Notes and Editorial Reviews
Maag secures a measure of refinement from his musicians, and carefully delineates the architecture of the score. He is at all times a thoughtful but disciplined colleague to his singers.
Teresa Stich-Randall is probably the best-known name among the group. She was just past her prime at the time of this recording, though still capable of fine coloratura for the most part, tossed off with her usual seeming ease. Her “Come scoglio” is fearless in its attacks, accurate and strong, with beautiful softening of the tone as required—though listeners should be aware that her perfectly deployed “white column of sound” usually pleased Teutonic audiences better than Anglo-American ones. The Dorabella, Janis Martin, is Stich-Randall’s
opposite. She aspirates and slides up to notes occasionally, and her rounder tones reveal the edgy beginnings of a wobble. Martin has the notes for “Smanie implacabili,” though they don’t sound especially secure, and she pushes for greater volume.
Werner Krenn is an excellent Ferrando. He displays exemplary phrasing and elegant dynamics. His “Un aura amorosa” is a lovely thing of many shades, reflecting passion on an intimate scale. He possesses a relatively good feeling for the language, and does a fine job expressing anger and rejection in his scene with Fiordiligi, “Barbara! Perché fuggi?” As Guglielmo, Victor Conrad Braun is more stolid. His pronunciation is a bit off, and though he can soften his voice well, there’s little theatrical or musical imagination to this performance.
I hadn’t had an opportunity to hear Carlos Feller before this recording arrived. He has a curious voice, a high, light bass, with a flicker vibrato, little resonance, and good flexibility. For pure sound, the nearest analogy would be some of the finer Italian basses recorded at the turn-of-the-20th-century. Feller relishes the Italian and uses it to great advantage, as in the terzetto, “Soave sia il vento”—though Martin spoils the effect by increasing the volume. Adriana Martino’s voice, by contrast, is a bit heavy for Despina, and loses its center in the lower notes of the part. She’s also at times short on breath, but generally good in her phrasing, even if she feels it’s necessary (as some Despinas do) to use a nasal faux voice when disguised.
The performance employs traditional cuts that include a couple of recitatives and, more regrettably, “Tradito, schernito.” The sound is very good for a RAI tape of the period, though I question the need to remove all the applause at the end of each number (with only one or two exceptions) because it’s audible. Balance is excellent, with voices slightly recessed behind the orchestra. The Italian libretto is provided (with several errors of spelling), but, alas, no English translation.
We can only regret that Maag never did live to make that late Così fan tutte he desired. However, this one will definitely do as a memorial to a fine talent that received less attention from the big record companies than he deserved.
Barry Brenesal, FANFARE
Works on This Recording
Così fan tutte, K 588 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Janis Martin (Soprano),
Werner Krenn (Tenor),
Victor Braun (Baritone),
Teresa Stich-Randall (Soprano),
Carlos Feller (Bass),
Adriane Martino (Mezzo Soprano)
Italian Radio Symphony Orchestra Rome,
Italian Radio Chorus Rome
Written: 1790; Vienna, Austria
Date of Recording: 06/13/1967
Venue: Live Rome, Italy
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