Aureole etc.




Golden Age singers

Nimbus on-line




Faure songs
Charlotte de Rothschild (soprano);

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett


CD REVIEW

Some items
to consider


New App by the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra for iOS and Android!

Schumann Symphonies Rattle


Complete Brahms
Bargain price

 

Not available in the USA.

alternatively
CD: Crotchet
Download: Classicsonline


Giacomo PUCCINI (1858 – 1924)
Turandot (1926)
Maria Callas (soprano) – Princess Turandot; Eugenio Fernandi (tenor) – Calaf; Elisabeth Schwarzkopf (soprano) – Liù; Giuseppe Nessi (tenor) – The Emperor Altoum; Nicola Zaccaria (bass) – Timur; Mario Borriello (baritone) – Ping; Renato Ercolani (tenor) – Pang; Piero de Palma (tenor) – Pong; The Prince of Persia; Giulio Mauri (bass-baritone – A mandarin; Elisabetta Fusco (soprano) – First voice; Pinuccia Perotti (soprano) – Second voice
Chorus and Orchestra of La Scala, Milan/Tullio Serafin
rec. 9-13, 15 July 1957, Teatro alla Scala, Milan
NAXOS 8.111334-35 [77:26 + 41:16]
Experience Classicsonline

The first thing to note about this recording is the excellent sound. It is mono, unfortunately, which lessens the impact of the crowd scenes but the sound picture is clear, orchestral details are well reproduced and there is considerable dynamic width. I gather that the original recording must have been splendid and Mark Obert-Thorn has done the restoration job with his usual care. Some over-load distortion and a number of extraneous noises that obviously emanate from the original masters seem to have been impossible to edit out.
 
The chorus, trained by legendary Norberto Mola, and the orchestra are on splendid form. Tullio Serafin conducts the lavishly orchestrated score with his customary sense of drama. There is infectious rhythmic impetus in some of the crowd scenes. Tempi are generally sensible and lenient to the singers’ needs.
 
The title role is one of shortest in any opera and the icy princess doesn’t enter until the middle of act II – apart from a brief appearance in act I, where she doesn’t sing. It is still regarded as one of the most strenuous parts in the literature and a notorious voice-killer. Maria Callas sang it early in her career but when this recording was made she had long since dropped it. Singing a role in the recording studio with sessions spread over several days should be less strenuous than doing it on stage in ‘real time’ but even then it is a severe test. In questa reggia (CD1 tr. 25) finds Callas in admirably steady and secure voice in the opening phrases. She invests the aria with a great deal of warmth. Later though, when she has to sing mostly in the uppermost register she is sorely strained. It is however a deep-probing reading with lots of nuances and even though she can’t compare with Birgit Nilsson or Alessandra Marc vocally, her account is musically and dramatically fascinating. The scene with the three riddles puts her further to the test but she passes it with flying colours and only occasionally does the voice disfigure. In the final act she is again impressive and even my wife, who normally tries to avoid Callas, applauded her. The hardness in tone, that is almost ever-present in Callas’s singing, seems extra appropriate in this role. Still, in the final duet with Calaf, Principessa di morte, she sounds exceptionally human – the ice has already started to melt.
 
Elisabeth Schwarzkopf sings Liù with Lieder-like care for detail and nuance. Hers is not an Italianate voice but her approach to the role, closer to Mozart than Puccini, makes this a truly touching reading, crowned by a superb Tu che di gel sei cinta.
 
Eugenio Fernandi, who as far as I know recorded nothing else, is also one of the best Calafs on record. His is a clean beautiful lirico-spinto voice with easy top and romantic glow; what’s more, he sings with taste. In the scene with the riddles he also has the steel to stand up against Callas and I have heard few more beautiful Nessun dormas. The final note is slightly pinched but it is a glorious reading even so.
 
Nicola Zaccaria, who also sang the role on the Decca set, recorded two years earlier, has the warmth for Timur and Mario Borriello is a good Ping. All three ministers are splendid and also less clowny than is often the case. The Emperor, distantly balanced, is certainly elderly-sounding.
 
All in all I liked this recording a lot and it should be a worthy addition to any collection, provided one isn’t allergic to the Callas sound. Birgit Nilsson’s two versions, with Björling and Corelli respectively, are still superior. The Decca set from 1972 with Sutherland, Caballé and Pavarotti is admired by many. Also I have a soft spot for the live recording with Alessandra Marc (see review), although the Calaf there is less than attractive.
 
Göran Forsling

see also review by Ralph Moore

 

 


Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on
Musicweb


Donate and get a free CD

New Releases

Naxos Classical

Hyperion

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
Alto
Arcodiva
Atoll
CDAccord
Cameo Classics
Centaur
Hallé
Hortus
Lyrita
Nimbus
Northern Flowers
Redcliffe
Sheva
Talent
Toccata Classics


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing
sample
 


EXPLORE MUSICWEB INTERNATIONAL

Making a Donation to MusicWeb

Writing CD reviews for MWI

About MWI
Who we are, where we have come from and how we do it.

Site Map

How to find a review

How to find articles on MusicWeb
Listed in date order

Review Indexes
   By Label
      Select a label and all reviews are listed in Catalogue order
   By Masterwork
            Links from composer names (eg Sibelius) are to resource pages with links to the review indexes for the individual works as well as other resources.

Themed Review pages

Jazz reviews

 

Discographies
   Composer
      Composer surveys
   National
      Unique to MusicWeb -
a comprehensive listing of all LP and CD recordings of given works
.
Prepared by Michael Herman

The Collector’s Guide to Gramophone Company Record Labels 1898 - 1925
Howard Friedman

Book Reviews

Complete Books
We have a number of out of print complete books on-line

Interviews
With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site

Nostalgia

Nostalgia CD reviews

Records Of The Year
Each reviewer is given the opportunity to select the best of the releases

Monthly Best Buys
Recordings of the Month and Bargains of the Month

Comment
Arthur Butterworth Writes

An occasional column

Phil Scowcroft's Garlands
British Light Music articles

Classical blogs
A listing of Classical Music Blogs external to MusicWeb International

Reviewers Logs
What they have been listening to for pleasure

Announcements

 

Community
Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Reviewers
Pat and present

Helpers invited!

Resources
How Did I Miss That?

Currently suspended but there are a lot there with sound clips


Composer Resources

British Composers

British Light Music Composers

Other composers

Film Music (Archive)
Film Music on the Web (Closed in December 2006)

Programme Notes
For concert organizers

External sites
British Music Society
The BBC Proms
Orchestra Sites
Recording Companies & Retailers
Online Music
Agents & Marketing
Publishers
Other links
Newsgroups
Web News sites etc

PotPourri
A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Questionnaire    
Site History  
What they say about us
What we say about us!
Where to get help on the Internet
CD orders By Special Request
Graphics archive
Currency Converter
Dictionary
Magazines
Newsfeed  
Web Ring
Translation Service

Rules for potential reviewers :-)
Do Not Go Here!
April Fools




Return to Review Index

Untitled Document


Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.