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Menotti: The Consul, Amelia Al Ballo CD

Price: £12.36 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £20. Details
Includes FREE MP3 version of this album.
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Product details

Disc: 1
1. The Consul - Various Performers
Disc: 2
1. Amelia Al Ballo - Various Performers

Product Description

Product Description

The Consul : Patricia Neway (Magda Sorel), Marie Powers (la mère), Cornell MacNeil (John Sorel) - Amelia al ballo : Margherita Carosio (Amelia), Rolando Panerai (le mari), Giacinto Prandelli (l'amant) - Orchestre de La Scala de Milan - Nino Sanzogno, dir.


splendid in every way,with fine,natural recorded sound,verve and style in Sanzorgno's conducting, charm of an agreeably period kind in Carosio's singing and very able backing by Prandelli and Panerai,the male corner-pieces of the eternal triangle.The transfer also gives much pleasure. --Gramophone awards issue,2010

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Amazon.com: 1 review
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
The Most Dramatic Recording of an Opera? 6 Mar. 2012
By The Quiet Reviewer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
In 2011, Naxos released a series of historic recordings of Gian Carlo Menotti's major operas. Almost all of these recordings were made with the singers and conductors who performed the premieres, and all are invaluable documents of one of the twentieth century's most important opera composers. Naxos has provided a valuable service in reissuing these recordings; of all Menotti's operas, only the original recording of "Amahl and the Night Visitors" is still in print. However, Naxos Historical recordings are supposed to be unavailable in the U.S. due to copyright restrictions. It is unclear how this recording of "The Consul" and "Amelia al ballo" wound up for sale on Amazon in the U.S., but fans of Menotti and twentieth century opera should grab this while they can.

"The Consul" was recorded very shortly after it premiered on Broadway in 1950, and features Patricia Neway as the first--and still the best--interpreter of Magda Sorel. The fact that the cast had been singing their roles nightly was of inestimable value: this is the rare recording of opera in English where you truly do not need the libretto. Every word comes through with utter clarity. The cast sings with dramatic conviction, especially Cornell MacNeil as John; Lehamn Engel's conducting is fleet and straightforward, maintaining dramatic tension with sacrificing Menotti's essential lyricism. The main drawback is the engineering: this is possibly the driest sounding recording I've ever heard, even in monaural sound. It is as if the original Decca engineers not only eliminated all reverberation, but figured out a way to imbue the recording with the absolute opposite of reverberation itself. Naxos' engineers have done wonders with the source material, but this is still drier than the Sahara. Another potentially undermining factor are the cuts made by the composer, who eliminated material that he didn't think would come through on a recording. Unfortunately, this includes the climax of the second act, where Magda faints as the Secret Police Agent emerges from the Consul's office. Given the vividness of the dramatic interpretations, this may be a small price to pay.

To round out the second disc, this recording also includes a 1954 recording of "Amelia al ballo" made at La Scala in Milan. This recording is appropriately lush (it compares well with the Callas recording of "Pagliacci" made at La Scala the same year) and captures the antic spirit of Menotti's first mature work. Listen to the all-Italian cast and you can begin to see why Menotti aroused critical furor in the 1950s: he sounds like a contemporary of Mascagni, Leoncavallo, and Puccini rather than somebody working in the wake of Stravinsky and Schoenberg. At a sixty-year remove, it is easier to enjoy Menotti's lyric gift and dramatic flair than it was during his lifetime.

Any opera fan should not hesitate in snapping up this disc: Menotti's music deserves to be much more widely heard than it has been. (Isn't it about time for the Metropolitan to get around to staging "The Consul" and "The Saint of Bleeker Street"?) "The Consul" was one of the most powerful works of a gifted opera composer, and the works on this disc are performed with dramatic conviction rare on record. U.S. customers must find a way to acquire this recording if the copyright police catch up with it; it is irreplaceable and thrilling.
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