenet
Performer:  Alfredo Kraus (Tenor), Edelmiro Arnaltes (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1879; France 
16.
En el fondo de la mina by Gabriel Salvador Ruiz de Luna Arroyo
Performer:  Alfredo Kraus (Tenor), Edelmiro Arnaltes (Piano)
17.
Canciones Clásicas Españolas: Del cabello más sutil by Fernando J. Obradors
Performer:  Alfredo Kraus (Tenor), Edelmiro Arnaltes (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: Spain 
18.
Canciones Clásicas Españolas: Coplas de Curro Dulce by Fernando J. Obradors
Performer:  Alfredo Kraus (Tenor), Edelmiro Arnaltes (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: Spain 
19.
La tabernera del puerto: No puede ser by Pablo Sorozabal
Performer:  Alfredo Kraus (Tenor), Edelmiro Arnaltes (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1940; Spain 
20.
Lucia di Lammermoor: Excerpt(s) by Gaetano Donizetti
Performer:  Edelmiro Arnaltes (Piano), Alfredo Kraus (Tenor), Emiko Suga (Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1835; Italy 
21.
L'Arlesiana: E la solita storia...Anch'io vorrei "Lamento" by Francesco Cilèa
Performer:  Alfredo Kraus (Tenor), Edelmiro Arnaltes (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1897/1937; Italy 
22.
El trust de los tenorios: Te quiero, morena "Jota Española" by Simeon José Serrano
Performer:  Alfredo Kraus (Tenor), Edelmiro Arnaltes (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1910; Spain 

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