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Verdi: Il Trovatore (Metropolitan Opera)

Fausto Cleva Audio CD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
Price: £7.28 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £10. Details
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Product details

  • Performer: Mario Sereni, Leontyne Price, Franco Corelli
  • Conductor: Fausto Cleva
  • Composer: Giuseppe Verdi
  • Audio CD (15 Aug 2011)
  • SPARS Code: ADD
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Sony Music Classical
  • ASIN: B00579EKGY
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 144,997 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Disc: 1
1. Act I: All'erta! All'erta! - Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, Metropolitan Opera Chorus
2. Di due figli vivea padre beato ... Abbietta zingara - Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, Metropolitan Opera Chorus
3. E il padre? - Brevi e tristi giorni visse - Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, Metropolitan Opera Chorus
4. Che più t'arresti? - Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
5. Tacea la notte placida - Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
6. Di tale amor - Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
7. Tace la notte placida! - Deserto sulla terra - Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
8. Anima mia! - Ah! Dalle tenebre - Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
9. Di geloso amor sprezzato - Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
10. Act II: Vedi! Le fosche notturne (Anvil Chorus) - Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, Metropolitan Opera Chorus
See all 22 tracks on this disc
Disc: 2
1. Act III: Or co' dadi, ma fra poco - Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, Metropolitan Opera Chorus
2. In braccio al mio rival! - Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
3. Giorni poveri vivea - Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
4. Deh! Rallentate, o barbari - Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, Metropolitan Opera Chorus
5. Quale d'armi fragor - Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
6. Ah! sì, ben mio - Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
7. L'onda de'suoni mistici - Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
8. Di quella pira - Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, Metropolitan Opera Chorus
9. Act IV: Siam guinti - Fausto Cleva, Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
10. D'amor sull'ali rosee - Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
See all 18 tracks on this disc

Product Description

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By Ralph Moore TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
I actually found it very easy to sort out in my mind what I thought about this recording; the advantages and disadvantages present themselves clearly to any listener who has some knowledge of the discography and adheres to Caruso's old dictum about "Il trovatore" only needing "the four greatest singers in the world" to succeed.

The immediate competition, working on the assumption that the pairing of Price and Corelli is the main attraction here, is the live Salzburg performance from the following year. If you want either of those artists but not necessarily together, either of the studio recordings by Price with Domingo and Bonisolli respectively will be attractive, although time had taken some toll on the voice by the time the latter was made. For Corelli, the studio recording under Schippers is a favourite but he is here at his animalistic best stimulated by the nervous excitement of a live performance. The sound of this Met performance is markedly clearer, cleaner and fuller than in Salzburg - just about as good live, vintage mono gets - but Karajan's conducting is superior to Cleva's slightly rushed, tauter direction and both the Vienna Philharmonic and the Chor der Wiener Staatsoper make the Met forces sound like amateurs; the Met chorus bawls enthusiastically and pitches approximately while the orchestra cannot hope to rival the sheen and depth of sound of the VPO.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow!!! 20 Jun 2012
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
What can I say, other than buy this immediately. Corelli and Price are much more relaxed and "free-er" to express themselves than under Karajan in Salzburg and the sound is very good indeed. I have a number of Corelli's 'live' Il Trovatores (Salzburg 1962, Berlin 1961 and Milan 1962), but this new Met conversion is the best sound. Even better than Salzburg. The only 'niggle' is that in the others, Luna and Azucena are far superior, but you can't have it all and let's be honest; how many absolutely 'perfect' recordings do we all have in our collections?
We have listened to this version over an over and although Mario Sereni misses some notes and I've heard better Azucenas than Irene Dalis, the performances by Corelli and Price make up for any nit-picking. I love this recording and I'm going to invest in more from the series. Probably, Tosca will be next.
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4.0 out of 5 stars IL Trovatore NY Met. 4 Nov 2013
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
I enjoyed my favourite opera hugely. I thought Corelli & Price sang splendidly but perhaps a little cautiously at times ( not suprisingly it being t5heir debut at the Met ). Sereni I thought was the weakness. But one would have to be a real curmudgeon not to enjoy such a great opera sung like this
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars WHAT CAN ONE SAY!!! 21 Feb 2013
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
I believe that Callas hasn't been challenged by anyone so far in her core repertoire with the exception of the admirable Leontyne Price in the role of Leonora. There is not really much else to be said here. One has to hear this cd to realise the greatness of this singer. Great voice and great expression. We all Know Franco Corelli. He is a show off and he keeps his notes longer than he should but there has never been a greater tenor. Mind you, he wasn't like that when he sang with Callas. What is ever more strange, is that Callas, fiercely competitive and totally against showing off partners, would sing with him right to the very end of her carreer when she was insecure and hit by serious vocal problems.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.6 out of 5 stars  16 reviews
54 of 54 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars EVEN BETTER THAN I IMAGINED!!! 25 Aug 2011
By FitzSanFrancisco - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
I really didn't need still another TROVATORE recording. But after years of hearing about the legendary joint debuts of Leontyne Price and Franco Corelli and the still unbeaten Met record of 43 minutes of curtain calls, I couldn't resist when I saw they'd released this performance from just a few days later. (For the record, I already have 3 other Price recordings of this opera: with Tucker & Warren, with Domingo & Milnes and the Salzburg performance with Corelli & Bastianini. I cherish each of them and couldn't imagine this would be any better.) But WOW!!! This is a great example of old fashioned, "take no prisoners" opera singing, with the excited audience clearly energizing the cast with their enthusiasm. Corelli is at his most outrageous, holding notes ad infinitum, embarrassingly so at the end of the Miserere. (One full beat after Price, the chorus and orchestra have finished the final chord.) But this is great, muscular, tenor testosterone! Mario Sereni is fine as DiLuna, but admittedly not in the same class as the above-mentioned baritones. Irene Dalis is great as Azucena. Surprisingly wonderful. (What a shame she didn't get to record more.) And, yes, the ultimate glory of this performance is the over-the-top glorious singing of Leontyne Price, pouring forth
cascades of opulent tones. There are moments when you simply marvel at her breath control, stupefied at where she's getting all that support to sustain
those death-defying, extended arched lines that Verdi loved and that so few
sopranos have ever been able to do justice to. If you want to explain to a non-
opera-loving friend just why you're crazy about this art form, play him/her
Leonora's big last act aria from this recording ("D'amor sul alli...") If that
doesn't break down their resistance, nothing ever will. This is a "must have" for every lover of opera in general, and Verdi in particular.
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Price and Corelli, unequalled and in excellent mono sound 12 Sep 2011
By Ralph Moore - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
I actually found it very easy to sort out in my mind what I thought about this recording; the advantages and disadvantages present themselves clearly to any listener who has some knowledge of the discography and adheres to Caruso's old dictum about "Il trovatore" only needing "the four greatest singers in the world" to succeed.

The immediate competition, working on the assumption that the pairing of Price and Corelli is the main attraction here, is the live Salzburg performance from the following year. If you want either of those artists but not necessarily together, either of the studio recordings by Price with Domingo and Bonisolli respectively will be attractive, although time had taken some toll on the voice by the time the latter was made. For Corelli, the studio recording under Schippers is a favourite but he is here at his animalistic best stimulated by the nervous excitement of a live performance. The sound of this Met performance is markedly clearer, cleaner and fuller than in Salzburg - just about as good live, vintage mono gets - but Karajan's conducting is superior to Cleva's slightly rushed, tauter direction and both the Vienna Philharmonic and the Chor der Wiener Staatsoper make the Met forces sound like amateurs; the Met chorus bawls enthusiastically and pitches approximately while the orchestra cannot hope to rival the sheen and depth of sound of the VPO. When it comes to the other main roles, Sereni's competent and slightly cloudy baritone, despite the intensity of his acting, cannot compete with the great bronze baritone of Bastianini and Irene Dalis, for all that she uses her attractive voice intelligently to maximise the impact of her characterisation, is essentially a second-rank contralto when compared with the voices of the great Italian dames like Simionato, Barbieri and Cossotto, who have so much more resonance and heft in their lower registers. One surprising advantage to the Met version, however, is the clean incisiveness of house bass William Wilderman, of whom I had not previously heard and who somewhat eclipses the better known but slightly woolly Zaccaria in Salzburg.

But - and this is a big "but" - you will never hear anywhere else singing of the majesty and power displayed here by Price and Corelli, who surpass even their stellar performances in Salzburg. Corelli grandstands shamelessly but irresistibly, and although he sings "Di quella pira" down a semitone to end on top B rather than C, he throws in a huge top C sharp at the end of Act 1 and some stunning extended B's and B flats elsewhere. Price, too, is simply divine: thrilling, poised and deeply moving, managing C sharps, trills and extraordinarily agile coloratura to ornament the great, soaring line of the Verdian spinto soprano.

I would give this four and half stars if I could; I reluctantly deduct one only to indicate the flaws in the performance as a whole, whereas as a souvenir of two of the greatest singers in their best roles, this performance cannot be given too emphatic an endorsement.
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Which Price-Corelli "Trovatore" to pick? 7 Sep 2011
By Santa Fe Listener - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
This is a very desirable release, dating from the Met broadcast of Feb. 4, 1961. For collectors it runs head to head with a famous Trovatore from Salzburg that pairs Price and Corelli, now apparently out of print, which was broadcast the following year. How do the two compare? Surprisingly, there's much to be said in favor of this Met recording. for one thing, it's clear, well-balanced sound, although in mono, is better than Salzburg's(the best version of which is the festival's official Dokumente release on DG).

The two leads are not significantly different from one set to the other. Price's Leonoa, a signature role, is sung with miraculous vocal skill, and her interpretation seems more or less fixed. corelli, who cannot be said to rise to her level artistically, will always be controversial. To me, he's blaring and coarse,, but of course the voice per se was remarkable, particularly in this early stage. (Those who know inform me that the high C in 'Di quella pira' has been lowered a half step.) His high notes, held beyond Verdi's written notation, are greeted rapturously by the highly stimulated Met audience, and Sony has done nothing to abbreviate their applause. The other two main roles fall in Salzburg's favor, with Ettore Bastianini's magnificent Count far outdoing the reliable but fairly dull Mario Sereni. Giulietta Simionato delivers her signature Azucena, but Irene Dalis isn't far behind her, so long as you don't mind the role being less fire-eating and more restrained.

Il Trovatore doesn't pose great challenges to a competent opera conductor and orchestra. On their own terms, the Met orchestra and house Italian specialist Fausto Cleva do quite well. He panders a bit to the singers but otherwise keeps the dramatic pace moving forward. Even so, Karajan and the Vienna Phil., needless to say, arrive from a higher plane, almost another galaxy. The main reason they don't dominate more is the fairly distant miking and duller sound. I'd also like to commend the Ferrando of William Wilderman at the Met, a regular there, no doubt, but unknown to me. He easily outsings a woolly Nicola Zaccaria in Salzburg.

I've tried to give an objective appraisal, and no one who owns either set need fear. They are both great Trovatores, and one could easily chose one or the other as the best we've ever had in the modern era.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tantalizing 30 Mar 2012
By Walter P. Sheppard - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
The praise given this release by others is certainly completely merited. The performance is special and to be treasured in all respects as the way this opera should go.

The leaflet with the CD is tantalizing because it lists Leonora's last-act cabaletta, "Tu vedrai che amore," for one of the tracks, but of course it isn't there because it was for decades one of the traditional cuts in "Trovatore." It first appeared in recordings in 1956, when Maria Callas included one stanza in hers and Tebaldi included about half of it in hers. All of it was finally included in the first note-complete "Trovatore" recording with Price, Cossotto, Domingo, and Milnes in 1970.

A footnote: what happened to Robert Merrill? Amazon's main screen for the recording has an image of the page of "Opera News" for the broadcast of February 4, 1961, the source of this recording. The page lists Robert Merrill for Count Di Luna, not Mario Sereni. (It also lists Helen Vanni for Inez, not Teresa Stratas.)

Incidentally, there is a tiny spelling error in the leaflet: the bass singing Ferrando so well is William Wildermann, not Wilderman. He really does much more with his narrative than some more celebrated basses who seem to have just run into the studio for a recording session.

These are all minor points; do listen in wonder to what Verdi, Price, Corelli, and Dalis achieved in this terrific performance.
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars PRICE GLORIOUS, CORELLI SHOWBOATS 8 Nov 2011
By Steven Muni - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
One has read so much about the famous 1961 joint Price/Corelli Metropolitan opera debut in Il Trovatore that one has always wanted to hear them together in that role. But for years the only Price/Corelli recording available was the one from Salzburg in 1962, conducted by Herbert von Karajan with the Vienna Philharmonic and the Vienna Staatsoper Chorus. While that performance was excellent musically, the recording quality is seriously disappointing (as it is with many Salzburg recordings of that era.) And while there are many wonderful Price studio recordings of Trovatore with other great tenors like Placido Domingo and Richard Tucker, there's nothing like a live recording to catch the fire and drama of the moment. And the Met recording is far superior acoustically to the Salzburg. It is in excellent clear mono sound.

Many critics hold that to have a successful Trovatore, you need optimally four great singers, and at least three. Here you have three and a half. At the top of the list is Price, a week after her record-setting curtain call at the Met in the same role. Her voice is simply at its finest--while she may not have quite the depth of interpretation she would develop as her career progressed, her instrument was at its peak and her interpretation is stellar. Her performance is simply glorious.

Irene Dalis, in my opinion an underrated mezzo, does a fine job as Azucena. If it lacks the blazing passion of Simionato in the Salzburg recording, her performance is still excellent, intelligently sung with considerable artistry.

Mario Sereni is the half. He does an adequate job, but he pales in comparison to Bastianini in the Salzburg recording, or in comparison to Sherill Milnes or Leonard Warren on two of the other Price Trovatore recordings. He has a wooly voice and a not terribly incisive delivery. One of the interesting aspects of the opera is that Verdi gives Count di Luna some glorious music to sing--which Sereni does not really do justice to.

A bonus is the excellent singing of William Wilderman in the often-overlooked bass role of Ferrando. Wilderman, a Met regular in supporting roles, displays a rich, resonant bass and delivers a taut, expressive performance.

Fausto Cleva leads a reasonably taut performance. Von Karajan could let the orchestral sound get in the way of the singing--something Cleva does not do. He was more of a singers' conductor. However if you need any proof of the wonderful work that James Levine has done in shaping the Met orchestra into a world-class orchestra, you need only listen to the Met orchestra on this recording compared to how they sound today to hear how far they have come. The Met orchestra on this recording sounds like a provincial band and is simply blown out of the water by the Vienna Philharmonic. Ditto the Met chorus by the Vienna Staatsoper Chorus.

And then there's Corelli. Corelli had, in my opinion, one of the finest tenor voices of the mid-20th century. And when firmly led, he could deliver a thrilling performance. His Pollione with Maria Calas is probably the finest recording of that role existing. His Andre Chenier is fantastic. There's a recording of him singing the tenor lead in La Gioconda (with Eileen Farrell in the title role) at the Met that is incredible.

But he could also be terribly self-indulgent, hogging the vocal limelight and displaying the power of his voice to the detriment of both the music and the drama. And that's what he does here. It's almost as if he was taking revenge for Price's 43-minute curtain call of the week before. He hangs on to his top notes so long that they lose their musical sheen and the whole opera virtually comes to a halt while everyone listens to how long he can hold a note. At one point, Price and the orchestra have stopped and he's still going. Opera is so much more than just note-holding. Unfortunately the crowd just eggs him on--like spectators at a beer chugging contest. The whole thing becomes a distraction to what could have been a great performance, and simply highlights the worst type of mid-20th century operatic excess. (Von Karajan at Salzburg doesn't let him get away with any such behavior, but unfortunately Cleva didn't have that level of control.) Corelli's out-of-control singing reduces this rating from 5 stars to 4.

Still, it's a wonderful recording to have, and a great piece of opera history.
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