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!


BAX Orchestral pieces


CASKEN Violin Concerto

Schumann Symphonies Rattle


Complete Brahms
Bargain price

 

alternatively
CD: Crotchet

Not for sale in the USA

 

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901)
La forza del destino (1869 revised version)
Maria Callas (soprano) – Leonora; Richard Tucker (tenor) – Don Alvaro; Carlo Tagliabue (baritone) – Don Carlo di Vargas; Elena Nicolai (mezzo) – Preziosilla; Nicola Rossi-Lemeni (bass) – Padre Guardiano; Renato Capecchi (baritone) – Fra Melitone; Plinio Clabassi (bass) – Marchese di Calatrava; Rina Cavallari (mezzo) – Curra; Gino Del Signore (tenor) – Trabuco; Dario Caselli (bass) – Mayor of Hornachuelos/Surgeon; Giulio Scarinci (tenor) – Soldier/Gambler; Ottorino Bagalli (tenor) – Soldier/Gambler
Chorus of La Scala, Milan/Vittore Veneziani
Orchestra of La Scala, Milan/Tullio Serafin
rec. 17-21, 23-25, 27 August 1954, Teatro alla Scala, Milan
Appendix: Highlights from La forza del destino
Zinka Milanov (soprano) – Leonora; Jan Peerce (tenor) – Don Alvaro; Leonard Warren (baritone) – Don Carlo; Nicola Moscona (bass) – Padre Guardiano; Raymond Keast (baritone) – Surgeon
Robert Shaw Chorale/Robert Shaw
RCA Victor Orchestra/Renato Cellini (twelve numbers)
RCA Victor Orchestra/Jonel Perlea (three numbers)
rec. Manhattan Center, New York City, 16 February 1950 (tracks 14-16); 21 April 1953 (tracks 8-10) 18 May 1953 (track 19) 18 February 1955 (tracks 11-12); 7 April 1955 (tracks 13, 17, 18, 20, 21). Date unknown for track 7. DDD
NAXOS GREAT OPERA RECORDINGS 8.111322-24 [3 CDs: 75:58 + 56:59 + 78:37]
Experience Classicsonline



Anyone unfamiliar with this opera from Verdi’s middle period should not hesitate to correct that omission. Never mind the plot, which is a good deal less implausible than those of many mainstream repertoire operas. Its diverse dramatic ingredients afford wide scope for Verdi’s invention, and he fully meets the challenge with consistently superb music. In particular, the duets for Alvaro and Carlo and Leonora’s scene with Padre Guardiano respectively are among the finest in Verdi’s output.

Premiered in St. Petersburg in 1862 – opening with a completely different prelude from the famous one – it was revised in 1869 for La Scala. The revision, in every respect an improvement, is the version nearly always performed.

The two essential reasons for owning this performance of La forza del destino – in preference to all rivals, in spite of a few small cuts – are the incomparable artistry of Maria Callas and the incisive, completely authoritative conducting of Tullio Serafin. For one small example of Serafin’s superb direction, listen to the conclusion of the Alvaro/Carlo scene in Act 3 – marked Allegro agitato e presto. Here he achieves an electric intensity where the first violins accompany with piano triplets which really bristle. Serafin is never frenetic, yet he creates maximum drama. A further example encapsulating all his finest qualities would be the very final scene of the opera. It must be emphasised that his near-ideal conducting contributes enormously to the desirability of this set.

I can’t pretend to be a great fan of Richard Tucker. He is reliable and technically impressive, but often there is an unlovely, slightly dry, toneless quality to his singing – no ringing, no bloom. In Act 3 especially, his overwrought emotionalism, with sobs and gasps in almost every phrase, I find unattractive and unconvincing. Tagliabue (as Carlo) was fifteen years older, yet I actually prefer his rather more lyrically sustained delivery. Nicola Rossi-Lemeni as Padre Guardiano is a little woolly-toned but nevertheless lyrical. Elena Nicolai’s Preziosilla is frightfully squally. Among the smaller roles, Renato Capecchi’s Melitone undoubtedly gave me most pleasure.

Callas invests everything she sings with genuine human involvement, exposing even more Tucker’s hammier outpourings. In the presence of such great interpretative genius most other singers seem distinctly lesser mortals. Yet her astounding virtues seem lost on those opera buffs who are content with generalised fine singing. What is any kind of singing worth – whether opera or lieder – if the text is not invested with genuine feeling and meaning? In this respect Callas set new standards which, sadly, very few singers have even approached. Leonora is one of Verdi’s more complex heroines, her development encompassing indecision, desperation, terror and grandeur. Only Callas traces this development with artistry, drama and supreme musicianship. Odd notes are raw, unfocused or unattractive, but this is such a small price to pay.

The last fifteen tracks on disc 3 are devoted to nearly an hour of highlights from the same opera, originally issued the year after the Callas set appeared. This is no mere filler, but a valuable addition, with the celebrated Zinka Milanov as Leonora. Milanov has an admirable voice, full, rounded, secure and satisfying, without the deep musicianship and subtlety of Callas.

Michael Scott’s notes include a synopsis (no text), interesting background to the recording (including Walter Legge’s unflattering and unenlightened comments about Callas), and biographies of the principal singers and Serafin. Recorded sound is also fine. However, all this seems irrelevant when one can acquire a great Callas performance in a wonderful Verdi opera for under £20.

Philip Borg-Wheeler

 

 


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.