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Historical - Verdi: Il trovatore / Karajan, Callas, et al

Album Summary

>Verdi, Giuseppe : Il Trovatore
Performers Conductor Ensemble Composer

Notes & Reviews:

Gramophone Classical Music Guide
Callas and Karajan took the world by the ears in the 1950s with this Il trovatore. Leonora was one of Callas's finest stage roles, and this recording is wonderfully intense, with a dark concentrated loveliness of sound in the principal arias that puts one in mind of Muzio or Ponselle at their best. Walter Legge always managed to team Callas with the right conductor for the work in question. Often it was Serafin, but Karajan in Il trovatore is utterly compelling.

This opera, like Beethoven's Seventh Symphony and Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring, is one of music's great essays in sustained rhythmic intensity; dramatically it deals powerfully in human archetypes. All this is realised by the young Karajan with that almost insolent mastery of score and orchestra which made him such a phenomenon at this period of is career. There are some cuts, but, equally, some welcome inclusions (such as the second verse of 'Di quella pira', sung by di Stefano with his own unique kind of slancio).

Although the EMI sound is very good, one or two climaxes suggest that in the heat of the moment, the engineer, Robert Beckett, let the needle run into the red and you might care to play the set in mono to restore that peculiar clarity and homogeneity of sound which are the mark of Legge's finest productions of the mono era. But whatever you do don't miss this set.


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Works Details

>Verdi, Giuseppe : Il Trovatore
  • Performers: Fedora Barbieri (Mezzo Soprano); Renato Ercolani (Vocals); Maria Callas (Voice); Giulio Mauri (Bass); Luisa Villa (Mezzo Soprano); Nicola Zaccaria (Bass); Rolando Panerai (Baritone); Giuseppe Di Stefano (Voice)
  • Conductor: Herbert Karajan
  • Ensemble: Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra
  • Notes: Teatro alla Scala, Milan, Italy (1956-08-03&1956-08-04&1956-)
  • Running Time: 105 min. 16 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Form: Opera/Operetta
  • Written: 1853