WGBH Radio WGBH Radio theclassicalstation.org

Puccini: Il Trittico / Albrecht, Bruson, Zschau, Atlantov

Puccini / Bruson / Zschau / Atlantov / Albrecht
Release Date: 05/26/2009 
Label:  Orfeo   Catalog #: 768093  
Composer:  Giacomo Puccini
Performer:  Kerstin MeyerPilar LorengarMargarita LilovaSona Ghazarian,   ... 
Conductor:  Gerd Albrecht
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna State Opera ChorusVienna State Opera Orchestra
Number of Discs: 3 
Recorded in: Stereo 
In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews



PUCCINI Il trittico Gerd Albrecht, cond; Soloists; Vienna St Op O & Ch ORFEO 768 093 (3 CDs: 156:03) Live: Vienna 1979


PUCCINI Il tabarro Renato Bruson ( Michele ); Marilyn Zschau ( Giorgetta ); Vladimir Atlantov ( Luigi
Read more ); Czeslawa Slania ( La Frugola ); Gerd Albrecht, cond; Vienna St Op O & Ch ORFEO 768 093 (3 CDs: 156:03) Live: Vienna 1979


PUCCINI Suor Angelica Pilar Lorengar ( Suor Angelica ); Kerstin Meyer ( La zia Principessa ); Gerd Albrecht, cond; Vienna St Op O & Ch ORFEO 768 093 (3 CDs: 156:03) Live: Vienna 1979


PUCCINI Gianni Schicchi Walter Berry ( Gianni Schicchi ); Sona Ghazarian ( Lauretta ); Margarita Lilova ( Zita ); Yordi Ramiro ( Rinuccio ); Gerd Albrecht, cond; Vienna St Op O & Ch ORFEO 768 093 (3 CDs: 156:03) Live: Vienna 1979


This recording documents the 1979 Vienna revival of Il trittico in a production staged by Egon Seefehlner. He and conductor Gerd Albrecht had previously collaborated on the same production in Berlin, where it was a success. Each of the three operas is well cast with interesting, dramatically engaged international singers in the main roles, with the smaller parts taken by members of the Vienna Opera’s regular roster. All of the small roles are well sung, and one of the pleasures of this set is hearing such distinguished performers as Heinz Zednik and Alfred Sramek as Tinca and Talpa in Il tabarro , Margarethe Bence and Olivera Miljakovi? in Suor Angelica , and Marjana Lipovšek and Erich Kunz in Gianni Schicchi.


As a listening experience, the noirish, verismo opera Il tabarro is the most satisfying of the three. What a subtle and effective score this is! It’s good to hear Renato Bruson toward the beginning of his career as Michele, a role that he didn’t record commercially, though he doesn’t quite convey the menace that his predecessors Taddei or Gobbi brought to the part. (If there has been a subsequent Italian Verdi baritone who was the equal of Bruson in the 1980s, I am unaware of him.) His aria, “Nulla silenzio,” the score’s musical and dramatic high point, is excellently done. As Giorgetta, Marilyn Zschau takes a little time to warm up. This is a forceful soprano role that lies rather low, and it isn’t until around the middle of the opera, in her duet with Luigi, that she gets to sing quietly or in a higher register, both of which she does well. By the time of her duet with Bruson, she excels as the more exciting singer. Vladimir Atlantov sings the part of Luigi with Otello-like fervor and Czeslawa Slania is wonderful as La Frugola. Gerd Albrecht’s pacing of the drama is far livelier than is Erich Leinsdorf’s on a respected studio version with Leontyne Price, Domingo, and Milnes, and he creates a far more atmospheric orchestral ambience. (Price’s Giorgetta, like Zschau’s, does not sound particularly attractive in her lower range.)


Comparing the Vienna Suor Angelica to the much-praised 1958 EMI version conducted by Serafin, I prefer the live version, even though EMI’s leading singers de los Angeles and Barbieri are perfect in their roles. Albrecht bring great delicacy to the choral sections, moving things along and avoiding the maudlin quality that this opera can easily take on. Pilar Lorengar, a Spanish soprano like de los Angeles, did not record very much Italian opera—in Mozart, her Pamina and Fiordiligi in Solti’s recordings are favorite performances of mine—gives a lovely, idiomatic performance in the title role. Her singing is not always as perfectly controlled as de los Angeles’s is, but if anything, she’s more affecting. The notable singing actress Kerstin Meyer is excellent in the other role of any size, the Principessa.


Unlike Verdi’s Falstaff , Puccini’s only comic opera is not musically sublime at every moment. There are some sections in Gianni Schicchi toward the beginning and the end that work perfectly well when one sees the work on stage but that are musically uneventful, even dull, on a recording. But then there are the scenes toward the middle where the music comes to life in such a glorious way as to make this the most popular opera of the triptych. Among these are the short arias for Rinuccio and Lauretta, who are modeled on Verdi’s Fenton and Nanetta, I think. It’s notable how many performances of Lauretta’s “O mio babbino caro” are either too vocally mannered or self-consciously slow. Ileana Cotrubas, on the 1976 Maazel recording with Tito Gobbi, sings a surprisingly uncomfortable, breathy version. Even Victoria de los Angeles, in the elegant 1958 recording conducted by Gabriele Santini (this one with Gobbi at his youthful best in the title role), sounds a bit calculated. Here, Sona Ghazarian sings it with lovely tone and careful inflection of the words, catching its “throw-away” lightness and simplicity. The Mexican singer Yordi Ramiro has the perfect voice for Rinuccio, a gleaming high tenor. (Plácido Domingo sounds strained in this role on the Maazel recording.) Walter Berry, late in his career, is a wonderful Schicchi. An Austrian baritone who could sing convincingly in Italian, he was to sing Falstaff in Vienna a few years later.


As I continue to listen to these performances, I am increasingly impressed by the tempo choices, dramatic pacing, and the lean, luminous sound of the orchestra. In short, it is the conducting of Gerd Albrecht, along with the benefits of its being a live performance, which makes this Trittico a possible first choice among the available recordings. Orfeo’s sound is remarkably vivid.


FANFARE: Paul Orgel
Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Il Trittico by Giacomo Puccini
Conductor:  Gerd Albrecht
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna State Opera Chorus,  Vienna State Opera Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1918; Italy 
2.
Suor Angelica by Giacomo Puccini
Performer:  Kerstin Meyer (Mezzo Soprano), Pilar Lorengar (Soprano)
Conductor:  Gerd Albrecht
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna State Opera Chorus,  Vienna State Opera Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1918; Italy 
3.
Gianni Schicchi by Giacomo Puccini
Performer:  Margarita Lilova (Mezzo Soprano), Sona Ghazarian (Soprano), Walter Berry (Bass Baritone),
Yordi Ramiro (Tenor)
Conductor:  Gerd Albrecht
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna State Opera Chorus,  Vienna State Opera Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1918; Italy 
4.
Il Tabarro by Giacomo Puccini
Performer:  Renato Bruson (Baritone), Marilyn Zschau (Soprano), Vladimir Atlantov (Tenor),
Czslawa Slania (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  Gerd Albrecht
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna State Opera Chorus,  Vienna State Opera Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1918; Italy 

Customer Reviews

Be the first to review this title
Review This Title