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Verdi: Falstaff, Etc / De Sabata, Serafin,Stabile, Et Al


Release Date: 08/27/2002 
Label:  Music & Arts Programs Of America Catalog #: 1104   Spars Code: AAD 
Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Paolo SilveriCesare VallettiGiuseppe NessiRosanna Carteri,   ... 
Conductor:  Victor De SabataTullio Serafin
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala OrchestraMilan Teatro alla Scala ChorusOrchestra,   ... 
Number of Discs: 4 
Recorded in: Mono 
Length: 4 Hours 10 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

The Victor De Sabata Falstaff has long been available elsewhere; apparently its date--May 26, 1952--has been previously misreported as May 26, 1951 (alert the authorities). The other performance presented here, an apparent studio recording from Rome on April 28, 1941 and led by Tullio Serafin, comes from the collection of the German Radio Archive in Frankfurt and appears here for the first time. It is missing the end of the first act from about one minute into the Honor Monologue, the start of the Windsor Forest Scene, picking up immediately after Fenton's aria, and the bit leading up to and including most of the final fugue. The Otello and Aida excerpts (Love Duet and Credo from the former, third-act Aida/Radames duet to end of act from Read more the latter) date from 1938--the former from Milan, the latter from Florence, both live performances under De Sabata.

Both Falstaffs boast Mariano Stabile in the title role and he is simply remarkable. Without ever resorting to cheap tricks, weird rhythms, or unmusical whisperings or shoutings, he has more "face" than any other recorded Falstaff. The false dignity and pride, the outrageous lack of self knowledge (he genuinely thinks he is a "grand seduttore"), the arrogance and cowardliness, and ultimately, the capitulation are all vivid and right-on. The ripeness of the voice in the later performance (by which time he had sung the role more than 1200 times during a period of 30 years) is never a detriment; indeed, so canny is his ability with text, note values, and phrasing, that there's virtually no audible difference in vocal quality from the 1941 to 1951 readings. Each is a gem.


Cloe Elmo appears as Mistress Quickly in both performances, and she too is close to definitive--colorful, rich, funny--and if anything even better later than earlier. Renata Tebaldi's Alice in '52 is a delight; Franca Somigli's in '41 shows a less distinguished sound but perhaps a greater sense of fun. Neither Nannetta is ideal. Rosanna Carteri is listed in the role here under De Sabata, whereas previous releases have indicated Alda Noni; I believe Noni is correct. Whomever, she's not very good, but is better than Augusta Oltrabella under Serafin, who sounds slightly like Santuzza. The Megs are good, but as usual with this role they tend to get lost in the shuffle.


Both Fentons are caught very early in their careers and are wonderful; pity that Ferrucio Tagliavini's aria is missing. As Ford, Paolo Silveri is fine, but Tito Gobbi, just starting out in '41, is dynamite, singing with great insights and that odd timbre that was decidedly his and his alone. Both conductors have nothing to learn and can stand tall with Toscanini; both are better, say, than the have-fun-or-die Solti, the buttoned-down Karajan, or the joyless Giulini. The 1941 sound is better than the '52. You can't go wrong here. The bonuses are great: Gigli and Cigna are a passionate pair of Middle-Easterners, and the Merli/Caniglia Otello Love Duet has to be heard to be believed: taking a full two minutes longer than the longest on CD, it is hypnotic and ravishing. Piero Biasini, a baritone unknown to me, is an exciting Iago. This release, at four CDs for the price of two, is priceless.
--Robert Levine, ClassicsToday.com Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Falstaff by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Paolo Silveri (Baritone), Cesare Valletti (Tenor), Giuseppe Nessi (Tenor),
Rosanna Carteri (Soprano), Mariano Caruso (Tenor), Anna Maria Canali (Mezzo Soprano),
Cloe Elmo (Mezzo Soprano), Renata Tebaldi (Soprano), Mariano Stabile (Baritone),
Italo Tajo (Bass)
Conductor:  Victor De Sabata
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Chorus
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1893; Italy 
Date of Recording: 05/26/1952 
Venue:  Live  La Scala Theater, Milan, Italy 
Length: 200 Minutes 56 Secs. 
Language: Italian 
2.
Falstaff by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Vittorico Palambini (Mezzo Soprano), Mariano Stabile (Baritone), Tito Gobbi (Baritone),
Ferruccio Tagliavini (Tenor), Adelio Zagonara (Tenor), Cesare Masini Sperti (Tenor),
Franca Somigli (Soprano), Augusta Oltrabella (Soprano), Cloe Elmo (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  Tullio Serafin
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1893; Italy 
Date of Recording: 04/28/1941 
Length: 205 Minutes 57 Secs. 
Language: Italian 
Notes: This selection is an incomplete recording of the opera. Some fragments of this performance were lost. 
3.
Aida: Pur ti riveggo...Lŕ tra le foreste vergini by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Gina Cigna (Soprano), Beniamino Gigli (Tenor)
Conductor:  Victor De Sabata
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Florence Teatro Comunale Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1871; Italy 
Date of Recording: 05/14/1938 
Length: 8 Minutes 0 Secs. 
Language: Italian 
4.
Aida: Aida!... Tu non m'ami... Va! by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Gina Cigna (Soprano), Beniamino Gigli (Tenor)
Conductor:  Victor De Sabata
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Florence Teatro Comunale Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1871; Italy 
Date of Recording: 05/14/1938 
Length: 2 Minutes 50 Secs. 
Language: Italian 
5.
Aida: Ma dimmi; per qual via by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Gina Cigna (Soprano), Beniamino Gigli (Tenor)
Conductor:  Victor De Sabata
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Florence Teatro Comunale Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1871; Italy 
Date of Recording: 05/14/1938 
Length: 3 Minutes 17 Secs. 
Language: Italian 
6.
Otello: Giŕ nella notte densa by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Maria Caniglia (Soprano), Francesco Merli (Tenor)
Conductor:  Victor De Sabata
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1887; Italy 
Date of Recording: 02/01/1938 
Length: 12 Minutes 36 Secs. 
Language: Italian 
7.
Otello: Credo in un Dio crudel by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Piero Biasini (Baritone)
Conductor:  Victor De Sabata
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1887; Italy 
Date of Recording: 04/28/1941 
Length: 7 Minutes 20 Secs. 
Language: Italian 
Notes: This selection begins with "Vanne, la tua meta..." 

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