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Gluck: Orfeo Ed Euridice / Fasano, Verrett, Moffo, Raskin

Release Date: 07/19/2007 
Label:  Rca Victor Gold Seal Catalog #: 7896   Spars Code: ADD 
Composer:  Christoph W. Gluck
Performer:  Anna MoffoShirley VerrettJudith Raskin
Conductor:  Renato Fasano
Orchestra/Ensemble:  I Virtuosi di RomaCollegium Musicum Italicum
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 2 Hours 10 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

This recording of Orfeo dates back 25 years. It was much admired in its day, and may still be. It presents a traditional composite version of the score, incorporating most of the Paris additions (but not the bravura aria for Orfeo at the end of Act 1) with the alto voice and the key-scheme to go with it from the Viennese-Italian version: an understandable attempt to get the best of every world. Shirley Verrett makes a deeply impressive Orfeo, firm and pure in sound, classically restrained in expression; and her ''Che faro'', at a moderate, beautifully judged speed, is very finely sung, poised and quietly moving. The many other good moments include ''Che puro ciel'', done with a real sense of wonderment, to sounds of delicious refinement Read more from the orchestra. Anna Moffo provides a competent, not specially interesting Euridice and there is an Amor of real charm and style from the late Judith Raskin.

The set is conducted by Renato Fasano, whose pacing of the score shows a very sure touch. The dance music has a grace and lightness, and a stylistic command, that one might not have expected from an orchestra which in those days seemed to be fed chiefly on a diet of Vivaldi. Their Gluck playing is first-rate; nowadays we tend to phrase this music in less long-breathed a way, but this performance is of its time and represents its time persuasively. There is an excellent chorus, singing in their native tongue—a real advantage.

Anybody wanting a traditional mixed text of Orfeo should, I think, consider this version very seriously. The immediate competitor is of course the recent Haenchen set, with Jochen Kowalski (Capriccio/Target), whose smooth yet passionate singing is undeniably impressive; but taken all round I am inclined to recommend the Verrett on the strength of the direction and supporting cast to anyone wanting this text and certainly to anyone who is not happy with a male alto as Orfeo. My own preference, among all current performances, remains with the Kuijken set on Accent, on period instruments and offering a 'pure' text, but I realize that it will not be to everyone's taste.

-- Stanley Sadie, Gramophone
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Works on This Recording

Orfeo ed Euridice by Christoph W. Gluck
Performer:  Anna Moffo (Soprano), Shirley Verrett (Mezzo Soprano), Judith Raskin (Soprano)
Conductor:  Renato Fasano
Orchestra/Ensemble:  I Virtuosi di Roma,  Collegium Musicum Italicum
Period: Classical 
Written: 1762/1774; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 1965 
Length: 129 Minutes 46 Secs. 
Language: Italian 
Notes: Composition written: Vienna, Austria (1762).
Composition revised: Paris, France (1774). 

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