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Verdi - Stiffelio / Carreras · Sass · Manuguerra · Ganzarolli · ORF Symphony Orchestra and Chorus Vienna · Gardelli

5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

Price: £40.82
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Product details

  • Audio CD
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • ASIN: B00000E3VV
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 245,344 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
  • Sample this album Artist - Artist (Sample)
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By Ralph Moore TOP 50 REVIEWER on 5 July 2010
Format: Audio CD
Written in Verdi's most fertile period as a composer, "Stiffelio" has undergone all kinds of indignities including neglect, adulteration (sic), and even total rewritng as "Aroldo" in order to make it acceptable to narrow-minded crtics, censors and the public itself. While the plot is mildly threadbare, its themes are exceptionally adult and moving: adultery, temptation, revenge, honour, fidelity, forgiveness are all treated in a deeply sympathetic and psychologically penetrating fashion. Having seen a sucessful production at the Royal Opera with José Cura and Sondra Radvanovsky, I can testify as to its effectiveness as entertainment, and here it has the best possible advocacy in a cast headed by another great José, one Señor Carreras singing at his absolute peak and partnered by two wonderful artists in Sylvia Sass and Matteo Manuguerra. This was the kind of cast we began to take for granted in the series of early Verdi operas so ably and idiomatically conducted by Lamberto Gardelli, but only the perspective of time allows us now to see what a blessing that enterprise was.

"Stiffelio" is certainly no less tuneful and dramatic than the other operas Verdi wrote between 1849 and 1853, and contains many hints of greater things to come in its characterisation of an honourable but volatile man prone to violent outbursts prompted by feelings of jealously and emotional inadequacy - yes; Othello - and the culmination of the opera can be piercingly moving when Stiffelio puts aside thoughts of revenge to offer his wife forgiveness. Lina herself, is an oddly weak, vacillating woman as written in the libretto, but Verdi's music gives her a quiet, pitiable desperation which hints at the alienation resulting from her husband's neglect of her while pursuing his vocation.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Jose Carreras in his prime (I remember him singing the role at Covent Garden (also recorded on video) with Catherine Malfitano as Lina -- very moving), rest of cast excellent. Recording a little bumpy with tape hiss and audible edits, but no complaints.
Great to hear this neglected masterpiece (Verdi recycled most of the music as 'Aroldo' so there were no published scores until recently). It's on a par with Luisa Miller as a 'bourgeois domestic drama' -- no kings or princes, no big spectacle, only a tense psychological battle between honour, love, duty and God. Harrowing story of cuckolded Protestant minister -- fell foul of the censors of course!
Added bonus is Julian Budden's excellent English libretto translation in the booklet.
If you want to get to know this rare and magnificent work, there's no better way in.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x9313133c) out of 5 stars 9 reviews
25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x93123d80) out of 5 stars A great recording of an underrated masterpiece 8 Nov. 2001
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
This is still the best (it was the first) studio recording of this little known Verdi tunefest. Wonderful arias and duets, full of melody and drama. Carreras is in fine voice, and lovely young diva Sylvia Sass sings with her usual incisive, sensitive and powerful soprano. Her big aria in Act Two is not to be missed. Everyone should have this CD in their collection. It's a wonderful ensemble recording.
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x937ec240) out of 5 stars Viva Stiffelio! 20 Sept. 2005
By PhantomOfTheOpera - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
This opera was by another amazon reviewer called "Verdi's little known tunefest" and I have to say it's hard coming up with a better description. Unjustly it has been living in the shadows of more famous operas written by Verdi. For those completely unfamiliar to Stiffelio I can assure you that the opera is packed with beautiful arias from beginning to end and this recording is also blessed with superb singers.

Recorded in 1979, this opera captures the singers in their prime. I belong to the group of people who maintain that Carreras was still in his prime by the end of the 70s and this recording serves as a proof to that. His voice is as glorious as ever; powerful and able to spinning notes of the finest quality. He really puts his mind and soul into the interpretation of the role as the minister Stiffelio. In my opinion no one can beat this performance. As always he evokes emotion like nobody else.

The Hungarian born singer Sylvia Sass is a wonderful Lina, the wife of Stiffelio who's an adulteress. Around the time of this recording she was being heralded as the new Callas and after listening to her singing the role of Lina, you'll have no problems understanding why. Her arias are beautifully sung; it's pure pleasure listening to hear. No unsubtle screaming coming from her, I can assure you.

I have to admit that I hadn't heard of Matteo Manuguerra until I came upon this recording. He gives a convincing performance as Lina's father and his arias are beautiful. The rest of the cast are also adequate.

The story in this opera is built on a timeless issue - infidelity, and even though people looked differently upon this matter back in the days of Verdi, we can still relate to the problems it causes between Stiffelio and Lina. Stiffelio's jealousy and anger that seems to eat at his heart is also easily understandable. All in all this makes the story interesting both listening to as well as watching. A dvd of the same opera with Carreras still in the main role as Stiffelio is available at amazon. Both are worth while.
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x93df11e8) out of 5 stars Another sublime Lamberto Gardelli early Verdi recording 28 May 2002
By Armindo - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Philips has done a wonderful job with Verdi's early operas. This set is another example. Jose Carreras during the 70s was a perfect tenor for early Verdi operas. The voice was sublime (among the best) and the characterisation vivid. If only he had avoided the heavier roles! I'm happy that we have the Stiffelio, Corsaro, Simon Boccanegra, I Due Foscari, La Battaglia di Legnano, Un Giorno di Regno recordings to remember his greatness. Sylvia Sass as heard here, makes me wonder why she didn't record more in the 70s; a genuine powerful dramatic voice (many wrongly accused her of imitating Callas). Manuguerra and the rest of the cast could perhaps be better but this doesn't reduce the value of this recording. What I always like with Gardelli's conducting is that he allows the singers to perform and does not overpower them with his orchestra (like Karajan for example). On the whole, an essential recording for Verdi collectors.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9329de34) out of 5 stars Forgiveness of Sin 18 Dec. 2009
By Lorenzo Moog - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
This opera, "Stiffelio" (1850; Trieste), Verdi's 16th, with libretto by Francesco Maria Piave, was to make a great deal of complications for the composer. The story of a married Protestant minister forgiving his wife of adultery, from the pulpit, and in front of his congregation was more than the censors of the Imperial and Royal Directorate of the Police could bear, even though Piave's libretto had been initially approved. A mangled version of the story was presented and went through several Trieste performances to a warm reception and decent reviews and was then withdrawn. La Scala wanted to stage it however Verdi sent a list of conditions to Ricordi which forbade any alterations to the final scene. La Scala passed. Six years later Verdi was to re-write the opera as "Aroldo" and probably gave little further thought to "Stiffelio". In any event while all of the chaos aound "Stiffelio" was going on Verdi was busy with his next opera, "Rigoletto".
How surprised Verdi would be to know that in the 20th Century his put upon and failed opera would find its way back into his repetoire. And for good reason, it is a beautiful work and gets a great performance in this 2CD set from Philips, a studio recording from Vienna, 1979. There is a book with a synopsis and libretto in Italian and English and is recorded with excellent technical quality. Other reveiwers have adequately discussed the quality of the singing which is uniformly excellent. Carrares is superb in the title role and Sylvia Sass earns her chops as a very stylish and dramatic Verdi singer. All of the cast are very good as well as the ORF Chorus. Lambert Gardelli gives a powerful interpretation of the score, masterfully conducting the ORF Symphony. The story of the wayward wife and the put upon minister is quite simple but Verdi builds on the drama of Piave's libretto with a very masterful composition. I agree with an earlier reviewer who lamented the endless rounds of "la Traviata" and "Aida" when there are so many other high quality Verdi operas to choose from, "Stifellio" included. If you enjoy Verdi you will find this under-performed work a delight. Placido Domingo will be conducting Stiffelio at the Met in spring 2010 and hopefully a recording will result. This set? Highly Recommended!
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x93127234) out of 5 stars One of Verdi's best 19 Aug. 2007
By D. J. Marconi - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
and certainly his most neglected. Why oh why isn't this performed these days? All we seem to get is more of the standards like Traviata, and Aida over and over.

For the prices now featured on Amazon, this is the best investment you can make to add to your opera collection. Incredible music, singing and conducting.

And, the dvd's are also excellent
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