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Rossini: Guillaume Tell [Box set]

Lamberto Gardelli Audio CD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
Price: £14.76 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Product details

  • Audio CD (11 Oct 2010)
  • SPARS Code: ADD
  • Number of Discs: 4
  • Format: Box set
  • Label: EMI
  • ASIN: B0040UEI4U
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 24,945 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Disc: 1
1. Ouverture (Orchestre)
2. Quel jour serein le ciel présage! (Choeurs)
3. Accours dans ma nacelle (Pêcheur/Tell/Jemmy/Hedwige)
4. On entend des montagnes (Xhoeurs/Jemmy/Hedwige/Pêcheur/Tell/Arnold/Melchthal)
See all 18 tracks on this disc
Disc: 2
1. Pâle et tremblant, se soutenant à peine (Jemmy/Pêcheur/Leuthold/Hedwige/Melchthal)
2. Arnold a disparu (Tell/Choeurs/Leuthold/Hedwige)
3. Dieu de bonté, Dieu tout-puissant (Choeurs/Rodolphe/Jemmy/Hedwige/Melchthal)
4. Ils vont parler
See all 24 tracks on this disc
Disc: 3
1. Arnold, d'où naît ce désespoir? (Mathilde/Arnold)
2. Pour notre amour plus d'espérance (Mathilde)
3. Qual bruit arrive à mon oreille?
4. Sur la rive étrangère (Mathilde/Arnold)
See all 20 tracks on this disc
Disc: 4
1. Ah! que ton âme se rassure (Jeremy)
2. Ne m'abandonne pas, espoir de la vengeance!
3. Asile héréditaire (Arnold)
4. Vengeance! Vengeance!
See all 14 tracks on this disc
Disc: 5
1. Libretto
2. Synopsis

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
By Luca
Format:Audio CD
This is the 2010 reissue of the 1972 magnificent studio recording of the French version (the one actually edited by the composer himself) of the last Rossini's opera.
"Guillaume Tell" is here presented in a quite complete version (4 CDs containing nearly four hours of wonderful music), therefore gaining in narrative breath and balance.

The great Gabriel Bacquier (b. 1924) is a convincing Guillaume, rendered through a round and generous heroic vocality, but, at the same time, able to convey a moving lyricism, as in the heart rending scene which precedes the well known episode of the apple.

A really top level couple of artists - Montserrat Caballé (b. 1933), as Mathilde, and Nicolai Gedda (b. 1925), as Arnoldo, - gives us solos and duets where virtuosic bel canto and interpretative deepness perfectly merge for a pleasant listening and an intense emotional involvement.

Mady Mesplé (b. 1931), one of the best famed French "soprano di coloratura", convincingly renders the combative personality, joined to the childish tenderness, of Jemmy, Guillaume's young son, giving us some very enjoyable bel canto moments.

Jocelyne Taillon (1941-2004) - a pupil of the great Germaine Lubin (1890-1979) - is an excellent Edwige (Guillaume's wife and Jemmy's mother) in rendering her continuos and deep apprehension for her beloved relatives' destiny, courageously hidden under the dignity suited to a leader's wife.

This outstanding group of Stars is then appropriately supported by a powerful and solid team of basses - with voices of other times.
A young Kolos Kovacs (b. 1948), even if his French pronunciation is not so refined, is a powerful Walter; Gwynne Howell (b.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars TEAM TELL 14 Mar 2013
By DAVID BRYSON TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
This set gets an enthusiastic endorsement from me in three senses. First, the sheer quality of the participants' work, including the sound-engineering as well as the singing and playing, is kept at a high and consistent level through nearly 4 hours of opera. Secondly, this is a true team effort, not least because the skill in the team selection would win the admiration of Alex Ferguson, Jose Mourinho, Pep Guardiola and other such master practitioners. Not least do I recommend the set for giving us the work as Rossini conceived it, something that may still be unique among recorded versions.

First impressions count, and my first impression was of a sense of space and air in the sound round the orchestra. How much of this was achieved during the initial recording in the early 70's and how much is modernised sound I have no way of knowing and fortunately no need to know either. One way or another the sound serves the artists to something like perfection throughout. The soloists are well balanced against the orchestra, there is never a hint of distortion on high notes, but I congratulate the technicians most of all on their handling of the choruses. We can hear the alertness and clean diction in the semi-choruses, and the enunciation remains remarkably distinct even when the sound is built up to the great imposing climaxes at the end of the third and fourth acts. I mentioned quality, and the technical quality reflects a really remarkable consistency among the singers themselves. In a production this long I would normally take for granted (and normally get) at least some minor lapses in intonation, but if there are any here I have missed them after three complete hearings.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.8 out of 5 stars  6 reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars In the original French and with Caballe at her best but otherwise vocally flawed 21 July 2011
By Ralph Moore - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Having just reviewed the recording of the Italian version of this opera on Decca under Chailly, I naturally returned to this one as the companion piece, made some four years earlier in 1972. In one sense, they are not really comparable, this being the original French version and hence exactly what Rossini intended for "La grande Boutique", complete with a Third Act ballet and four hours of music. In some ways the opera is suited to Italian, dealing as it does with big patriotic themes and thwarted, secret love, but when you hear this music sung in French either by native singers or singers like Caballe and Gedda who are good linguists and at home in the language, you realise that, unsurprisingly, French fits the rhythms and stresses of the music better.

The main vocal glory in this set is undoubtedly Caballe; she displays all the vocal traits that place her in the front rank of great sopranos of the second half of the 20C, particularly her exquisite pianissimi and portamenti. For all her virtues, Mirella Freni yields to Caballe for agility, delicacy and poignancy of expression. Otherwise the vocal advantages are nearly all with the Decca set. Bacquier, Gedda and Kovacs are all dry of voice in comparison with the firmer, more virile tones of Milnes, Pavarotti and Ghiaurov, although it is always a pleasure to hear how Bacquier inflects both his music and the words he sings, injecting great drama and emotion, even if his top notes are a bit windy. Several previous reviews have remarked that the reason behind the dryness of Gedda's timbre was that "he was getting on a bit". Actually, no; he was barely 47 at the time of recording and his high C - a good few of them, in fact, being required in this opera - is in good shape but his tenor was ever essentially rather constricted to my ears, even if it was more mellifluous when he first appeared on the scene as Karajan's protégé in the 50's. The lack of steadiness and tonal beauty in the middle of the voice cannot compete with the splendour of Pavarotti in his prime. Still, he has the notes and is always an intelligent, involved singer.

The supporting cast features several native French singers to add authenticity and Gallic bite although Kovacs is clearly not idiomatic in French. Mady Mesplé is given Jemmy's aria, sometimes cut, as an appendix to Act 3 at the beginning of Disc 4 and uses her bright, very French soprano to sing it prettily. Gardelli provides livelier, considerably more responsive direction than the somewhat cautious Chailly, although the 1972 analogue sound for EMI is less brilliant than the early digital sound for Decca.

So if one does compare the two main, contending recordings - possibly a slightly redundant exercise given that they are in different languages - the old "swings and roundabouts" principle applies, although the Decca is generally the more impressive vocally. Devotees of Rossini's masterpiece will want to own both. Despite my intense admiration for Caballe, my reservations concerning the singing of the other principals lead me to deduct one star from this EMI set but we are unlikely now to get a better recording of the premiere as it was first heard in 1829.
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rossini's greatest opera 9 Dec 2010
By D. R. Schryer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Almost everyone is familiar with the last section of the overture to William Tell because of its use as the theme for The Lone Ranger. Some people are even familiar with the whole overture and realize what a masterful tone poem it is. But unfortunately few people have heard the magnificent opera which goes with the famous overture. And the opera William Tell -- despite its relative obscurity -- is indeed a genuine masterpiece, filled not only with outstanding arias and choruses but also with great orchestral and ballet music. William Tell was Rossini's last opera -- and despite the greatness of the his many other operas, including The Barber of Seville -- William Tell was Rossini's greatest masterpiece. If you love opera and have never heard the complete William Tell please acquire this outstanding recording. If you do, I think that you will agree with me that it has been unjustly neglected and belongs in the mainstream operatic repertoire.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A truly Rossinian "Guillaume Tell" rendered in all its colorful splendor. 11 Jan 2013
By Luca - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
This is the 2010 reissue of the 1972 magnificent studio recording of the French version (the one actually edited by the composer himself) of the last Rossini's opera.
"Guillaume Tell" is here presented in a quite complete version (4 CDs containing nearly four hours of wonderful music), therefore gaining in narrative breath and balance.

The great Gabriel Bacquier (b. 1924) is a convincing Guillaume, rendered through a round and generous heroic vocality, but, at the same time, able to convey a moving lyricism, as in the heart rending scene which precedes the well known episode of the apple.

A really top level couple of artists - Montserrat Caballé (b. 1933), as Mathilde, and Nicolai Gedda (b. 1925), as Arnoldo, - gives us solos and duets where virtuosic bel canto and interpretative deepness perfectly merge for a pleasant listening and an intense emotional involvement.

Mady Mesplé (b. 1931), one of the best famed French "soprano di coloratura", convincingly renders the combative personality, joined to the childish tenderness, of Jemmy, Guillaume's young son, giving us some very enjoyable bel canto moments.

Jocelyne Taillon (1941-2004) - a pupil of the great Germaine Lubin (1890-1979) - is an excellent Edwige (Guillaume's wife and Jemmy's mother) in rendering her continuos and deep apprehension for her beloved relatives' destiny, courageously hidden under the dignity suited to a leader's wife.

This outstanding group of Stars is then appropriately supported by a powerful and solid team of basses - with voices of other times.
A young Kolos Kovacs (b. 1948), even if his French pronunciation is not so refined, is a powerful Walter; Gwynne Howell (b. 1938) well personifies Melchthal, wise, but still combative, patriarch; Nicolas Christou (b. 1943) is a very appropriate Leuthold; Louis Hendrikx, in my opinion, presents an opaquer and less rounded and homogeneous vocal emission, but, on the whole, his timbre is well suited to the wicked Gessler.

But what further exalts the quality of the whole is the intelligent and sensitive conducting by Lamberto Gardelli (1915-1989), who manages to extract from the original, innovative and difficult Rossini's score the entire myriad of colours and details it masterfully has been filled with, merging them through a coherent and unitary artistic vision.
Always attentive and present, but never invasive, while "accompanying" the soloist and excellent in holding at a very high artistic level the numerous choral parts, Gardelli has then a wide room to demonstrate all his highly refined orchestral technique and his deep musical and personal sensitiveness during the many parts for orchestra solos, as the famous overture, the interludes, the ballets. The result of his work is a refined and vivid arras, rich of splendid and warm colours, perfectly matching what virtually contained in Rossini's score.
In brief, avoiding senseless attention-seeking, while granting the needed "breath" to the superstars of the cast, Gardelli steadily holds the interpretative leadership of this complex masterpiece, so that I think this recording can deservedly be regarded as his own "Guillaume Tell".

As a matter of fact, "Guillaume Tell" is an opera seria, with dramatic and high tension moments, but it is not a tragedy; its "happy ending", the importance of landscape themes and of passages describing everyday bucolic life fully justify a scoring and a reading far from the darkness of ineluctability. Here, the legendary aspect, quite fabled, the liberation hope, finally fulfilled, and the sense of daily life, that, in any case, goes on following its natural pace, are constantly present in the background of the main plot.

The Ambrosian Opera Chorus and John McCarthy deserve a very particular praise for their exceptional technical and artistic capacities.
The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra is "on fire", and attentively and generously supports Gardelli's artistic effort.

The excellent studio-stereo-analogic 1972 original recording has been improved by the 1988 remastering (the same used for the preceding issue on CD).
As always in this EMI collection, the libretto is not on paper, but it is on the additional CD or it can be downloaded from the EMI Opera site.

I think that it is, and - alas! - it will be, very difficult to find a better recording of this truly Rossinian French edition.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Complete in almost every sense. 22 Aug 2013
By Abert - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
This Gardelli recording of the original French version of Rossini's "Guilaume Tell" is likely to remain unassailed in the forseeable future (the recent year release nowhere comes near).
The reasons are easy to fathom - at the pit is the alert and tasteful direction of Lamberto Gardelli, an early-Verdi expert who excels here in the late Rossini masterpiece.
Guillaume Tell, together with Semiramide, is easily the best of Rossini's operas, topping even the immensely popular La Cenerentola, Il Barbiere di Sivigli, and Il Vaggio a Reims. The music is propellingly heroic and romantic in turns, and as always, Rossini shines in ensembles, only that in this one, the solo arias are fully gripping as well.
If you own the Chailly/Pavarotti/Freni Italian version and think that you need only to have that one, you are sorely mistaken. While that one is certainly great, this French version sung by Caballe/Gedda/Mesple should under no circumstances be overlooked.
Admittedly, Gedda is not the ideal Arnoldo with a lighter voice that may sound a tad hooty in the forte passages, he sings in good bel canto style and tackle the high notes in the final Act with bravura.
The soprano roles are however the main vocal attraction, with Caballe in her absolute prime, shining together with the terrific Mady Mesple in the trouser role of Jemmy.
That Caballe is invincible in this sort of repertoire needs little convincing - her Semiramide, though pirate recording, is already ample evidence that she is the best ever interpretor of this type of Rossinian 'big soprano roles'. Mesple benefitted by Gardelli's re-instatment of Jemmy's big aria 'Ah! Que Ton Âme Se Rassure' in Act 3, and what a worthy reinstatement!
If Caballe is the invincible dramatic coloratura, then Mesple is simply the best coloratura leggiero of her era.
No opera lover could afford to miss this terrific recording.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars TEAM TELL 14 Mar 2013
By DAVID BRYSON - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
This set gets an enthusiastic endorsement from me in three senses. First, the sheer quality of the participants' work, including the sound-engineering as well as the singing and playing, is kept at a high and consistent level through nearly 4 hours of opera. Secondly, this is a true team effort, not least because the skill in the team selection would win the admiration of Alex Ferguson, Jose Mourinho, Pep Guardiola and other such master practitioners. Not least do I recommend the set for giving us the work as Rossini conceived it, something that may still be unique among recorded versions.

First impressions count, and my first impression was of a sense of space and air in the sound round the orchestra. How much of this was achieved during the initial recording in the early 70's and how much is modernised sound I have no way of knowing and fortunately no need to know either. One way or another the sound serves the artists to something like perfection throughout. The soloists are well balanced against the orchestra, there is never a hint of distortion on high notes, but I congratulate the technicians most of all on their handling of the choruses. We can hear the alertness and clean diction in the semi-choruses, and the enunciation remains remarkably distinct even when the sound is built up to the great imposing climaxes at the end of the third and fourth acts. I mentioned quality, and the technical quality reflects a really remarkable consistency among the singers themselves. In a production this long I would normally take for granted (and normally get) at least some minor lapses in intonation, but if there are any here I have missed them after three complete hearings. Vocal quality is something a glance at the cast-list would lead you to expect, and there are no disappointments, so far as I am concerned, as one beautiful number succeeds another. Caballe is at her heavenly best, but even she does not totally outshine Jocelyne Taillon as Hedwige. Caballe is the brightest jewel in the box, but not in a class of her own.

However Mathilde (Caballe) is not a particularly big role. Nor, come to that, is the part of Tell himself nor even of the villain Gessler. These two polar opposites set each other off very appropriately; but far and away the biggest part is the tenor role of Arnold. This is taken by Gedda, and I shall defend this piece of casting as robustly as I know how. A richer voice, such as Pavarotti's, would have unbalanced the casting, particularly in combination with Caballe. We have to listen to Arnold with only short absences, and Gedda can dominate the ensembles as well as produce all the power needed at times, as in the thrilling `asile hereditaire' in the last act. However this is not Verdi, demanding superhuman lung-power, Arnold is not Radames, and this is how I like the part sung.

On top of their other accomplishments, the cast seem to deal with French well, and this is fortunate because it is particularly interesting to hear Rossini's last published operatic ideas before he retired at the ripe old age of 37. According to a version I have read somewhere, Rossini told Wagner some 30 years later that he could have set his sights higher `car j'avais du talent.' I can't help speculating on what he might have achieved if he had felt like making an effort. In a way he reminds me of Saint-Saens: they never seem to do anything badly, they never seem to break sweat, but Saint-Saens gives me the feeling that he is doing his best whereas I sense that Rossini had more in him. This is a personal view of course, but for what it may be worth I need to hear his last and most ambitious effort as he envisaged it, and for that reason alone this is the version of Guillaume Tell that I want to own. One interesting detail not picked up in the admirable essay by Nicholas Payne is that the last disc starts with an aria described as an `appendix'. I'm glad to have it of course, but someone might have told us where it comes from.

You will find Payne's essay on the Bonus Disc, and be advised not to jump to the conclusion that I nearly jumped to when I saw the contents of this disc described as `libretto' and `booklet'. There is what I would call a booklet in the actual case, and it contains a very brief liner note together with the heads of the various tracks and the cast list. The disc's `booklet' essay is one of the best that can ever have graced such a production, and it runs to 13 pages of print plus 12 of synopsis. Definitely not to be confused with the smaller booklet and nearly ignored on that account, as I nearly ignored it. The libretto is given with an English translation, but the print is rather small using the `factory settings'. Why this should be I don't know, because the print occupies hardly more than one third of an A4 page. Another minor detail to look out for is that page 29 of the 32 may get printed twice and page 30 omitted. I expect that this is something in my printer settings, but as the error is unique in three years or so of operating this printer I mention it in passing to look out for.

If you have read this far you hardly need me to say that I find this an outstanding set for a number of reasons. I have not even mentioned most of the singers by name, and the orchestra only in passing. All first class, and of course a special commendation must go to the great ringmaster himself, maestro Gardelli, team leader of a superlative team.
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