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VERDI-OTELLO -2CD-

Arturo Toscanini, Herbert von Karajan Audio CD
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
Price: £8.96
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Product details

  • Audio CD
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: EMI
  • ASIN: B000027JT6
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 362,990 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

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4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Raw, vital and immediate 13 July 2006
By Ralph Moore TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Audio CD
I'm never quite sure why this recording doesn't get a look in when critics compare it to the later, 1960, Karajan set with the same principals. Yes, it's rough in parts but that's precisely what gives it the feeling of a live performance; it's all thrills and visceral emotion - and all three main singers are six years younger, hence fresher and more powerful than in the Karajan. The occasional unsteadiness in del Monaco's emission of tone could be said to anticipate Otello's eventual mental breakdown and Tebaldi is sweeter at the top of her voice than she was to become. Protti's no Gobbi -still less a Tibbett - but the basic quality of voice is attractive and he does characterize successfully; he certainly does not let the side down. This recording is in bright 1954 stereo and really delivers. I do not think that the perfect recording of "Otello" exists and some would come no further forward in time than Serafin's account with a restrained, intense Vickers, an insinuating, yet often dry-toned Gobbi, and a wavery but moving Rysanek. I have no time for the Domingo recordings; it's simply not an "Otello" voice; instead I would go back to the veteran Toscanini and Busch sets, both with Vinay, in clean, clear, mono sound and both with good Desdemonas and superb Iagos in Valdengo and Warren respectively - actually both have more voice than, and as much artistry as, Gobbi. Or, best of all, according to taste, is the 1991 live Forlane recording with the under-rated Giacomini, whose thrilling baritonal timbre and trumpeting top notes encompass all the demands of this role. He is ably supported by the veteran Manuguerra, still singing amazingly well at 66, and Margaret Price meltingly beautiful as Desdemona. But this Erede set is cheap and strongly sung, too; don't hesitate.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Del Monaco still great 27 Oct 2013
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
This recording may not be the first recomedation for Otello, but Del Monaco in his prime is a true dramatic tenor, something in short supply today. Tebaldi also in her freshest most lovely voice. The later Karajan recording also on Decca and in stereo is better conducted and better sound, but the principals on this recording, earlier in their careers are worth hearing especially at budget price.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Masterful 5 Nov 2013
Format:Audio CD
Even to a cloth-eared rock fan like me, this music sounds sublime: Mark Elder, leading the E.N.O., Rosalind Plowright, Craig Charles and Neil Howlett et al make a glorious noise.

It is all under the direction of Dr. Johnathan Miller - there won't be many like him when he's gone.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.2 out of 5 stars  6 reviews
18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars In Stereo for the First Time 12 Nov 2003
By T. Beers - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
It's generally conceded that Tebaldi, del Monaco and Protti are all heard to better advantage in their second recording of Otello, recorded by Decca in Vienna with Herbert von Karajan conducting. And there's no question that von Karajan's direction is in a completely different league than Erede's much more approximate and haphazard effort. That said, there are a couple of reasons lovers of this magnificent opera should buy these discs. First, Tebaldi and del Monaco sound fresher in this circa 1954 performance (not surprising given that they are circa six years younger than they were when recording with Karajan). Whereas the difference may not seem great vis-a-vis del Monaco's typically blustery (but extraordinarily exciting) performance, Tebaldi's superb Desdemona is fresher and more touching under Erede. (Protti is neutral and soul-less in both performances. But then, nobody buys Otello for Protti's merely workmanlike Jago.) Second, although previously released on mono Lps, this CD issue is presented in genuine stereo for the first time. Trust me, Decca/London/Richmond's mono Lps always sounded first-rate, but the Erede Otello sounds even more impressive in stereo: full, warm and with believable directional "space" around singers and orchestra. Rough and raw it may be, but all things considered, this is still a very attractive Otello. And indispensable for fans of the great Renata Tebaldi. So don't give up the later Karajan recording, but buy this as a bargain supplement. Certainly, Tebaldi's Desdemona is absolutely priceless!
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Poor admin by amazon 11 Mar 2014
By J. E. Taylor - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
None of the reviews here are actually of the recording of Otello under discussion, which stars Vickers, Kabaivanska and Quilico.

Therefore all the reviews you read on this page of Freni, del Monaco, Price, Tebaldi, Rethberg, Martinelli etc are thanks to dreadful review placement on behalf of Amazon.
4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Raw, elemental and immediate 13 July 2006
By Ralph Moore - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
I'm never quite sure why this recording doesn't get a look in when critics compare it to the later, 1960, Karajan set with the same principals. Yes, it's rough in parts but that's precisely what gives it the feeling of a live performance; it's all thrills and visceral emotion - and all three main singers are six years younger, hence fresher and more powerful than in the Karajan. The occasional unsteadiness in del Monaco's emission of tone could be said to anticipate Otello's mental breakdown and Tebaldi is sweeter at the top of her voice than she was to become. Protti's no Gobbi -still less a Tibbett - but the basic quality of voice is attractive and he does characterise successfully; he certainly does not let the side down. This recording is in bright 1954 stereo and really delivers.

I do not think that the perfect recording of "Otello" exists and some would come no further forward in time than Serafin's account with a restrained, intense Vickers, an insinuating, yet often dry-toned Gobbi, and a wavery but moving Rysanek. I have no time for the Domingo recordings; as much as I admire him in other roles, his is simply not an "Otello" voice. Instead, I would go back to the veteran Toscanini and Busch sets, both with Vinay, in clean, clear, mono sound and both with good Desdemonas and superb Iagos in Valdengo and Warren respectively - actually both have more voice than, and as much artistry as, Gobbi. Or, best of all, according to taste, is the 1991 live Forlane recording with the under-rated Giacomini, whose thrilling baritonal timbre and trumpeting top notes encompass all the demands of this role. He is ably supported by the veteran Manuguerra, still singing amazingly well at 66, and Margaret Price meltingly beautiful as Desdemona. But this Erede set is cheap and strongly sung, too; don't hesitate.
6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Wonderful Recording of a Verdi Masterpiece 24 Jan 2005
By Timothy Kearney - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
The premiere of OTELLO was one of the greatest moments in operatic history. Verdi was near the end of his career. Only FALSTAFF succeeded OTELLO and in the eyes of many, OTELLO is Verdi's greatest achievement. Music lovers of the day, who were usually late for performances made an exception and arrived early for OTELLO. The public was so excited at the premiere, riots nearly started on the streets of Milan. The crowds were so enthusiastic about the music, the applause and cheering was deafening, at least according to legend. OTELLO still causes excitement. This adaptation of the Shakespeare play, which tells of pure love as well as the tragedy that results when power and jealousy take control of a person is timeless. When the greatest singers are assembled and have the vocal gifts to bring this great work to life, the results are magical. Three great voices who are legendary in this opera include Mario Del Monaco as Otello, Renata Tebaldi as Desdemona, and Aldo Protti as Jago.

Verdi's OTELLO always tops my list of favorite operas, and Mario Del Monaco and Renata Tebaldi are my Otello and Desdemona of choice. I also enjoy Aldo Protti's Jago. Protti is masterful as the evil Jago. Fans of Tebaldi, Del Monaco, and Protti have a choice of two great recordings of this work: one under the baton of Alberto Erede and the other under Herbert Von Karajan's direction. The Erede recording was recorded in 1954, sousing the best technology of the day, and it still sounds great today. Del Monaco, Tebaldi, and Protti are in better vocal from in this recording. The chorus and orchestra are excellent as well. All of these elements make this re-release by Decca a true gem for the opera lover.

Many people looking at this review are probably trying to decide between this recording and the Karajan version. Both are among the best recordings of this work. While either would make an excellent choice, there are a few differences. Del Monaco is more majestic in the Karajan recording, though in the Erede set, I find that Del Moanaco's singing is cleaner. Tebaldi and Protti are similar in both sets. In the Erede set, the orchestra is not as powerful as the trademark full blown sound characteristic of most Karajan sets. For those who love Karajan's sound, this will be an asset. I happen to love the Karajan recordings I have in my collection, especially the OTELLO, but Erede's more understated though still powerful orchestra does highlight the vocal talents of the singers, which is what makes opera opera. One of the things I do enjoy about this recording is that at some of the more powerful moments of the opera, specifically Otello and Desdemona's Act I duet and the finale of Act III, the singers and orchestra are not competing with each other as can be the case in the Karajan set. Overall, this recording is enjoyable and makes a wonderful primary or back-up recording.
6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars For vocal fans only -- Erede is quite poor 7 April 2008
By Santa Fe Listener - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
It's been common practice for fans of this 1954 Otello to excuse its two glaring weaknesses: the bland, barely serviceable Iago from Aldo Protti and the lame conducting by Erede. In Protti's case there's nothing to be done. He appears on Decca's remake under Karajan, to even worse effect. But Otello is, among other things, an orchestral masterpiece, and the choice between Erede and Karajan is chalk and cheese. In no way does Erede's flat, funcitonal leadership do justice to Verdi's score, while Karajan, who made a specialty of this opera, offers one of the greatest readings on disc, fully equal to arlos Kleiber and barely short of Toscanini.

As to the lead singers' freshness of voice, one has to agree, but in compensation, Karajan gets more subtlety out of Tebaldi and coaxes Del Monaco to tone down his fire-siren voice. Finally, the recorded sound in the later version is spectacular, while this early stereo set, although good, isn't of the same caliber. In all, I'ld buy the Erede only if you must have Tebaldi or Del Monaco in better voice.
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