Notes and Editorial Reviews
Richard Bonynge, cond; Joan Sutherland (
); Marilyn Horne (
); Joseph Rouleau (
); John Serge (
); Patricia Clark (
); Spiro Malas (
); Michael Langdon (
); Ambrosian Op Ch; London SO
DECCA 475 7918 (3 CDs: 168:15
This first commercial recording of
was issued on LP in 1966 and has been previously available on CD. It features two of the major artists who participated in the revival of long-neglected
operas, Joan Sutherland and Marilyn Horne. Although there are several cuts made in the performance, these two wonderful artists make the set worthwhile.
Experienced readers of
can read Ralph V. Lucano’s two reviews of the more contemporary recordings of this opera in
17:4 and in 18:1. In reviewing the first complete recording issued on FonitCetra, Lucano rates the previous issues including this one, and agrees that every Rossini-lover should have it for the brilliance of the two leading sopranos, even though the rest of the cast is not up to their standard. Neither Jon Serge, Spiro Malas, nor Joseph Rouleau are true Rossini singers. They are simply competent. The sound is first rate for this time period. The booklet contains a libretto with English translation, but no notes.
Being a Rossini admirer, I have in my collection all of the recordings of this opera. Each one has its value. Joan Sutherland sang in the revival at La Scala in 1962—along with Giulietta Simionato, Gianni Raimondi, and Vladmiro Ganzarolli, conducted by Gabriele Santini—that was released on LP by EJS. Another fine performance was issued on CD by Standing Room Only, featuring Montserrat Caballé, Francisco Araiza, and Samuel Ramey, conducted by Jesus Lopez-Cobos. None of these recordings was totally complete; standard cuts were made.
The two modern recordings both have positive values. The critical complete edition by Alberto Zedda was issued on FonitCetra. While neither Iamo Tamar nor Gloria Sachi is up to the standards of Sutherland and Horne, Gregory Kunde is a fine Idreno and Michele Petrusi a good Assur. I agree with Ralph V. Lucano that the Deutsche Grammophon recording is the best one. It is also complete. Cheryl Studer is an excellent Semiramide, and Jennifer Larmore almost equals Horne in the role of Arsace. Samuel Ramey is the best Assur on records, and Frank Lopardo is an acceptable Idreno. Ion Marin’s tempos are at times rather fast, but the orchestra and chorus are both excellent.
All Rossini-lovers who do not have this recording should acquire it. Sutherland and Horne are so magnificent that—despite the cuts and simply competent male singers—it is highly desirable.
FANFARE: Bob Rose
Works on This Recording
Semiramide by Gioachino Rossini
Michael Langdon (Bass),
Dame Joan Sutherland (Soprano),
Marilyn Horne (Mezzo Soprano),
Joseph Rouleau (Bass),
John Serge (Tenor),
Spiro Malas (Bass),
Patricia Clark (Soprano),
Leslie Fyson (Tenor)
London Symphony Orchestra,
Ambrosian Opera Chorus
Written: 1823; Italy
Date of Recording: 1966
Venue: Walthamstow Town Hall, London
Length: 168 Minutes 15 Secs.
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