Notes and Editorial Reviews
I normally would not review something like this: a 1941 studio recording, originally issued on 35 78 rpm discs, that has been available on-and-off from a dozen labels for more than 70 years. However, despite a cut in Act 3 (the wonderful “Sleale!” duet for tenor and baritone that was customarily excised until the past 30 years), this old set, in acceptable-if-boxy mono, remains the best reading of this opera available.
The full-blooded Italianate conducting of Gino Marinuzzi, who left only this as a complete opera recording, is big-boned in the Camp Scenes and the violent moments and wonderfully intimate during the characters’ more introspective moments. He is thrillingly matched by the soloists. Maria Caniglia, who within a
year or three of this recording could be vocally highly unreliable, is here quite superb as Leonora, singing with an abandon that we rarely hear anymore; and she inhabits the poor, victimized character. The same might be said for Galliano Masini’s Alvaro , but he is even more secure and full of energy. He sobs occasionally, but stylistically he’s terrific.
Carlo Tagliabue’s Carlo can be a bit understated compared to Milnes (RCA) or Bastianini (Decca), but the voice is smooth and appealing and he gathers steam as he goes on. His last-act duet with Masini is fiery in the extreme. Tancredi Pasero’s Guardiano is noble and grave. Ebe Stignani, sounding young (a rarity for her at any age), is a terrific Preziosilla; the otherwise unknown Saturno Meletti is the best Melitone on disc—he gets the goofiness of the role without resorting to bad-buffo histrionics. The chorus and orchestra are splendid. Of course, if you want a modern-sounding recording of this opera, you’ll have to go elsewhere: I recommend the Price/Domingo/Levine set on RCA, the Arroyo/Bergonzi/Gardelli on EMI, or the 1950s-vintage Tebaldi/del Monaco/Molinari-Pradelli on Decca. But this one is a real gem.
-- Robert Levine, ClassicsToday.com Read less
Works on This Recording
La forza del destino by Giuseppe Verdi
Liana Avogadro (Soprano),
Saturno Meletti (Baritone),
Ernesto Dominici (Bass),
Tancredi Pasero (Bass),
Galliano Masini (Tenor),
Carlo Tagliabue (Baritone),
Ebe Stignani (Mezzo Soprano),
Dario Caselli (Bass),
Giuseppe Nessi (Tenor),
Maria Caniglia (Soprano)
Italian Radio Symphony Orchestra Turin,
Italian Radio Chorus Turin
Written: 1862/1869; Italy
Date of Recording: 1941
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