One of the most grown-up review sites around

54,416 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here



International mailing

Founder: Len Mullenger                                    Editor in Chief:John Quinn             

Some items
to consider


paid for


100th birthday of Mieczyslaw Weinberg on December 8, 2019.
Renate Eggbrecht has recorded all 3 violin Sonatas

FOGHORN Classics

Mozart Brahms
Clarinet Quintets

New Releases

Naxos Classical

Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10

Nimbus Podcast

Obtain 10% discount

Special offer 50% off
15CDs £83 incl. postage

Musicweb sells the following labels

Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off

Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger



Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat



Recordings of the Month



From Ocean’s Floor


Conner Riddle Songs

Rodzinski Sibelius

Of Innocence and Experience



CD: AmazonUK

Giacomo PUCCINI (1858-1924)
Turandot (1926)
Maria Callas (soprano) - Turandot; Eugenio Fernandi (tenor) - Calaf; Elisabeth Schwarzkopf (soprano) - Liù; Giuseppe Nessi (tenor) - Emperor Altoum; Nicola Zaccaria (bass) - Timur; Mario Borriello (tenor) - Ping; Renato Ercolani (tenor) - Pang; Piero de Palma (tenor) - Pong/Prince of Persia; Giulio Mauri (bass) - A Mandarin; Elisabetta Fusco (soprano) - First Voice; Pinuccia Perotti (soprano) - Second Voice; Chorus and Orchestra of La Scala, Milan/Tullio Serafin.
Bonus items: Turandot: Signore ascolta [2’28]; Tu che di gel sei cinta [2’44].
rec. Teatro alla Scala, Milan in July 1957, 1954 (bonus). mono
REGIS RRC2082 [55:30 + 68:53]
Experience Classicsonline

The famous Callas/Serafin Turandot surfaces again, once more at super-budget price. It has already appeared on EMI GROC and Naxos Historical (see review and review); now, here it is on Regis.

Right from the crashing, dramatic opening, it is clear that Serafin means business. In the great choral scenes of the first Act, he generates huge excitement; in the more playful moments of the second act (the Ping/Pang/Pong trio section) he can be delightfully playful. He was vastly experienced in this repertoire, and it shows in the natural feel of the work’s flow.

The Prince Calaf (the Unknown Prince) is sung by Eugenio Fernandi. As so often with Callas’ leading men, he was perhaps chosen to be solid, strong but with no chance of overshadowing the great diva, as his “non piangere Liù” so conclusively proves: eminently musical, very tender, it is in no way great singing, merely admirable. His Act 3 “Nessun dorma” mirrors all these traits. More interior than most - a polar opposite to Pavarotti’s myriad performances - it fits in well with his conception and voice, while Serafin enables us to hear orchestral counterpoints that often get lost.

It is for Callas that most will buy this set, however. Her “In questa reggia” shows this Turandot to be a woman with a core of steel The interjecting staccato orchestral chords do not carry sufficient weight - one feels strongly this is the recording’s fault, not Serafin’s - but nothing, seemingly, can stop Callas’s icy determination. “Icy” seems the right description here - this is a woman with a heart of steel.

Giulio Mauri is a strong-voiced Mandarin. Whoever sings this part has to be - he begins the opera. In his review of the Naxos transfer of this performance, Ralph Moore suggests this role is sung by Zaccaria. As Timur, the deposed King of Tartary, and identifiably himself, Nicola Zaccaria is strong and confident.

The voice of Elisabeth Schwarzkopf is surely instantly recognisable. Her voice is well-suited to Liù, in no way too light and there is no hint of the tremulous quality that can sporadically afflict Schwarzkopf in her memorable “Signore ascolta!”. Interestingly, the bonus tracks on this particular product include a Callas “Signore ascolta”, again with Serafin at the helm (but with the Philharmonia Orchestra) - note this is track 17, not 16 as indicated in the booklet. Callas is as instantly recognisable as Schwarzkopf, and injects her own, rather larger and self-interested, character onto the musical surface. Liù’s “Tu che di gel sei cinta” is also reprised, recognisably, by Callas in the present set’s appendix.

Ping, Pang and Pong are well cast (Mario Borriello, Renato Ercolani and Piero de Palma, respectively), although Borriello is perhaps a tad tremulous.

The transfer is generally excellent. There is some abrasion/stretching of sonic resources as the climax of Act 1 choral scenes - immediately prior to the crowd’s calling for the moon - but elsewhere all is well and the choral passages in question were after all similarly afflicted on the EMI originals.

Colin Clarke 



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


      Composer surveys
      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

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


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

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



Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Pat and present

Helpers invited!

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
Other links
Web News sites etc

A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
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
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.