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Verdi: 6 Great Operas / Claudio Abbado [14-CD Collector's Edition]

Release Date: 10/16/2012 
Label:  Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog #: 001725702   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Placido DomingoElena ObraztsovaNicolai GhiaurovLeo Nucci,   ... 
Conductor:  Claudio Abbado
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala OrchestraMilan Teatro alla Scala ChorusBerlin Philharmonic Orchestra,   ... 
Number of Discs: 14 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Claudio Abbados' Verdi recordings with La Scala, Milan have gained iconic status in the course of time. Here, along with a magnificent Falstaff - with Bryn Terfel in the title-role and the Berliner Philharmoniker - they are presented complete in a single box for the first time.

Full synopses in English, German and French included.

R E V I E W S:

Un ballo in maschera
Well sung as the Solti/Decca set may be, I find this 1981 recording a far more satisfying and unified performance of the work in hand, largely because Abbado and his Scala forces give us much more of a sense of a theatrical experience and because Abbado's conducting is so much more stable and of a piece than his
Read more rival's. Listening again to Abbado's direction, I was struck by his attention to detail, which I expanded on in my original review, and on his sensible tempos.

Margaret Price sings far the more secure Amelia for Solti, but she doesn't always get inside the part as does the vocally more variable Ricciarelli, who gives us the very epitome of the girl torn between love and duty. Domingo doesn't have, never has had, the 'ping' of Pavarotti, but his Riccardo is as involved and as involving a performance as that of his Amelia; together with Abbado, they give an eloquent account of the love duet. Bruson, in better voice than for Solti, is hardly less expressive.

-- Gramophone [9/1986]

A subtle and idiomatic performance benefits from a strong cast and a sensitive recording. But Abbado’s sense of theatre also allows the opera’s grandest scenes to resonate vividly.

-- George Hall, BBC Music Magazine

Abbado’s recording followed a widely acclaimed 1975 La Scala production by Giorgio Strehler. With the La Scala theatre not available, DG used the part completed Centro Telicinematografico Culturale in Milan in January 1976 to produce a warm yet detailed acoustic. Abbado’s conducting is idiomatic and vibrant and sets a theatrical benchmark for his soloists. As the queen, Shirley Verrett is smoky-toned and musically correct, perhaps lacking a little of the vocal wildness that Verdi had in mind and specified for the role. Cappuccilli as Macbeth is characterful and expressive, just the odd moment of dry tone intruding. Ghiaurov’s bass is a rock-solid tower of strength whilst Domingo as Macduff sings an eloquent lament for his lost family in a vocally commanding performance.

-- Robert J. Farr, MusicWeb International

Simon Boccanegra
"Cappuccilli's Boccanegra derives its authority and dignity from his longsighted and extraordinarily powerful phrasing, just as the poignancy of insecurity in the inky depths of Ghiaurov's Fiesco seems to foretell the tragedy of their relationship.

For Carreras, there is barely a moment of strain, as his carefully nourished lyrical lines are strengthened by the precision of their pointing, while van Dam manages to convey the full extent of Paolo's desire for "oro, possanza, onore" within the opening seconds of a deeply perceptive performance. At the risk of making the whole thing sound quite improbably outstanding, it must be added that new technology has revealed an untarnished radiance in Mirella Freni's top register: she, above anyone else, uses Verdi's writing with vivid assurance to convey every flicker of pulse in Amelia's shifting emotions."

-- Gramophone [9/1986]

Prime place in any discussion of this new version of Verdi’s comic masterpiece must go to Bryn Terfel’s performance of the title role. There have been some singers who have interpreted the role marvellously with second-rate voices, and some with finer voices less detailed in their approach. Terfel has it all: a great instrument capable of an infinite variety of tone colour, and a reading that uses words vividly and observes the minutest markings of Verdi’s score. He is the equal of any Falstaff on disc. With Abbado, too, the full amplitude of brilliant effects and quicksilver changes of mood in the score is revealed – the music simply sounds as if it’s in his blood. Excellent playing, not surprisingly, from the Berlin Philharmonic. As Ford, Thomas Hampson does everything that keen intelligence and finest musicianship can, but his is not quite the true Verdi baritone sound. Daniil Shtoda’s Fenton lacks sweetness, but Dorothea Röschmann’s Nannetta combines purity nicely with personality. Adrianne Pieczonka’s Alice is light, lyrical and graceful, while Larissa Diadkova’s Quickly has the requisite depth of tone and a sense of humour, and she’s a good deal more idiomatic than Anatoli Kotscherga’s heavy-handed Pistol. But Enrico Facini shows plenty of venomous vitality as Dr Caius and Anthony Mee’s Bardolph is excellent. Classic performances exist by Toscanini (though in dubious sound) and Karajan (despite a lack of warmth), but the conductor and protagonist here are as good as can be found in any modern recording.

-- George Hall, BBC Music Magazine
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Works on This Recording

Aida by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Placido Domingo (Tenor), Elena Obraztsova (Mezzo Soprano), Nicolai Ghiaurov (Bass),
Leo Nucci (Baritone), Katia Ricciarelli (Soprano), Ruggero Raimondi (Bass),
Lucia Valentini-Terrani (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  Claudio Abbado
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Chorus
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1871; Italy 
Language: Italian 
Un ballo in maschera by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Antonio Savastano (Bass), Giovanni Foiani (Bass), Ruggero Raimondi (Bass),
Edita Gruberova (Soprano), Elena Obraztsova (Mezzo Soprano), Renato Bruson (Baritone),
Placido Domingo (Tenor), Katia Ricciarelli (Soprano)
Conductor:  Claudio Abbado
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Chorus
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1859; Italy 
Language: Italian 
Don Carlos by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Tibčre Raffalli (Tenor), Aldo Bramante (Bass), Bruno Grella (Baritone),
Paolo Mazzotta (Baritone), Libero Bullo (), Giuseppe Morresi (Bass Baritone),
Sebastiano Gernone (), Ferdinando Meret (), Alfredo Pinardi (),
Eros Sartori (), Placido Domingo (Tenor), Lucia Valentini-Terrani (Mezzo Soprano),
Leo Nucci (Baritone), Ruggero Raimondi (Bass), Nicolai Ghiaurov (Bass),
Ann Murray (Mezzo Soprano), Antonio Savastano (Baritone), Alessandro Corbelli (Baritone),
Serge Fontaine (), Silvestro Sammaritano (Bass), Gaspare Cerri (),
Armando Viviani (), Giordano Olivo (), Vittorio Sarzano (),
Katia Ricciarelli (Soprano), Arleen Augér (Soprano), Nikita Storojev (Bass)
Conductor:  Claudio Abbado
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Chorus
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1867/1886 
Venue:  CTC Studio, Milan, Italy 
Length: 233 Minutes 18 Secs. 
Language: French 
Falstaff by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Bryn Terfel (Bass Baritone), Thomas Hampson (Baritone), Adrianne Pieczonka (Soprano),
Dorothea Röschmann (Soprano), Daniil Shtoda (Tenor), Larissa Diadkova (Mezzo Soprano),
Anthony Mee (Tenor), Enrico Facini (Tenor), Stella Doufexis (Mezzo Soprano),
Anatolij Kotscherga (Bass Baritone)
Conductor:  Claudio Abbado
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Berlin Radio Chorus
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1893; Italy 
Date of Recording: 04/2001 
Venue:  Great Hall, Philharmonie, Berlin 
Length: 113 Minutes 27 Secs. 
Language: Italian 
Macbeth by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Piero Cappuccilli (Baritone), Sergio Fontana (Baritone), Shirley Verrett (Mezzo Soprano),
Placido Domingo (Tenor), Nicolai Ghiaurov (Bass), Stefania Malagú (Soprano),
Antonio Savastano (Tenor), Carlo Zardo (Bass), Giovanni Foiani (Bass),
Alfredo Mariotti (Bass), Alfredo Giacomotti (Bass), Maria Fausta Gallamini (Treble)
Conductor:  Claudio Abbado
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Chorus
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1847/1865; Italy 
Date of Recording: 01/1976 
Venue:  Centro Telecine Culturale, Milan, Italy 
Length: 153 Minutes 45 Secs. 
Language: Italian 
Simon Boccanegra by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Piero Cappuccilli (Baritone), Mirella Freni (Soprano), Nicolai Ghiaurov (Bass),
José Carreras (Tenor), Giovanni Foiani (Bass), Antonio Savastano (Tenor),
José van Dam (Bass Baritone)
Conductor:  Claudio Abbado
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Chorus
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1857; Italy 
Date of Recording: 1977 

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  2 Customer Reviews )
 Essential Verdi, with some reservations December 3, 2012 By Rory R. (Winnipeg, MB) See All My Reviews "This collection offers performances from the late seventies to the early nineties, and is essential listening. One performance, Simon Boccanegra remains unchallenged, and all offer an important record of several singers' in their prime in key roles. The heart of this collection, however, must be the French Don Carlos, the first(and probably only) recording of the final, or as final as Verdi decided, version in the original French. The recording also includes the appendix of music cut before, or shortly after, the premiere in 1867. Essential, yes, but it is too bad that Abbado, or producers,failed to have one French singer in the cast; further, there are weaknesses even in its mostly impressive cast. Some might as well be singing Esperanto, and a great deal is lost in nuance and dramatic flair when the language seems compromised. Leo Nucci seems an excitable but underpowered Rodrigue, and not strong in French. Raimondi also seems hampered; his King Phillipe is weaker than under Guilini. Still the pluses out weigh any complaints. Primary is Abbado's sweeping, cogent reading, and the power of the La Scala forces. Then there is Domingo and Riccarelli, always a compelling pair, not only in this recording but in the Un Ballo and Aida as well. Abbado has plenty of tough competition, especially considering his Falstaff and Macbeth, but all these performances should have a place in a Verdi lover's heart." Report Abuse
 Very well done November 16, 2012 By J. DOKSANSKY (FREMONT, NE) See All My Reviews "You can't buy anything b etter than this." Report Abuse
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