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Puccini: Il Trittico / Maazel, Cotrubas, Scotto, Horne, Gobbi, New Philharmonia, London Symphony Orchestra


Release Date: 11/22/2011 
Label:  Sony   Catalog #: 7527292   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Giacomo Puccini
Performer:  Tito GobbiPlacido DomingoRenata ScottoIleana Cotrubas,   ... 
Conductor:  Lorin Maazel
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony OrchestraAmbrosian Opera ChorusPhilharmonia Orchestra
Number of Discs: 3 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Rather as I expected, the reissue of Lorin Maazel's three recent recordings of Puccini's one-acters as a co-ordinated box of the Trittico sharply brings out the conductor's distinctive approach. It is an approach which is typified by the very start of Gianni Schicchi, where there is an almost Stravinskian sharpness in the ostinato rhythms. Generally Maazel's concessions to romantic expressiveness are calculated rather than obviously warm. This degree of severity has the merit of underlining the musical cogency of all three pieces, splendid examples of Puccini's mastery at his high maturity, and Suor Angelica—wrongly regarded for far too long as a limp piece of sentimentality —benefits just as much as either of the others with the succeeding Read more climaxes spaced in carefully balanced relationship.

The snag is that particularly with CBS's somewhat close recording balance, the atmospheric qualities of each opera—which some Puccinians would regard as among their highest merits—are underplayed. When I first reviewed Il tabarro, this absence of essential atmosphere made me give a less charitable review than I would now. Hearing it in context with the other performances, it is refreshing and invigorating to have a taut and relatively unyielding view of a fine score, even while one misses the dark evocations of the scene under a bridge of the Seine in Paris, which other versions so vividly capture.

The other gain from hearing the performances together is to have the dominance of Renata Scotto reinforced in both It tabarro and Suor Angelica. In Il tabarro neither Placido Domingo as Luigi (not quite in his warmest voice) nor Ingvar Wixell as the bargemaster Michele (rather too gritty-toned as recorded) is exactly a cipher, but Renata Scotto consistently focuses the centre of involvement with her dramatic and finely detailed singing.

In Gianni Schicchi the central pivot is provided of course by the contribution of the veteran Tito Gobbi, and though there may be some signs of the voice not being as young as it was, it is a deeply satisfying performance, as fine in its way as the classic one he recorded for HMV 20 years earlier. That HMV version is included in the boxed reissue set of Il trittico which appeared two years ago (SLS5066, 10/76), with all three operas given marvellous performances but with very dated recording and only Schicchi in stereo. The Decca set under Gardelli (SET 236-8, 12/62) is more idiomatic in performance than this Maazel CBS issue, and the sixties recording is amazingly bright and full for its age. But the new issue, controversial as it may be in some ways, is certainly refreshing, and should in particular win converts among those who still regard Puccini as merely soft and sentimental.

-- Gramophone [8/1978, reviewing the LP release of Il Trittico]
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Works on This Recording

1. Il Trittico by Giacomo Puccini
Performer:  Tito Gobbi (Baritone), Placido Domingo (Tenor), Renata Scotto (Soprano),
Ileana Cotrubas (Soprano), Marilyn Horne (Mezzo Soprano), Ingvar Wixell (Baritone)
Conductor:  Lorin Maazel
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  Ambrosian Opera Chorus,  Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1918; Italy 
Language: Italian 
2. Il Tabarro by Giacomo Puccini
Performer:  Ingvar Wixell (Baritone), Placido Domingo (Tenor), Renata Scotto (Soprano)
Conductor:  Lorin Maazel
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  Ambrosian Opera Chorus,  Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1918; Italy 
Language: Italian 
3. Suor Angelica by Giacomo Puccini
Performer:  Marilyn Horne (Mezzo Soprano), Renata Scotto (Soprano)
Conductor:  Lorin Maazel
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  Ambrosian Opera Chorus,  Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1918; Italy 
Language: Italian 
4. Gianni Schicchi by Giacomo Puccini
Performer:  Tito Gobbi (Baritone), Ileana Cotrubas (Soprano)
Conductor:  Lorin Maazel
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  Ambrosian Opera Chorus,  Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1918; Italy 
Language: Italian 

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 Warning: No libretto, just synopses in English, F February 21, 2013 By B. Wade (Lafayette, CA) See All My Reviews "Warning: No libretto, just synopses in English, French, and German" Report Abuse
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