Notes and Editorial Reviews
Giuseppe Verdi was commissioned by the Paris Opera to write a grand opera for the Great Exhibition of 1855. The opera's subject was to be the Sicilian Vespers, the infamous massacre of the French by Sicilians in 1282 Palermo. Verdi's librettist for the work was Eugène Scribe and difficulties arose at once. Verdi, who favored lean realistic drama, was handcuffed by the French grand opera formula with its five act form, lavish choruses and ballet. The work with its original French title, 'Les Vêpres siciliennes' premiered to great acclaim but Verdi was never pleased with it. Eventually it was translated into Italian and this is the version that has survived.
This recording is of the five act Italian version and makes a strong case for the
neglected work. The opera is filled with stunning arias and some of the finest tenor and baritone duets ever written by Verdi. Of course it helps when the cast is comprised of some of the finest singers at the peak of their form. Martina Arroyo, Placido Domingo, Sherrill Milnes and Ruggero Raimondi all sing with gusto and keen dramatic sense. A real bonus is Verdi's colorful ballet music which is usually cut in performances. Read less
Works on This Recording
I vespri siciliani by Giuseppe Verdi
Ruggero Raimondi (Bass),
Placido Domingo (Tenor),
Sherrill Milnes (Baritone),
Martina Arroyo (Soprano)
John Alldis Choir,
New Philharmonia Orchestra
Written: 1855; Italy
Act I: Quals' offre al mio sguardo
Act I: O mio fratel, Federigo!
Act I: Assai nappi vuotammo
Act I: In alto mare; Deh! tu calma, O Dio possente
Act I: D'ira fremo all' aspetto tremendo
Act I: Qual è il tuo nome?
Act I: Temerario! Qual ardire!
Act II: O patria; O tu Palermo
Act II: Ai nostri fidi nunzio
Act II: Santo amor che in me favelli
Act II: Ah! nulla! sommesso il core
Act II: Quale, o prode, al tuo corraggio
Act II: Presso alla tomba ch'apresi
Act II: Cavalier, questo foglio
Act II: Il rossor mi coprì
Act II: Per lui non ebbi oltraggio!
Act II: Del piacer s'avanza l'ora!
Act III: Scene 1: Prelude
Act III: Scene 1: Si, m'abboriva ed a ragion!
Act III: Scene 1: Il cavaliero ricusava
Act III: Scene 1: In braccio alle dovizie
Act III: Scene 1: Sogno, o son desto
Act III: Scene 1: Quando al mio sen per te parlava
Act III: Scene 1: Mentre contemplo quel volto amato
Act III: Scene 1: Parola fatale!
Act III: Scene 1: Ah! figlio, invano crudo mi chiami
Act III: Scene 1: Ombra diletta, che in ciel riposi
Act III: Scene 2 Ballet: "The Four Seasons": Winter
Act III: Scene 2 Ballet: "The Four Seasons": Spring
Act III: Scene 2 Ballet: "The Four Seasons": Summer
Act III: Scene 2 Ballet: "The Four Seasons": Autumn
Act III: Scene 2 Ballet: "The Four Seasons": O splendide feste!
Act III: Scene 2 Ballet: "The Four Seasons": Arrigo, su te veglia l'amistade!
Act III: Scene 2 Ballet: "The Four Seasons": Di tai piacer, per te novelli
Act III: Scene 2 Ballet: "The Four Seasons": Fra ceppi, olà s'adduca ognun
Act III: Scene 2 Ballet: "The Four Seasons": Ah, donna! pietade, amici!
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