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Giordano: Andrea Chenier / De Fabritiis, Gigli, Caniglia

Release Date: 08/05/2008 
Label:  Emi Studio Catalog #: 69996   Spars Code: ADD 
Composer:  Umberto Giordano
Performer:  Gino BechiMaria HuderGiulietta SimionatoVittoria Palombini,   ... 
Conductor:  Oliviero de Fabritiis
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala OrchestraMilan Teatro alla Scala Chorus
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Mono 
Length: 1 Hours 46 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Recorded in November 1941, this recording of Giordano’s claim to fame has, in my opinion, never been surpassed, except sonically (he never understood why this particular opera succeeded and his others faded—yes, I know Fedora has its admirers). Although fans of Franco Corelli and Mario del Monaco (I like their Chéniers, too) may find Gigli a little short on power, his intensity makes up for it, and the only Chénier on records who can match him in the quiet, lyrical moments is Alain Vanzo, who really is short on power. Gigli’s performance nearly encompasses all aspects of the role—he’s the very personification of the impassioned, idealistic poet. Maria Caniglia makes the most of her opportunities as Maddalena and, because Read more verismo opera is right in her temperamental and vocal zone, she sounds more comfortable in the role than Montserrat Caballé, is more dramatically charged than Renata Tebaldi and Caballé, and has a bigger voice than Renata Scotto, her most formidable rivals. To hear the big, rugged voice of Gino Bechi in 1941 is both a pleasure and a frustration. He was only in his mid-twenties in 1941 and yet, as far as major opera recordings go, his career was over by 1950. He must have abused his voice or battled illness. I’ll repeat an anecdote about him that I related in a previous review. When he came on the Italian opera scene in the 1930s, he was hailed as a “new Tita Ruffo.” Some friends of the legendary baritone urged him to hear this new phenomenon, so Ruffo went to one of Bechi’s performances After it, he said to his friends, “You’re right, he is like me . . . he has all my bad habits!” Maybe that explains his demise. Anyway, here is a great voice powered by an unsubtle sensibility—but what a voice it was! Giulietta Simionato and Giuseppe Taddei, who also appear on this recording in smaller roles, were actually contemporaries of his. Simionato came to the recording session expecting to sing Madelon, only to find that she had been switched to the less important part of the Countess di Coigny. Taddei doubles as Fléville and Fouquier-Tinville. Roucher is sung by Italo Tajo. All of their careers took off just as Bechi’s was winding down. The orchestra and chorus of La Scala are led by Oliviero di Fabritiis, who has the music in his bones.

-- James Miller, Fanfare [reviewing a reissue of this recording; 7-8/2004]
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Works on This Recording

Andrea Chénier by Umberto Giordano
Performer:  Gino Bechi (Baritone), Maria Huder (Mezzo Soprano), Giulietta Simionato (Mezzo Soprano),
Vittoria Palombini (Mezzo Soprano), Italo Tajo (Bass), Leone Paci (Bass),
Gino Conti (Bass), Maria Caniglia (Soprano), Adelio Zagonara (Tenor),
Giuseppe Taddei (Baritone), Beniamino Gigli (Tenor)
Conductor:  Oliviero de Fabritiis
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Chorus
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1896; Italy 
Date of Recording: 11/1941 
Venue:  Milan, Italy 
Length: 106 Minutes 58 Secs. 
Language: Italian 

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