Opera Choruses Gioachino ROSSINI (1792–1868)
1. Quel jour serein le ciel présage [4:15] Giuseppe VERDI (1813–1901) La forza del destino:
2. Il santo nome di Dio Signore [7:31] 3. Rataplan, rataplan, della Gloria [3:10] Nabucco: 4. Va, pensiero [4:50] Otello: 5. Fuoco di gioia [2:49] Il trovatore: 6. Vedi! le fosche notturne spoglie [3:06] Pietro MASCAGNI (1863–1945) Cavalleria rusticana: 7. Regina coeli … Inneggiamo [5:58] Giacomo PUCCINI (1858–1924)
8. Humming Chorus[3:07] Turandot: 9. Gita la cote! [2:42] Giuseppe VERDI
10. Patria oppressa [7:02] Gaetano DONIZETTI (1797–1848)
Lucia di Lammermoor:
11. Per te d’immenso giubilo [3:30] Gioachino ROSSINI
Mosé in Egitto:
12. Dal tuo stellato soglio [5:04] Gaetano DONIZETTI
13. Che interminabile andirvieni! [4:02] Giuseppe VERDI Aida: 14. Gloria all’Egitto [7:19]
Raimondi (baritone)(2); Martina Arroyo (soprano)(2); Bianca
Maria Casoni (mezzo-soprano)(3); Pauline Tinsley
(soprano)(7, 12); Kenneth Collins (tenor)(11); Elizabeth
Shelley (mezzo-soprano)(12); David Hughes (tenor)(12);
Robert Lloyd (bass)(12); David Bell (organ)(7); Ambrosian
Opera Chorus, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (1-3); Chorus
and orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden (4-14)/Lamberto
rec. No. 1 Studio, Abbey Road, London, 11 July, 1 August,
7 September 1972 (1); June and July 1969 (2-3); 5, 7 September
1971 (4-14). ADD EMI CLASSICS
Lamberto Gardelli was one of the most reliable opera conductors
for almost half a century. Directly after completing his studies
in Pesaro and Rome he was chosen by Tullio Serafin to be
his assistant. His conducting debut was in Rome in 1944 and
two years after that he was appointed resident conductor
at the Royal Opera in Stockholm, where he stayed for a decade.
After some years as head of the Danish Radio Orchestra he
moved to Budapest, where he worked for over thrity years.
He was a conductor sought after by the leading record companies
and his list of complete opera recordings is long indeed.
Sets for Decca, EMI, Philips (a whole series of early Verdi
operas) as well as a number of recordings for Hungaroton
are evidence enough not only of his reliability but also
of his deep insight and ability to instil enthusiasm into
musicians and singers.
The first three tracks on this disc are from two of his highly praised
EMI sets. His 1972 recording of Guillaume Tell was
the first and still the only recording of this monumental
work in the original French, it still has claims to be the
most recommendable version, with a starry cast including
Montserrat Caballé, Nicolai Gedda and Gabriel Bacquier. The
chorus from act 1 is idyllic and well sung by the Ambrosian
Opera Chorus. They also participate in the two excerpts from
the slightly earlier La forza del destino, which is
also a front-runner with top-notch Verdians like Carlo Bergonzi
and Piero Cappuccilli. There’s also a young Ruggero Raimondi,
Martina Arroyo and Bianca Maria Casoni, all heard on these
two excerpts, though Arroyo is not mentioned on the inlay,
which is a shame, since her La vergine degli angeli at
the end of track 2 is so ravishingly beautiful, indeed angelic.
Raimondi opens the track with smooth and sonorous singing,
though he is more baritone than bass. The Rataplan chorus
is lively but Casoni is a rather squally Preziosilla. The
chorus though is first class.
The rest of the disc is a mixed programme of opera choruses, separately
recorded with Covent Garden forces during two days in September
1971. Gardelli engaged some fine soloists here too and the
result is wholly admirable. The Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves
from Nabucco is known to everyone, not only opera
enthusiasts, and Gardelli is as always a sure-footed Verdian – everything
seems right but there is still something missing. I only
had to play the same chorus from his complete Decca recording
of the work to hear the difference. There, with Vienna State
Opera forces, there is incisiveness and an irresistible lilt
that makes the EMI pale by comparison. Let me add, though,
that in its own right the Covent Garden version is more than
acceptable. The bite I felt missing is much more to the fore
in Fuoco di gioia from the first act of Otello,
where the joy is well caught, and the Anvil Chorus from Il
trovatore is lively, though the anvil seems only medium-sized.
The Easter Hymn from Cavalleria rusticana is one of Mascagni’s
finest creations and with David Bell very prominent at the
organ and Pauline Tinsley a good Santuzza it is a success.
I happened to listen to it on Good Friday, so I was in the
The two Puccini choruses are not to be faulted but they tend to pale
against the Chorus of the Scottish refugees from Macbeth,
music that is unique in early Verdi, due to the darkness
and truthfulness. Verdi wrote in the score ‘come un lamento’ and
it is certainly a funeral march.
The joyous second act chorus from Lucia di Lammermoor, where
Lucia’s marriage to Arturo is imminent, has rhythmic thrust
and not too much sophistication. The enthusiasm is infectious
and Kenneth Collins is an excellent Arturo. The prayer from Mosé in
Egitto is the only number from this opera that has a
life of its own. The Royal Opera Chorus presents it with
excellent homogenous tone and the soloists are splendid with
the young Robert Lloyd a sonorous Mosé.
The festive chorus from Don Pasquale is lively as it should
be and it also reminds us that this opera is one of the most
constantly inspired and spirited in Donizetti’s oeuvre. Festive
is also the word for the Triumphal Scene from Aida with brilliant
trumpets and powerful singing.
There are brief notes on the music but no texts. The sound is good
and anyone needing a collection of – mainly – standard opera
choruses need look no further.
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