Reposted, now with FF links
Yes…you read well: a female orchestra director – a conductrix? Compliments Ms Queler, well done !
# Composer: Giacomo Puccini
# Performer: Carlo Bergonzi, Renata Scotto, Gwendolyn Killebrew, Vicente Sardinero
# Orchestra: Opera Orchestra of New York
# Conductrix: Eve Queler
# Vinyl (1977)
# Number of Discs: 2
# Format: Flac
# Label: Columbia
# DR-Analysis: DR 14
# ASIN: B000002595
# Size: 1.85 GB
# Scan: yes
# Server: FileFactory
I really enjoy this recording of young Puccini’s 2nd opera. The cast is very good, and Queler conducts the ochestra well. There is some beatiful music in this opera. It is’nt Puccini’s most exciting opera but there are some musical moments that must not be passed by. Fidelia’s aria at Edgars mach funeral for example is beautiful, Scotto sings beautifully here. Bergonzi is solid throuhout the whole opera, and also has a nice aria. The rest of the cast does a stellar job as well. If you’re a Puccini collector you must add this opera to your collection.
I suppose the libretto is a little odds bodkins…but most of the world was in turmoil in that day – or soon to be, even quite out of control. Moreover, Puccini, son of a church music composer, naturally would emerge painting morality tales in broad strokes. Turandot comes to mind…how evil is so very disturbingly characatured in that opera,… is so bad that it is uncomfortable, in the extreme to endure. If you or I were composers, we too would want a storyline with bold moves this way, then that way…otherwise we would all wind up sounding as monotonous as boiled potatoes.
This kind of exposure to opera is from the old school…back when a vinyl LP was all there was. Yet always included were all the words in the original language – Italian – and the interpretation to the right of that in English. Those old LP operas required several listenings to get a feel for the story – losing one’s place as always during the multi voice chorus, with echos and refrains doubling back, all the while listening carefully for the lead vocals. All this is reminiscent of the forties when all there was on the airwaves were audio…no visuals at all. This held us in rapt attention almost on the edge of our chairs, listening intently with all our might…and imagination. And doesn’t this contrast sharply with today’s bored viewer channel surfing? And isn’t listening to music while concentrating on the storyline…the opposite of attention deficit? If any of you are hesitating about audio only opera, I encourage you to give this one a try. This one is very special.
The opening music is most sensual, light, and lilting – like a honeybee going from flower to flower on the fragrant blossoms of the tree…yes…it is spring…it is morning. Our hero is asleep. Could the world be more at peace? And here comes the love interest already to sing sweetly to her slumbering secret love, Edgar. She has flowers she has picked from the spring fruit tree in full blossom, and the prettiest song you ever heard. She soon saunters away, only to herald the arrival of…gulp…the naughty girl…Edgar’s main tempter, and tormentor all wrapped up into one. Ever had a girlfriend like that? Not necessarily faithful?…likes to keep her options open…for say a doctor or a lawyer, and you are just chump change?
So the music changes quite a bit now, doesn’t it? It goes rapidly downhill from here, for in the distance is heard the peel of church bells, and humble congregants gathering for prayers and hymns…another opportunity for music, eh?
Tigrana carries some kind of musical instrument, being an adopted gypsy of questionable lineage…and starts to sing a song taunting the religious nuts, who answer back in angry chorus, making threatening gestures. Now Edgar lurches forward to defend Tigrana from the hypocrites, brandishing a sword. He steps back into his home and sets it on fire, of all things…getting pretty dramatic already…bombastic foolish hangover stuff, I imagine. But he stops church folks from putting out the fire stopping them with his menacing sword. There is a little sword fight with a rival for Tigrana’s pleasures…and off Edgar and Tigrana go.
Later, after a night of “orgiastic pleasuring” the libretto notes, Edgar is feeling more than a little remorse. ( think remorse music- late night very early morning, dark, exhausted, spent ) …more quarreling between Edgar and Tigrana…suddenly, Edgar’s rival from before, some months have passed…shows up as Captain of an army unit going off to defend our little country…Flanders?…this being about the time of the Dutch painters, I believe. Anyway, Edgar gets the bright idea to join the army, and at last rid himself of this sexual albatross, Tigrana. Edgars’ rival is forgiving, because he is really glad that he himself did not get tangled up with that goldbricking strumpet. ( who clearly must be some kind of super mattress kitten, you guess? )…so off they go to martial music.
Act three….oh the music is heavy now…it seems it’s Edgar’s funeral…more musical opportunity, you see…wonderfully done. For here now, we get to hear Fidelia’s gorgeous lament for Edgar.
The story gets a little complicated for it seems there is a monk who received Edgars’ confession. Edgar, after all , went off to war to redeem himself, and asked this monk to “tell all” as it were. And he does.
Tigrana appears and has her requiem to sing for Edgar also. But Edgar’s rival, and the monk have a plan. They want to see if Tigrana will testify against Edgar in exchange for a number of fine gifts. At first she refuses…but they persist in song, and finally she capitulates and gives false witness against Edgar, to the shock of the assembled mourners who had come to honor the fallen hero.
Now I hear that it is not cricket to tell the ending, so I won’t. I must say that it is a shock. And one wonders about such a denoument. This raises many questions about librettos and happy endings versus sad endings…something that is quite the problematic literary question still to this day. My guess is that the whole idea is to get one’s mind in a mad stir as we sort things out over what we just experienced for weeks…perhaps years.
Yet one thing remains….yes…we don’t need the libretto anymore. Now we find ourselves listening, and imagining to it again. Something we haven’t done since the forties.
Analyzed folder: /96kGP_Ed_ScoBer/96k Puccini – Edgar – Scotto-Bergonzi
DR Peak RMS Filename
DR15 -0.27 dB -20.96 dB side1.wav
DR13 -0.00 dB -17.70 dB side2.wav
DR14 -0.24 dB -20.01 dB side3.wav
DR14 -0.28 dB -19.50 dB side4.wav
Number of files: 4
Official DR value: DR14
- Baritone Vocals [Frank] – Vicente Sardinero
- Bass Vocals [Gualtiero] – Mark Munkittrick
- Chorus – New York City Opera Children’s Chorus, Schola Cantorum Of New York
- Chorus Master [New York City Opera Children’s Chorus] – Mildred Hohner
- Chorus Master [Schola Cantorum Of New York] – Hugh Ross
- Composed By – Giacomo Puccini
- Conductrix [Opera Orchestra Of New York] – Eve Queler
- Engineer – Mike Ross-Trevor, Milton Cherin, Stanley Tonkel*
- Orchestra – Opera Orchestra Of New York*
- Producer – Paul Myers (2), Steven Epstein*
- Soprano Vocals [Fidelia] – Renata Scotto
- Soprano Vocals [Mezzosoprano, Tigrana] – Gwendolyn Killebrew
- Tenor Vocals [Edgar] – Carlo Bergonzi
- RCM: Okki Nokki
- TT: Clearaudio Champion Level II
- Cartridge: Limited Edition Denon DL103 SA
- Phono amp: Pro-Ject Phono Box II
- 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
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