Thursday, October 10, 2013

Giuseppe Verdi Festival


   Among many musical theatre composers the two dominated the opera scene in 19th century were Giuseppe Verdi and Richard Wagner – both were born the same year and this was the only common point of these two. Giuseppe Verdi (1813-1901) was a child of the era. He was composer of extended romantic style with tendencies to popular music and in later works to the post-romantic ideas, partly as reaction to Wagner’s drama. He is probably most celebrated composer of the century. Main part of his work consists of nearly three dozens of operas and revisions. He has written also some songs and sacred works with highly valued Requiem. Although shortly after his death he was detronised by Giacomo Puccini, he should be remembered as the greatest opera composer of opulent era. 
   There are thousands of Verdi recordings, from life performances and complete opera albums to fragments in recitals of many composers and performers. And it’s negligible if there is full Verdi’s work or only short fragment. One of features of composers output is this simple fact, every work has highlights playing the role of hits in romantic music culture. No wonder there are many concert programs and records showing only these fragments. One of such was Verdi Festival published as the Capriccio Club Edition in 1985 with fragment of Giovanni Boldini’s famous portrait of 71 year old Verdi. This is very well pressed, introducing quite good performances and well edited choice, so it deserves three and a half of the five star scale.

Giuseppe Verdi Festival (1985)

   The Capriccio Verdi album is very good starting point for somebody who needs short introduction to best achievements of Giuseppe Verdi. It’s opened with La forza del destino overture in nice rendition of Budapest State Opera Orchestra conducted by Trikolidisz Karolosz. Than come full version of Va pensiero choir from Nabucco and ballet scene from Aida performed by London Symphony Orchestra with Laurence Siegel and Di quella pira from Il trovatore sung with brave by Ludovic Spiess. Second side comprises Intermezzo from La Traviata again with Budapest Opera and Karolosz, gypsy chorus from Il trovatore performed by Chor und Orchester Der Staatsoper Berlin conducted by Otmar Suitner and two fragments from Don Carlos – duet of Don Carlos and Rodrigo Carlo Bergonzi and Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, air Ella giammai m’amo sung by Nicola Rossi.
   Second record of the album starts with Triumphal March from Aida continued with Zitti, zitti, noviamo a vendetta from Rigoletto and soldiers chorus from Il trovatore. These fragments were recorded by ensemble of Staatsoper Berlin under Otmar Suitner. In this choice there have to be some arias and great vocal performances. Nicola Herlea in Di provenza il mar from La Traviata, Eva Marton sings Pace, pace from La forza del destino and Sylvia Sass with Giorgio Lamberti duet from Ernani. The fourth part concluding the choice comprises three spectacular arias: Cortigiani from Rigoletto sung by Nicola Herlea, Mia madre aveva una povera ancella from Othello perfectly exposed by Anna Tomova-Sintov, and Studia il passo from Macbeth performed by Boris Christoff. These fragments are framed by Prelude to 3rd Act of Aida (Staatsoper Berlin, C. Litvin) and Matador Choir from La Traviata (Opera Bukarest, J.Bobescu). I have to admit it's quite a nice program for birthday celebration.

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