A huge “thank you” for this gem flights to our Chicago friend 😀
The acclaimed legendary Swedish dramatic Wagnerian soprano Birgit Nilsson, (1918-2005), made her official debut in 1947 at the Stockholm opera as Lady Macbeth. After just three days notice to replace an ailing colleague she had actually debuted in the same house one year earlier as Agathe in Der Freischutz. There were only four or so Verdian roles suited for her special abilities; Turandot, Aida, Lady Macbeth and Amelia. She once refused to learn Norma saying that it had “two many little notes”. She also once said that “Turandot made me rich, Isolde made me famous”. However there are apparently no recordings of any of her staged performances of Lady Macbeth, just this studio recording of excerpts made in London in 1964 under the brilliant conducting of Thomas Schippers.
Composer: Giuseppe Verdi
Performer: Birgit Nilsson, Giuseppe Taddei, Bruno Prevedi
Orchestra: Orchestra Of The Accademia Santa Cecilia of Rome
Conductor: Thomas Schippers
Number of Discs: 3
DR-Analysis: DR 14
Size: 2.53 GB
This recording of Verdi’s brooding tragedy is absolutely essential to any Verdi opera collection. I have heard from many people that the cuts are not to their liking. However, I think that the cuts make Schipper’s presentation intensely dramatic, and he cuts straight to the point. I especially liked the thunder and lightning sound effects which proceeded the witches chorus. I could just picture the witches rising out of the foggy mists on some terribly dark and foreboding night.
Giuseppe Taddei is my absolute favorite Macbeth. He was born to play the role and I feel that perhaps the only rival he might have is Tito Gobbi.
The real reason for my review is the mind boggling performance of Madame Nilsson. Her letter scene and aria sent chills down my spine. Nisson is a no nonsense lady who knows EXACTLY what it is she wants. Her portrayal is cold, calculating, manipulative, cruel and dominating. Her vibrato is almost nonexistent which makes her voice sound like ice cold metal. Her tone is round and her high notes like steel javelins.
Many critics have remarked that she is too cold to sound italian, Well I think otherwise. I believe that Nilsson’s nordic accent adds such unusual flavor to this role. I really am not all that concerned with the fact that her coloratura is not as on point as in other portrayals. Get it as soon as you can, this recording has been very hard to find!
Analyzed Folder: /96k Verdi – MacBeth – Nilsson_dr.txt
DR Peak RMS Filename
DR13 -0.39 dB -19.26 dB sideA.flac
DR14 -0.53 dB -20.18 dB sideB.flac
DR14 -0.18 dB -20.97 dB sideC.flac
DR13 over -18.90 dB sideD.flac
DR14 -0.52 dB -20.94 dB sideE.flac
DR14 -0.59 dB -21.11 dB sideF.flac
Number of Files: 6
Official DR Value: DR14
- RCM: Okki Nokki (L’art du son, Clearaudio’s Diamond Cleaner)
- TT: Vintage (1982) Yamaha PX-3
- Cartridge: Sumiko Black Bird
Cartridge: ZYX 50R Bloom
- Phono amp: Audio Research SP15 own tube phono section.
- ADC/DAC: RME Fireface UC
- Pre Amp: Audio Research SP15
- Finals: Opera Consonance 9.9 Mono (Tube)
- Speakers: Dali Helikon 400
- Connections: MIT Terminator, Audioquest Emerald, Audioquest Quartz
- Software: iZotope RX 5 Advanced, Adobe Audition CS 5.5, Twisted Wave 1.18
- Very careful de-clicking with iZotope, significant clicks manually removed, never de-noising
- Wave 32/192(32/384) —> Flac 24/96(24/192): Twisted Wave 1.18
- Artwork: Sony Alpha 350, Epson Perfection V750 Pro, Photoshop CS 5.5
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