Many thanks to our friend Bob for this rarity At 3 hours long, Charpentier’s all but forgotten Louise is a great opera. If only singers like Angela Gheorghiu and Roberto Alagna can revive this opera on a studio recording! The ligher, more elegant, French-style voices of Beverly Sills and Nicolai Gedda make this particular version a lot like Massenet’s Manon. Rudel conducts with a mixture of dramatic realism, romance and bubbly music. Sills is past her prime but can still sing a difficult role like Louise with a style that is uniquely her own and with undying commitment. Jose Van Dam and Mignon Dunn are fine as the “baritone” father and “mezzo” mother, making their roles as convincingly real as possible, though mostly lyrical. This is a fine opera and you shouldn’t hesitate to buy it if you are a fan of any of the singers.
Many many thanks to our friend Bob for this great and rare pearl
Bellini’s opera “I Capuleti E i Montechi” is unfortunately overshadowed by the more famous Charles Gounod French opera Romeo et Juliette. This Italian bel canto work is rarely staged and even rarely recorded. It’s a pity really because this is a terrific opera, even if highly edited and even if Bellini tinkered with the play. It’s a gem of bel canto opera, full of beautiful melodies, dramatic passions and arias and ensembles that are linked together like a chain of gold. It is a glorious opera when it is performed by the right singers. Recorded in the late 60’s, it stars soprano Beverly Sills and mezzo soprano Janet Baker, both at the height of their powers as singers. In the tenor role (not that of Romeo, but Tebaldo) is Nicolai Gedda.
Although my personal favourite – and IHMO best version on earth – the Sutherland/Pavarotti/Milnes recording from 1973 is, this Rigoletto is absolutely wonderful. Rudel conducted firmly but not magnificently, but the cast is magnificent. Milnes (also the title role in the Rigoletto with Sutherland and Pavarotti) is the best ever, no doubt. Always touching and powerful, his acting is amazing and his screams of “Gilda! Mia Gilda! Ah, la maledizione!” are unrivalled. Without any doubt, Milnes is one of the greatest baritones ever been on earth
# Composer: Giuseppe Verdi
# Performers: Alfredo Kraus, Sherrill Milnes, Beverly Sills, Samuel Ramey, Mignon Dunn # Orchestra: Philarmonia Orchestra
# Conductor: Julius Rudel # Vinyl (1979) # Number of Discs: 2.5 # Format: Flac # Label: EMI # DR-Analysis: DR 14
# ASIN CD: B000002S7K # Size: 2.37 GB # Scan: yes # Server: FF
To my friend Spearo Somewhen in the 70s I had a highlights record of this recording. I remember, it blew me away on hearing Milnes, a baritone, singing some high tunes like a tenor…the only baritone I ever heard singing Figaro this way…