Verdi: Il Trovatore / Sinopoli, Varady, Toczyska, Et Al

Release Date: 9/30/2003
Label: Orfeo
Catalog Number: ORF-C582032
Composer: Giuseppe Verdi
Conductor: Giuseppe Sinopoli
Number of Discs: 2

Physical Format:

Low Stock
Notes and Editorial Reviews
Taken from a live performance in February, 1992, this recording by the Bavarian State Opera bears some similarities to similar live efforts from the Vienna State Opera: the orchestra is clearer than usual and it plays very well. In this case, the balance is fairer to the singers than it has been in Vienna, and a good thing, too, because one of them, Julia Varady, is among the elite Leonoras, and is surely the reason why this set is out there, for Stefania Toczyska is merely a solid, slightly (and not inappropriately) rough Azucena, one of several good ones, while the male stars are in a bit over their heads. Dennis O’Neill’s voice is in somewhat better shape than it was on his Chandos “Opera-in-English” recordings, which came later in his career. One wants to like him because he’s a passionate Manrico who throws himself into the role. “Di quella pira” is shortened a bit, but he doesn’t transpose it and even gets off a strangulated high C. It may be it was this kind of fearless, fiery singing that did him in. Wolfgang Brendel sounds like he’s in the downward phase of his career. We can appreciate the intelligent way he finesses his way through his part. In “Il balen,” for example, his good breath control enables him to do long phrases without punching the music out, but he has to sing it too loudly. Harry Dworchak handles “Abbietta zingara” fairly well but, like all Ferrandos, he’s unable to sing “Morodi paura” at his conductor’s tempo. Although touted as a “singers’ opera,” Il trovatore responds to the ministrations of a strong conductor, and the playing of the orchestra has energy and power but not rigidity. As for Varady, she makes a beautiful sound and usually executes all the notes—in act IV she simplifies a cadenza and, at another point, resorts to a simpler option in the score, but she hits a clean high D? in act I. Such proficient singing would be impressive in itself, but it’s also expressive, beautifully nuanced singing, even if it may not be enough to make this entry a “must buy” affair; but I’ve only heard about a half-dozen Leonoras who can compare with her. There is a cued plot summary as well as a cue list and some notes about the artists. There is no libretto.

James Miller, Fanfare Magazine
Works on This Recording
1. Il trovatore by Giuseppe Verdi
Conductor: Giuseppe Sinopoli
Period: Romantic
Written: 1853 ; Italy
Customer Reviews