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Puccini: Il Trittico / Maazel, Scotto, Domingo, Cotrubas


Release Date: 09/14/2009 
Label:  Cbs Masterworks Catalog #: 79312   Spars Code: ADD 
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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This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.

Notes and Editorial Reviews

It's refreshing and invigorating to have a taut unyielding view of a fine score. This recording should win converts among those who still regard Puccini as merely soft and sentimental.

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,
Read more 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 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 )
 'Mini-Puccini' February 1, 2014 By Henry S. (Springfield, VA) See All My Reviews "Il Trittico consists of 3 short one-act operas, each lasting slightly less than one hour. According to the explanatory essays accompanying this very worthwhile recording, Puccini's original concept was to have all three performed back to back in one evening (just think of the demands on the stage crews!). Given 3 separate and distinct librettos, it thus becomes a bit more understandable why Il Trittico as a whole has not fared particularly well in terms of public enthusiasm over the years. However, in this late 1970's recording, Lorin Maazel leads 2 London orchestras and an accomplished cast of singers in a largely successful effort to show that Puccini really knew what he was doing after all. If there is a single thematic idea expressed in Il Tabarro, Suor Angelica, and Gianni Schicchi, it is the idea of death and how it can be considered musically. Each opera uses the theme in a distinctly different way, which establishes a legitimate rationale for hearing the entire trilogy. Il Tabarro is a straightforward, gritty story of revenge murder resulting from presumed marital infidelity, while Suor Angelica is the poignant story of a morally disgraced nun who commits suicide, yet achieves salvation in the end. Finally, Gianni Schicchi clearly is the most innovative of the 3 operas. With no overture and no choral component, the libretto tells the story of an early Renaissance blue collar trickster, whose ingenuity and sleight-of-hand maneuvers cheat a grieving Italian family out of its entire inheritance after its wealthy, aristocratic patriarch dies. Perhaps Puccini's only real attempt at comic opera, Gianni Schicchi is a very interesting tale full of sarcasm and trickery, and this is probably the reason why it historically has been the most popular of the three. Schicchi truly breaks the Puccini mold, because one clearly noticeable characteristic is the lack of the glorious, soaring arias and duets/ensembles which are such a trademark of the larger Puccini works. Overall, these 3 operas present an intriguing side of Puccini, and Lorin Maazel's forces do a very nice job. All things considered, I do not think Il Trittico quite measures up to the standards Puccini set in his great full-length operas. There are few bravura, soaring melodies made to order for soprano and tenors in any of the operas, and the melodic content is noticeably more subdued compared to.... La Boheme, for instance. Still, Il Trittico should satisfy the average opera fan, and this nice recording definitely will do that." Report Abuse
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