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Early Verdi Arias / Lucia Aliberti


Release Date: 08/13/2013 
Label:  Challenge   Catalog #: 72589   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Lucia Aliberti
Conductor:  Oleg Caetani
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Giuseppe Verdi Symphony OrchestraVerdi Chorus Milan
Number of Discs: 1 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews



VERDI Arias from I vespri Siciliani, I masnadieri, Alzira, Attila, Aroldo, I Lombardi alla prima crociata, Giovanna d’Arco, Un giorno di regno, La battaglia di Legnano, Ernani, I due Foscari, Macbeth Lucia Aliberti (sop); Oleg Caetani, cond; Giuseppe Verdi SO & Ch of Milan CHALLENGE 72589 (74:07 Text and Translation)


One thing that anyone takes away who listens to early Verdi, such as the soprano arias recorded here, is that the young Read more composer was working firmly in the bel canto genre. He was, after all, a contemporary and competitor of Donizetti in Italian opera houses, and had certainly grown up listening to the music of Rossini and Bellini. In fact, the older Rossini, looking after his Italian colleagues, was instrumental in getting the young Verdi commissions in the important opera center of Paris. Many of the major arias heard here are two-part in the bel canto style: an opening section, usually rather languid and beautiful, followed (usually with some small intervening interruption in the opera) by a vigorous, fast-tempo cabaletta where singers are expected to show off their voices with coloratura passages, fast runs, interval leaps, trills, and other vocal pyrotechnics. The vocalists are most usually called upon to add ornamentation of their own between the written notes, and interpolate more spectacular high notes if they have the range. It is one of Verdi’s marks of genius that he learned this style as a student and young man and, like Mozart and Rossini before him, began to adapt the musical form to fit his own dramatic needs in his more mature work. Verdi eventually moved away from the two-part arias and other bel canto hallmarks to create new forms and new styles later in his career. Anyone who listens to Verdi’s Otello will not confuse it with Rossini’s version of the same story; one is a well-crafted bel canto score, the other a 19th-century masterpiece by a composer who has moved light years beyond the earlier style.


But here we get an assortment of the quite delightful and less often heard opera arias of early Verdi. It is a wealth of vocal material surprisingly unplumbed by other singers seeking recital material. Only Montserrat Caballé of noted sopranos seems to have more than infrequently delved into this repertoire on vocal recordings. Having just completed a six-month stint reviewing new video versions of most of these operas, I can personally attest to the felicity and quality of Verdi’s early vocal music, particularly for soprano, since they are the prima divas, the vocal stars of bel canto. The music selections here span Verdi’s self-named “galley years” and a bit beyond, from his second opera, Un giorno di regno, from 1840, through Les vêpres siciliennes, from 1855 (the selection is sung in Italian). The aria for Mina in Aroldo is actually later, 1857, but the music is from the earlier opera Stiffelio, first heard in 1850. Only the Brindisi from Macbeth and the Bolero from Les vêpres siciliennes could be termed well-known and of the standard soprano repertoire.


The lovely Lucia Aliberti is not a new singer on the scene; she is entering the middle or later stages of a career seen primarily in European venues. She has gained notoriety in the past, and perhaps some unwarranted approbation in these pages, for looking like, and sometimes startlingly sounding like, the late Maria Callas. That said, she sings very enjoyably here, in material seldom, if ever, visited by Callas (the late diva did sing the two more popular pieces mentioned above). Aliberti’s soprano voice is pleasant, if not beautiful, and she sings very well, with top notes firmly in place and able to be spun softly when required. Yes, I too was startled in one or two passages by her eerie vocal resemblance to Callas, particularly in her chest voice, but her stylization is all her own; she does not copy the older singer. Aliberti has agility of voice and the range to provide good Verdian bel canto technique, although she keeps it a bit safe, venturing not far from the vocal line, offering few interpolations and only modest ornamentation of her own. (It is a legitimate reading; as Verdi moved along in his career, he grew less and less enamored of sopranos going off into self-absorbed vocal fireworks.) It all adds up to quite a nice package, apropos for the Verdi bicentenary. (This recording was originally released on BMG/RCA in 2008.) It is lovely, if obscure, music that deserves wider circulation, sung very enjoyably here. Aliberti would have been a welcome cast addition in many of the early Verdi opera sets I have lately reviewed; she certainly out-sings many of those sopranos here. The disc is packaged in a high-quality hardbound booklet with excellent liner notes and texts in Italian only. Recommended.


FANFARE: Bill White    
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Works on This Recording

1.
Un giorno di regno: Non vo' quel vecchio by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Lucia Aliberti (Soprano)
Conductor:  Oleg Caetani
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Giuseppe Verdi Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1840; Italy 
2.
Un giorno di regno: Non san quant' io nel petto by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Lucia Aliberti (Soprano)
Conductor:  Oleg Caetani
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Giuseppe Verdi Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1840; Italy 
3.
Macbeth: Si colmi il calici by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Lucia Aliberti (Soprano)
Conductor:  Oleg Caetani
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Giuseppe Verdi Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1847 
4.
La battaglia di Legnano: Quante volte come un dono by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Lucia Aliberti (Soprano)
Conductor:  Oleg Caetani
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Giuseppe Verdi Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1849; Italy 
5.
I vespri siciliani: Mercè, dilette amiche "Bolero" by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Lucia Aliberti (Soprano)
Conductor:  Oleg Caetani
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Giuseppe Verdi Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1855; Italy 
6.
I masnadieri: Tu del mio Carlo...Carlo vive by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Lucia Aliberti (Soprano)
Conductor:  Oleg Caetani
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Giuseppe Verdi Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1847; Italy 
7.
I masnadieri: Carlo vive? by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Lucia Aliberti (Soprano)
Conductor:  Oleg Caetani
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Giuseppe Verdi Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
8.
Giovanna d'Arco: Sempre all' alba by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Lucia Aliberti (Soprano)
Conductor:  Oleg Caetani
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Giuseppe Verdi Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1845; Italy 
9.
Ernani: Ernani, involami...Tutto sprezzo by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Lucia Aliberti (Soprano)
Conductor:  Oleg Caetani
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Giuseppe Verdi Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1844; Italy 
10.
Attila: Da te questa or m'è concesso by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Lucia Aliberti (Soprano)
Conductor:  Oleg Caetani
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Giuseppe Verdi Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1846; Italy 
11.
Aroldo: Ah! Dagli scanni eterei by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Lucia Aliberti (Soprano)
Conductor:  Oleg Caetani
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Giuseppe Verdi Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1857; Italy 
12.
Alzira: Da Gusman, su fragil Barca by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Lucia Aliberti (Soprano)
Conductor:  Oleg Caetani
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Giuseppe Verdi Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1845; Italy 
13.
Alzira: Nell’astro che piu fulgido by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Lucia Aliberti (Soprano)
Conductor:  Oleg Caetani
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Giuseppe Verdi Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1845; Italy 
14.
Attila: Allor che i forti corrono by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Lucia Aliberti (Soprano)
Conductor:  Oleg Caetani
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Verdi Chorus Milan,  Milan Giuseppe Verdi Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1846; Italy 
15.
Aroldo: Ah, dal sen di quella tomba by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Lucia Aliberti (Soprano)
Conductor:  Oleg Caetani
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Giuseppe Verdi Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1857; Italy 
16.
I lombardi: Se vano é il pregare by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Lucia Aliberti (Soprano)
Conductor:  Oleg Caetani
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Giuseppe Verdi Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: Italy 
17.
I lombardi: I vinti sorgono by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Lucia Aliberti (Soprano)
Conductor:  Oleg Caetani
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Giuseppe Verdi Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: Italy 
18.
La battaglia di Legnano: A frenarti, o cor by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Lucia Aliberti (Soprano)
Conductor:  Oleg Caetani
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Giuseppe Verdi Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1849; Italy 
19.
I due Foscari: Tu al cui sguardo onnipossente by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Lucia Aliberti (Soprano)
Conductor:  Oleg Caetani
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Giuseppe Verdi Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1844; Italy 
20.
I due Foscari: O patrizi, tremate by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Lucia Aliberti (Soprano)
Conductor:  Oleg Caetani
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Giuseppe Verdi Symphony Orchestra

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 Learning this rep all over again November 22, 2013 By A. Paradis (Toronto, ON) See All My Reviews "After hearing several greats sing different portions of this repertoire (on record and live) over the years, it's first and foremost simply quite neat to have so many early Verdi soprano arias on one disc. Better still, the singer is of the highest calibre and has turned her early career bel canto talents to Verdi in this special year. The voice hasn't its 1980s freshness, but the deft handling of difficult passaqework and filigree lines is simply remarkably clean and sustained and sometimes may take your breath away (though Aliberti herself never seems out of breath!). Something great for early Verdi fans, but also for voice lovers. I do recommend this one as a treat for those looking for new repertoire to love." Report Abuse
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