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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Raw, vital and immediate,
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.
4.0 out of 5 stars Del Monaco still great,
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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.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't overlook this one........,
This recording seems to have been forgotten, but it might just be my favourite Otello. The only downsides are the absence of the last degree of dramatic commitment from Cossutta and the slightly worn nature of Bacquier's (Iago) top notes here: if only he'd recorded it a few years earlier.
Now to the pluses: Cossutta has exactly the right sort of vice for the part, Bacquier is cunning and highly dramatic and Price is simply magnificent. The Cassio, for once is a major voice: Petr Dvorsky and this really tells in the ensembles. Which brings me to the trump cards: some of Solti's Verdi recordings (perhaps also his Wagnerian ones?) show a tendency to overreact to incidental details. Here he is more classical and more powerful at once and has a fantastic orchestra and chorus at his disposal. The Wiener Philharmoniker is in top form (quite something, that), the Staatsopernchor hardly less so and they're captured in stunning Decca late analogue sound.
If you need to be convinced try to sample the Act 3 duet for Otello and Desdemona, "Dio ti giocondi, o sposo" for the voices and the ensemble "Viva Otello" that comes after the following scene with Iago. Price and Cossutta spar brilliantly and do it all from the notes. In the ensemble, the antiphonal trumpets and the chorus in full cry ought to curl your toes, the Staatsoper sopranos soar right up to a top C without any difficulty.
There are other great recordings of the piece, including several by you-know-who but even they can't shake this one for me. By the end the sense of tragedy is overwhelming.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superlative!,
This review is from: Verdi: Otello (MP3 Download)
Domingo has recorded the role of Otello several times but here he is in his absolute prime, old enough to fully understand and interpret the part, young enough to bleaze forth when called for. Unlike another reviewer I find no fault in the recording quality at all - it is dazzlingly wide-ranging. Diaz may not match Gobbi as Iago, but he is oily and manipulative enough and sings beautifully. And if there is a lovelier Desdemona on disc than Katia Ricciarelli, I have not heard it! Her floated pianissimi are really something extraordinary and she radiates goodness and purity, while still having the spinto power the part often demands.
Maazel's conducting has caused some controversy, but he carries the drama along with undoubted flair. Recorded as a soundtrack to the Zeffirelli film, this, unlike the movie itself, is complete in case you wondered. With La Scala's orchestra and chorus, it's a sumptuous and authentic sound that wraps around the principles. The minor roles are not star players, but join in with the drama, which is what matters. It's the recording of the opera I play most often.
1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Masterful,
This review is from: VERDI-OTELLO -2CD- (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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