Notes and Editorial Reviews
After the hype surrounding Pavarotti’s first and, to date, only complete performances and recording of the demanding title role at concerts to mark Solti’s retirement as music director of the Chicago Symphony, I feared that Solti’s earlier (1977) and infinitely better studio recording would never be transferred to CD. Well here it is, and if anything it sounds even finer than I had remembered.
Although the recording was made in Vienna, Solti had performed Otello at the Paris Opera with the same three principals and the performance has a theatrical atmosphere which I find completely absent from the Chicago version. Carlo Cossutta was, for a time in the Seventies, the only really acceptable alternative to Jon Vickers and
Plácido Domingo as Otello, and he has advantages over both: a more authentically ‘Italianate’ timbre – dark and baritonal like Vickers’s, warm and Mediterranean like Domingo’s – and a native delivery of the text. He is also more musical than the other great Italian Otello of the postwar period, Del Monaco.
Bacquier was always a controversial Iago, more notable for his intellect and understanding of character than for his vocal endowments, but as Iago this makes him preferable to all but two of his recorded rivals: Giuseppe Valdengo (RCA/Toscanini) and Tito Gobbi (RCA/Serafin).
The glory of the set is Margaret Price’s Desdemona, the most beautifully sung, the most moving and musical I know. The set is worth buying for her alone. It goes without saying that the small parts are strongly taken (albeit by non-Italians), that the orchestral playing and chorus are superb and the recording is excellent. Not my favourite Otello – that would be Serafin’s version – but it ranks high alongside Toscanini and Levine (also RCA).
Performance: 5 (out of 5); Sound: 4 (out of 5)
-- Hugh Canning, BBC Music Magazine
Reviewing original release of this recording
Works on This Recording
Otello by Giuseppe Verdi
Kurt Moll (Bass),
Hans Helm (Baritone),
Kurt Equiluz (Tenor),
Peter Dvorsky (Tenor),
Stafford Dean (Bass),
Carlo Cossutta (Tenor),
Jane Berbié (Mezzo soprano),
Gabriel Bacquier (Baritone),
Margaret Price (Soprano)
Sir Georg Solti
Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,
Vienna State Opera Chorus,
Vienna Boys' Choir
Written: 1887; Italy
Date of Recording: 1977
Venue: Sofiensaal, Vienna
Otello / Act 1: Una vela! Una vela!
Otello / Act 1: Esultate!
Otello / Act 1: Roderigo, ebben che pensi?
Otello / Act 1: Fuoco di gioia!
Otello / Act 1: Roderigo, beviam!
Otello / Act 1: Inaffia l'ugola! Trinca, tracanna (Brindisi)
Otello / Act 1: Capitano, v'attende la fazione ai baluardi
Otello / Act 1: "Abbasso le spade!"
Otello / Act 1: Già nella notte densa...Venga la morte
Otello / Act 3: Il Doge ed il Senato salutano
Otello / Act 2: Non ti crucciar
Otello / Act 2: Vanne! la tua meta già vedo
Otello / Act 3: Messeri! Il Doge
Otello / Act 3: "A terra!...si...nel livido fango"
Otello / Act 2: Credo in un Dio crudel
Otello / Act 2: Ciò m'accora
Otello / Act 3: Quell' innocente un fremito
Otello / Act 2: Dove guardi splendono
Otello / Act 2: D'un uom che geme sotto il tuo disdegno
Otello / Act 4: Era più calmo?
Otello / Act 4: Mia madre aveva una povera ancella
Otello / Act 2: Se inconscia, contro te, sposo, ho peccato
Otello / Act 2: Desdemona rea!
Otello / Act 4: "Piangea cantando nell'erma landa..."
Otello / Act 4: "Ave Maria, piena di grazia"
Otello / Act 2: Tu?! Indietro! fuggi!
Otello / Act 2: Ora e per sempre addio
Otello / Act 4: (Otello compare)
Otello / Act 2: Pace, signor
Otello / Act 2: Era la notte, Cassio dormia
Otello / Act 2: Oh! mostruosa colpa!...Ah! mille vite
Otello / Act 2: Si, pel ciel marmoreo giuro!
Otello / Act 3: La vedetta del porto
Otello / Act 3: Dio ti giocondi, o sposo
Otello / Act 3: Esterrefatta fisso
Otello / Act 3: Dio! mi potevi scagliar
Otello / Act 3: Cassio è là!
Otello / Act 3: Vieni; l'aula è deserta
Otello / Act 3: "...e intanto, giacchè non si stanca mai"
Otello / Act 3: Quest'è il segnale
Otello / Act 4: Diceste questa sera le vostre preci?
Otello / Act 4: "Aprite! Aprite!"
Otello / Act 4: Niun mi tema
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