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Verdi: Aida / Barbirolli, Callas, Baum, Simionato, Et Al

Release Date: 04/12/2005 
Label:  Testament   Catalog #: 1355   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Giulietta SimionatoJess WaltersGiulio NeriMichael Langdon,   ... 
Conductor:  Sir John Barbirolli
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Orchestra
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Mono 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

from Tony Locantro's liner notes:
"When he came to conduct Verdi’s Aida at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, on 4 June 1953, Sir John Barbirolli was no stranger either to the venue or to the work. But there was a new element in an otherwise familiar equation that night and that was the soprano, then known as Maria Meneghini Callas and one of the most exciting singers of the day...And so it was that during a busy season at Covent Garden honouring the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in the summer of 1953, Barbirolli and Callas performed Aida together, in a repertory production which had been seen many times, usually with a minimum amount of rehearsal, and “mix and match” casts of varying quality from both the
Read more international scene and the local company. This time, however, all the roles were cast from strength and it was intended to be something of a gala event...whatever it was that bedevilled the performance on the opening night, things had improved beyond all recognition by the third and final Aida on 10 June, which is the one heard here. In general the rapport between the pit and the stage is exemplary, and Callas is in excellent vocal form, with hardly any sign of the faults complained about by the critics. John Ardoin, in his highly perceptive book The Callas Legacy (Duckworth, fourth edition 1995), especially comments on ‘the vivid, alive and polished playing of the Covent Garden orchestra under Sir John Barbirolli’. He goes on to say: “Having an Aida by Sir John is almost of equal importance to discovering an unknown Callas performance. While there are no rocketing top E-flats launched by Callas in the Triumphal Scene [as in Mexico City previously], she is generally in secure, exciting voice throughout the performance. Words are thrillingly underlined, top notes are wonderfully free..." - Tony Locantro, 2004

"...in many ways a performance that outshines her studio recordings." - Penguin Guide to Classical Compact Discs & DVDs
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Works on This Recording

Aida by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Giulietta Simionato (Mezzo Soprano), Jess Walters (Baritone), Giulio Neri (Bass),
Michael Langdon (Bass), Dame Joan Sutherland (Soprano), Hector Thomas (Tenor),
Maria Callas (Soprano), Kurt Baum (Tenor)
Conductor:  Sir John Barbirolli
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1871; Italy 
Date of Recording: 6/10/1953 
Venue:  Royal Opera House, Covent Garden 

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