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The Milan Recordings [CD]

Beniamino Gigli Audio CD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
Price: 5.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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The Milan Recordings + The Gigli Edition, Vol 5 + The Gigli Edition Vol 6
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Product details

  • Audio CD (28 July 2003)
  • SPARS Code: ADD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Naxos Historical
  • ASIN: B0000AE7BH
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 382,084 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Product Description

NAX 8110262; NAXOS - Germania; Classica Lirica Recital

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Young Golden-Voiced Gigli 19 Nov 2003
By J Scott Morrison HALL OF FAME TOP 500 REVIEWER
'Gigli was something less than a great artist; but as a singer pure and simple he was among the greatest.'--Desmond Shawe-Taylor
That expresses my opinion precisely. This is the first of a series of issues that will publish in order the 'singles' made by Gigli, that is to say, the recordings that were not part of complete opera sets. And this issue, from 1918-1919, is from the very beginning of his career when the voice was fresh and gloriously beautiful. The _sound_ of his voice is, to me, that of the perfect tenor. Unfortunately, Gigli was not the best musician in the opera house and later in his career he adopted mannerisms that became annoying. There is very little of that here, although in 'E lucevan le stelle' (from Tosca) there are the intrusive sobs and portamenti that later became such a part of his style. Still, it's a wonderful performance otherwise; one is swept up by the ardor of young Cavaradossi. The one phrase, 'O dolci baci,' is, I think, without parallel in any other recording I've ever heard.
The very first notes of the first recording, 'Dai campi, dai prati', from Boito's 'Mefistofele,' shock us with their beauty. This is fervent, eager, spontaneous singing at its best. The same is true of the duet from the same opera, 'Lontano, lontano' (in spite of squawly soprano Gemma Rosini). The aria from the opera's Epilog, 'Giunto sul passo esteremo,' demonstrates not only the beauty of the tenor's voice but also his ability to express a text. The duet from Act I of 'Mefistofele' ('Se tu mi doni un'ora di riposo') where Gigli is joined by black-voiced basso Carlo Scattola, is impassioned.
The ease and grace of 'Apri la tua finestra' from Mascagni's rarely-heard 'Iris' is remarkable. I had to play it three times in a row the first time I listened to the CD.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very early music by Gigli 23 Jan 2009
By Sally Wilton VINE VOICE
Verified Purchase
Not realising this is strictly in chronological order I bought this Volume 1 expecting it to be his best known works. The recordings date back to nearly 100 years ago and the quality is what one would expect from that time. I was brought up listening to Gigli as my mother is Italian and loved him. I think I will try and find a CD of his most famous works and hopefully they will be a little bit more recent.
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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Young Golden-Voiced Gigli 11 Nov 2003
By J Scott Morrison - Published on Amazon.com
'Gigli was something less than a great artist; but as a singer pure and simple he was among the greatest.'--Desmond Shawe-Taylor
That expresses my opinion precisely. This is the first of a series of issues that will publish in order the 'singles' made by Gigli, that is to say, the recordings that were not part of complete opera sets. And this issue, from 1918-1919, is from the very beginning of his career when the voice was fresh and gloriously beautiful. The _sound_ of his voice is, to me, that of the perfect tenor. Unfortunately, Gigli was not the best musician in the opera house and later in his career he adopted mannerisms that became annoying. There is very little of that here, although in 'E lucevan le stelle' (from Tosca) there are the intrusive sobs and portamenti that later became such a part of his style. Still, it's a wonderful performance otherwise; one is swept up by the ardor of young Cavaradossi. The one phrase, 'O dolci baci,' is, I think, without parallel in any other recording I've ever heard.
The very first notes of the first recording, 'Dai campi, dai prati', from Boito's 'Mefistofele,' shock us with their beauty. This is fervent, eager, spontaneous singing at its best. The same is true of the duet from the same opera, 'Lontano, lontano' (in spite of squawly soprano Gemma Rosini). The aria from the opera's Epilog, 'Giunto sul passo esteremo,' demonstrates not only the beauty of the tenor's voice but also his ability to express a text. The duet from Act I of 'Mefistofele' ('Se tu mi doni un'ora di riposo') where Gigli is joined by black-voiced basso Carlo Scattola, is impassioned.
The ease and grace of 'Apri la tua finestra' from Mascagni's rarely-heard 'Iris' is remarkable. I had to play it three times in a row the first time I listened to the CD. I will admit I'd never heard the aria before. Another Mascagni aria, 'Ah! ritrovarla nella sua capanna' from 'Lodoletta,' was more familiar to me; its mystery and longing are palpable here.
The opening phrase of 'Cielo e mar' from 'La Gioconda,' so difficult to sing fluidly, is sung with ease and utmost security by Gigli. The same opera's duet with Barnaba (a role sung heroically here by baritone Dario Zani), 'Enzo Grimaldi, Principe di Santafior' is stirring.
'Salut, demeure chaste et pure' (here sung in Italian) from 'Faust' will melt your heart (and Marguerite/Margherita's, too, I'm sure). This is followed by the two big duets ('Laisse moi' and the heart-breaking 'Oui, c'est toi que j'aime,' sung in Italian); in these he is joined by Maria Zamboni, soprano. suitably fragile but not Gigli's equal.
Finally, we have the big favorites, 'O soave fanciulla' from 'Bohème,' and 'Mamma, quel vino è generoso' from 'Cavalleria Rusticana,' both with Zamboni, recorded Christmas week of 1919, just before Gigli was to sail for America to make his début at the Met. A fitting end to this dazzling CD.
The orchestra is conducted by Carlo Sabajno. The sound is quite good, considering the period; there is some hiss but transfer engineering wizard, Mark Obert-Thorn, has done his usual impeccable job of transforming the sound into more than acceptable shape. Naxos continues to perform a mitzvah by issuing the now-large series of historical recordings featuring the work of Obert-Thorn and of his brother wizard, Ward Marston. Huzzah, Naxos!
Recommended.
Scott Morrison
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