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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Melodious and neglected early Verdi
With "Nabucco", "I Lombardi" and "Ernani" already under his belt, Verdi could hardly be said to be a novice composer when he wrote "I Due Foscari" for Rome in 1844, and yet somehow this opera seems to have been relegated to the "interesting but justly neglected" category, as if it were an immature and unrewarding work. It is, in fact, a subtle and intimate opera, full of...
Published on 22 Oct 2008 by Ralph Moore

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Could have been better
CDs are fine. Box is partly unglued, a fixable problem. The booklet looks as though it has been wet so that the pages have become wrinkled, which does spoil the whole thing. This though may simply have been due to age. So not as good as described, but not worth making a fuss about.
Published 11 days ago by dannyh


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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Melodious and neglected early Verdi, 22 Oct 2008
By 
Ralph Moore "Ralph operaphile" (Bishop's Stortford, UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Verdi: I Due Foscari (Audio CD)
With "Nabucco", "I Lombardi" and "Ernani" already under his belt, Verdi could hardly be said to be a novice composer when he wrote "I Due Foscari" for Rome in 1844, and yet somehow this opera seems to have been relegated to the "interesting but justly neglected" category, as if it were an immature and unrewarding work. It is, in fact, a subtle and intimate opera, full of mellow, touching duets and relying more upon plangent melody and perecptive musical characterisation rather than dramatic events - of which there are, admittedly, precious few. The cast and recording quality are of the highest order - typical of the whole Philips/Gardelli early Verdi project - and while I do not completely agree with earlier reviewers that Ricciarelli and Cappuccilli are flawless - their vocal production is at time a little breathy and deliberate - they are both very fine and Carreras is undoubtedly in his youthful, peak form (as is the young Ramey). Hearing this set might prompt you to sample the other recordings featuring Carreras in that excellent series: "Un Giorni di Regno" (1973); "Il Corsaro" (1975); "La Battaglia di Legnano" (1977) and "Stiffelio (1979), coupling Carreras with a succession of wonderful leading ladies: Ricciarelli, Caballe, Norman and Sass. These sets form the best of Carreras' recorded legacy and with the demise of studio recordings of opera, we can perhaps now feel even more appreciative of a series which certainly does not sound its age. (Those recordings where another tenor was used - a young Domingo in "I Lombardi" (1971) and "I Masnadieri" with Bergonzi - are equally recommendable.)

The opera itself is short at an hour and three-quarters and leaves you wanting more. There is mercifully little "rum-ti-tum" stuff typical of second-rate early Verdi; rather there is much gentle, delicate scoring that makes extensive use of melodic themes. An interesting and unusual addition to anyone's Verdi collection.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inklings of genius, 5 July 2013
By 
GlynLuke (York UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
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This review is from: Verdi: I Due Foscari (Audio CD)
If I could go back to a time in the past before I was born, a dream of mine would be to find myself in a town somewhere in Italy sometime in the mid-nineteenth century, one of those towns which possessed a small, well-patronised opera house, where I would take my seat in the stalls and - this is a fantasy, remember - watch and listen to the latest of that chap Verdi`s unpredictable, rather forward-looking operas.
Perhaps it would be a delightfully dark work such as this one, with its mournful, solemn Doge (by no means Verdi`s last portrayal of a doge), youthful ardent hero, and young sprightly heroine, with a villain or two for good measure.
If the singers - local talent, with any luck! - were of the promising calibre of Jose Carreras in his gleaming-voiced prime, Katia Ricciarelli at her girlishly winning best, and that fabled master of the heroic long breath, the greatly good Piero Cappuccilli, then my joy would no doubt be complete.
Throw in a sturdy bass like Samuel Ramey and a reliably thrilling mezzo such as Elizabeth Connell, and I`d have an evening to remember...

Verdi`s self-confessed `years in the galley` nevertheless produced some genuinely wonderful operas, which combine melodic variety with dramatic pathos, suitably fraught storylines with impassioned emotion. (Try Stiffelio or Il Corsaro in this series of recordings of Verdi`s earlier operas by Gardelli; what a huge debt of gratitude we owe to this enterprising conductor.)
Cappuccilli, whose voice I could listen to all night, if only for its relentless technical brilliance, can sound a trifle unyielding in the early scenes, but this is partly down to the role, that of the sad, ineffectual Doge. And Ricciarelli can sound a little shrill at times - as overwrought as Cappuccilli is underplayed - but
mostly she is delightful, her voice like a dancing, rushing stream.
Carreras never sang anything by halves, and here he has a part which requires most of the stops to be pulled out, which Jose duly does. What a thrilling voice the man had in those days.
The rest of the cast are superb, Gardelli`s conducting leaves nothing to be desired
and the whole enterprise makes for an underrated, neglected opera given its moment in the spotlight. It will never be staged or heard very often, but if you like - or love, as I do - Verdi, then do investigate some or all of these recordings of his youthful operas. They repay one`s attention in spades.
To think of all the masterpieces that were to come from this great genius over the following fifty years!

...I would then, after a drink at a nearby noisy taverna, repair to my modest hotel room, to eventually sleep, with Verdi`s endlessly inventive melodies ringing in my gladdened ears...
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What a score!, 30 Oct 2007
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This review is from: Verdi: I Due Foscari (Audio CD)
If you're weary of 'standard' Verdi, start (re)discovering his neglected works, especially via the Gardelli/Philips cycle of the early operas. You will then muse on the inexplicable mystery behind unjustly undervaluing these works: the plot (which operatic story isn't entirely/partly silly/dull?), or the music? Fully convinced that it isn't the latter factor, I can't think of any early Verdi score that has failed to move me. That nothing really happens in I DUE FOSCARI is due mainly to the fact that its plot derives from the 'romantic' pen of Byron, who was fully aware of the play's dramatic weakness and insisted that his major concern was highlighting the characters' passions (while the play - which I've recently read - is overlong, its operatic adaptation lasts just under 120 minutes). This being primarily a drama of 'emotion', rather than of 'action', Verdi succeeded in portraying them 'feelingly', excelling himself in one number after another: the passionate solos (with irresistibly rousing cabalettas), ensembles (magnificent duets for father/daughter-in-law and husband/wife, who also share a memorable trio and quartet with the opera's villain, a moving supplication episode, and a heartbreaking abdication/death scene), and choruses (not least the charming barcarole) are all superb, first-class Verdi (you'll cry your eyes out). The late Cappuccilli (Doge), Carreras (Jacopo), Ricciarelli (Lucrezia), and Ramey (Loredano) are on top form, sensitively directed back in 1976 by Gardelli (early Verdi's best conducting champion). This 30-year-old set, which amazingly doesn't betray its age (hearing it on headphones, you'd think it was recorded yesterday, the sound being stupendous), comes with the libretto in Italian and English, and an informative article by Julian Budden, as well as an historical note and a synopsis in English, French and German. Given Amazon's current half-price tag (without doubt, for a limited period only), what more would you ask for?
PS Make sure you don't miss the other Gardelli/Philips recordings: UN GIORNO DI REGNO, LA BATTAGLIA DI LEGNANO, I MASNADIERI, IL CORSARO, ATTILA, STIFFELIO, I LOMBARDI, ERNANI (I hope this will be re-issued soon), as well as (on Orfeo) ALZIRA and OBERTO. I also recommend GIOVANNA D'ARCO (Levine/EMI), AROLDO (Queler/Sony), and JERUSALEM (Luisi/Philips).
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What a score!, 6 Mar 2010
This review is from: Verdi: I due Foscari (Audio CD)
If you're weary of 'standard' Verdi, start (re)discovering his neglected works, especially via the Gardelli/Philips cycle of the early operas. You will then muse on the inexplicable mystery behind unjustly undervaluing these works: the plot (which operatic story isn't entirely/partly silly/dull?), or the music? Fully convinced that it isn't the latter factor, I can't think of any early Verdi score that has failed to move me. That nothing really happens in I DUE FOSCARI is due mainly to the fact that its plot derives from the 'romantic' pen of Byron, who was fully aware of the play's dramatic weakness and insisted that his major concern was highlighting the characters' passions (while the play - which I've recently read - is overlong, its operatic adaptation lasts just under 120 minutes). This being primarily a drama of 'emotion', rather than of 'action', Verdi succeeded in portraying them 'feelingly', excelling himself in one number after another: the passionate solos (with irresistibly rousing cabalettas), ensembles (magnificent duets for father/daughter-in-law and husband/wife, who also share a memorable trio and quartet with the opera's villain, a moving supplication episode, and a heartbreaking abdication/death scene), and choruses (not least the charming barcarole) are all superb, first-class Verdi (you'll cry your eyes out). The late Cappuccilli (Doge), Carreras (Jacopo), Ricciarelli (Lucrezia), and Ramey (Loredano) are on top form, sensitively directed back in 1976 by Gardelli (early Verdi's best conducting champion). This 30-year-old set, which amazingly doesn't betray its age (hearing it on headphones, you'd think it was recorded yesterday, the sound being stupendous), comes with the libretto in Italian and English, and an informative article by Julian Budden, as well as an historical note and a synopsis in English, French and German. Given Amazon's current half-price tag (without doubt, for a limited period only), what more would you ask for?
PS Make sure you don't miss the other Gardelli/Philips recordings: UN GIORNO DI REGNO, LA BATTAGLIA DI LEGNANO, I MASNADIERI, IL CORSARO, ATTILA, STIFFELIO, I LOMBARDI, ERNANI (I hope this will be re-issued soon), as well as (on Orfeo) ALZIRA and OBERTO. I also recommend GIOVANNA D'ARCO (Levine/EMI), AROLDO (Queler/Sony), and JERUSALEM (Luisi/Philips).
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Melodious and neglected early Verdi, 22 Oct 2008
By 
Ralph Moore "Ralph operaphile" (Bishop's Stortford, UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Verdi: I due Foscari (Audio CD)
With "Nabucco", "I Lombardi" and "Ernani" already under his belt, Verdi could hardly be said to be a novice composer when he wrote "I Due Foscari" for Rome in 1844, and yet somehow this opera seems to have been relegated to the "interesting but justly neglected" category, as if it were an immature and unrewarding work. It is, in fact, a subtle and intimate opera, full of mellow, touching duets and relying more upon plangent melody and perecptive musical characterisation rather than dramatic events - of which there are, admittedly, precious few. The cast and recording quality are of the highest order - typical of the whole Philips/Gardelli early Verdi project - and while I do not completely agree with earlier reviewers that Ricciarelli and Cappuccilli are flawless - their vocal production is at times a little breathy and deliberate - they are both very fine and Carreras is undoubtedly in his youthful, peak form (as is the young Ramey). Hearing this set might prompt you to sample the other recordings featuring Carreras in that excellent series: "Un Giorni di Regno" (1973); "Il Corsaro" (1975); "La Battaglia di Legnano" (1977) and "Stiffelio (1979), coupling Carreras with a succession of wonderful leading ladies: Ricciarelli, Caballe, Norman and Sass. These sets form the best of Carreras' recorded legacy and with the demise of studio recordings of opera, we can perhaps now feel even more appreciative of a series which certainly does not sound its age. (Those recordings where another tenor was used - a young Domingo in "I Lombardi" (1971) and "I Masnadieri" with Bergonzi - are equally recommendable.)

The opera itself is short at an hour and three-quarters and leaves you wanting more. There is mercifully little "rum-ti-tum" stuff typical of second-rate early Verdi; rather there is much gentle, delicate scoring that makes extensive use of melodic themes. An interesting and unusual addition to anyone's Verdi collection.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars genius will out . . ., 15 July 2013
By 
Stanley Crowe (Greenville, SC) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Verdi: I Due Foscari (Audio CD)
Verdi might have referred to his early operas as products of his years in the galleys -- i. e. forced labor -- but genius will out. "Nabucco" is a powerful piece, and so is the slightly later "Foscari," which I have only now made a point of hearing. The opera has a quite distinctive feel to it -- its lyricism is different from that of the earlier operas and Donizetti, seemingly using shorter phrasing and freer expressive movement in the lines. If you liked the long cantilena lines, you might have to adjust, but by Act 2, if you're like me, you're hooked. The orchestration seems distinctive too -- a bit sparer, but still expressive. Like Act 3 of "Nabucco," Act 2 of "Foscari" is simply tremendous -- it's a scene in a prison in which an innocent man (shades of "Fidelio") is visited by his wife, then the pair are joined by his father, then by his enemy, so a solo morphs into a duet, then a trio, then we move to a council scene in which the man is condemned to solitary exile, which gives an opportunity for a big ensemble at the end, part of which involves the wife's bringing the condemned man's kids on stage to try to soften the hearts of the council! And did I mention that the father is the Doge of Venice who is powerless to help the innocent man (because the Council decides), who is . . . HIS OWN SON! Trust me -- that whole Act 2 sequence works like gangbusters. Then in Act 3, after the son has gone off to exile (and died on board ship), the Council force the abdication of the Doge. The scene in which they do so, the final scene, is powerful and moving. The son has died of a broken heart as he goes to exile. The old Doge dies of a broken heart at the loss of his son and his crown. Tremendous stuff.

All of this would go for nothing, of course, if the performance didn't do it justice. Luckily, that's not the case. Jacopo Foscari, the son, is Jose Carreras, and he has never sung better. The recording is from 1977, and Carreras was at his best in that decade. It's a performance of great beauty and real distinction. The Doge, his father, is Piero Cappuccilli -- no praise is too high for his singing in the final scene, and he is in fact fine throughout. The enemy is sung by the young Sam Ramey -- implacable and firm. You want to hear more of him. The only less than bright spot is Katia Ricciarelli as Jacopo's wife -- the voice is lovely, and she sings intelligently, but the high notes and passages are uncomfortable for her. The role requires a Callas or a Sutherland. The Chorus has a lot to do in Act 3, and does it well, and Lamberto Gardelli conducts as if his life depended on it. If you get a chance to buy this, don't miss it!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant singing, 18 Dec 2013
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This review is from: Verdi: I Due Foscari (Audio CD)
Heard this on the radio the other month so looked for the cd. All the cast and the orchestra are excellent
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3.0 out of 5 stars Could have been better, 11 Dec 2014
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This review is from: Verdi: I due Foscari (Audio CD)
CDs are fine. Box is partly unglued, a fixable problem. The booklet looks as though it has been wet so that the pages have become wrinkled, which does spoil the whole thing. This though may simply have been due to age. So not as good as described, but not worth making a fuss about.
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4.0 out of 5 stars ... relatively unknown Verdi opera I Due Foscari has some great music and, 11 Sep 2014
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This review is from: Verdi: I Due Foscari (Audio CD)
For a relatively unknown Verdi opera I Due Foscari has some great music and, on this recording, great singing. I can understand the criticism that nothing very much happens, but the emotions expressed are very convincing and the denoument is strangely
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Verdi: I due Foscari by Giuseppe Verdi (Audio CD - 1989)
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