HD-Vinyls 24/96 (RCA) Giuseppe Verdi – Falstaff (Evans/Kraus/Merrill/Freni)

Many thanks to our friend from Michigan Lake for this gift.
This is the recording by which others should be judged. Solti captures the raucousness of Falstaff, using and emphasizing the horns like great comedic guffaws. Geraint Evans oozes unctiousness and Freni sweetly takes on the only aria in the whole opera.

# Composer: Giuseppe Verdi
# Performer: Alfredo Kraus, Geront Evans, Mirella Freni, Rosalind Elias, Giulietta Simionato, Robert Merrill, Piero De Palma
# Orchestra: Orchestra Of The RCA Italiana
# Conductor: Georg Solti
# Vinyl (1964)
# Number of Discs: 3
# Format: Flac
# DR-Analysis: DR 15
# Label: RCA
# ASIN: B0015T46NM
# Size: 2.32 GB
# Scan: yes
# Server:

When you digest this version of Falstaff everything else is so lady-like and almost effeminate. Falstaff is a drunk, he smells and he is dishonest. Strings cannot bring home this earthy opera the way Solti and the horns do. This opera, in my opinion Verdi’s masterpiece, is in continous motion the way Gianni Schicci is. It is not a stop, stand and sing opera like Don Carlos and others make that mistake–not Solti.

Solti began as a protege of Toscanini and kept his mentor’s tense, propulsive style intact for almost fifty years after Toscanini’s death. It comes as no surprise, then, that this riveting Falstaff, which shoots off fireworks in all directions, competes with the famous account on RCA from Toscanini, arguably his greatest opera recording. Solti is even more tightly cinched, however, and there are times when his insistence on dramatic tension needs to be more yielding. Surely the pace needs to slow down for the tener duets between the young lovers, Fenton and Nanneta (beatifully sung by Mirella Freni and Alfredo Kraus), but not here: Solti sets brisk tempos and adheres to them.

Therefore, this performance isn’t one in which you fall in love with any of the characters; they aren’t given much breathing room to expand in humanity. On the other hand, for sheer excitement and brilliance of execution, it would be hard to surpass this set. Every singer is first-rate, and that’s crucial in an opera so dependent on ensemble singing. Luckily, there’s not a weak link to be heard anywhere — few rivals can boast of the same. And for all his explosive tendencies, Solti doesn’t turn the opera into a gross or driven caricature of Verdi’s comic intentions.

Any performance rises and falls on Falstaff himself, and the Welsh baritone Geraint Evans, a beloved fixture at Covent Garden for many years, is superb. For pure singing, he outdoes Tito Gobbi for Karajan, and he doesn’t fall into the histrionic exaggerations of Fischer-Dieskau for Bernstein and Terfel for Abbado. Many aficionados demand an Italian with buffo manners in this role. Fro them, Evans may be too un-Italianate and serious. But he’s a great vocal actor, and frankly, an unmannered, more human Falstaff comes as a relief, especially one who really sings the part note for note. Is Evans funny? Not especially, but without visible stage business, humor isn’t one of the opera’s greatest strengths on record. What dominates instead is Verdi’s miraculous, mercurial orchestral writing, and here Solti brings out every detail with bright vividness.

To my ears, this Falstaff belongs just below the classic versions from Toscanini (RCA) and Karajan (EMI), pace those collectors who have delved into the archives of historical reissues, of which there are many fine examples.

Analyzed folder: /96kGV_Fa-Sol/96k Verdi – Falstaff – Solti
DR        Peak        RMS        Filename
DR15        -1.52 dB     -21.29 dB     sideA.wav
DR15        -1.61 dB     -22.38 dB     sideB.wav
DR14        -0.77 dB     -20.71 dB     sideC.wav
DR16        -0.56 dB     -22.09 dB     sideD.wav
DR16        -1.18 dB     -24.07 dB     sideE.wav
DR14        -1.47 dB     -21.54 dB     sideF.wav
Number of files:    6
Official DR value:    DR15



  • Baritone Vocals – Geraint Evans, Robert Merrill
  • Bass Vocals – Giovanni Foiani
  • Chorus Master – Nino Antonellini
  • Conductor – Georg Solti
  • Liner Notes – Irving Kolodin
  • Mezzo-soprano Vocals – Giulietta Simionato, Rosalind Elias
  • Photography – Maria De Monte, Michael Evans
  • Soprano Vocals – Ilva Ligabue, Mirella Freni
  • Tenor Vocals – Alfredo Kraus, John Lanigan, Piero De Palma
  • Orchestra –Orchestra of the RCA Italiana


Ripping Infos

  • RCM: Okki Nokki (L’art du son, Clearaudio’s Diamond Cleaner)
  • TT: Clearaudio Champion Level II
  • Cartridge: Sumiko Black Bird
  • Phono amp: Pro-Ject Phono Box RS
  • ADC/DAC: RME Fireface UC
  • Pre Amp: Unison Research Unico Pre (Tube)
  • Finals: Opera Consonance 9.9 Mono (Tube)
  • Speakers: Dali Helikon 400
  • Connections: MIT Terminator, Audioquest Emerald, Audioquest Quartz
  • Software: iZotope RX Advanced v2.02, Adobe Audition CS 5.5, Twisted Wave 1.9
  • Light de-Clicking with iZotope, significant clicks manually removing, no De-Noising

If You hear some clicks and pops here and there, Who cares?
Id rather have a few light anomalies instead of destroying the music. Enjoy the music, not the ticks & pops.

  • DR-Analisys before converting to Flac
  • Converting Wave -> Flac: Twisted Wave 1.9
  • Artwork: Sony Alpha 350, Epson Perfection V750 Pro, Photoshop CS 5.5

If you like what i do, please consider that a little donation would be very appreciate. I reinvest all donations in maintenance of my rig, for purchasing cleaning solutions and, most important of all, purchasing of new vinyls.
Click on the “Donate”-button. Thank you very much !

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6 archives
PW: LaWally

16 thoughts on “HD-Vinyls 24/96 (RCA) Giuseppe Verdi – Falstaff (Evans/Kraus/Merrill/Freni)

  1. Hehe, natürlich… jaaa, ich hab sie sofort runtergeladen, selbstverständlich, ich hab ein Speicherproblem, zumindest kündigt sich das in großen Opernschritten an.
    Was die Besetzung betrifft, Simionato… Simionato… kommt sie nicht auch in “Opera Fanatic” vor, also als Interviewpartnerin-? Ein Film über Operndiven, ich hatte im für mich verbotenen Land damals nen Thread extra dafür eröffnet. Ich muß jetzt sofort nachschauen, ich vermute, daß es die war, die Stefan Zucker mit nem Monsterstrauß roter Rosen umgarnen wollte, was nicht wirklich funktionierte… Sie war Diva durch und durch. Cerquetti hat mir da super gefallen und Leyla Gencer sowieso. Alf, kennst du den Film? Wenn nicht, freu dich:o)
    Absolut faszinierend!
    Und danke für den Otello!

    • Am i drunken? Falstaff meine ich natürlich. Zu Otello komme ich dann später. (Ich sollte auf dem Nachhauseweg nach der Nachtschicht mit schwarzhoeres Bohren-Rip auf den Kopfhörern nicht noch Halt an der Tanke machen, schätze ich)

  2. Thank you for sharing this recording.

    However there seems to have a problem with file No. 3

    (96kGV_Fa-Sol.part3.rar). FileFactory says that the file is

    unavailable. Kindly check if possible. It would be a pity

    to be unable to download such a treasure.

    At the end of the month, I will make a donation for sure.

    Thank You

    Michel P

    • Normally, when you get this notice, the server is under maintenance or similar…it should be clear within hours or few days. Tell me again in a few days, if it persists.

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