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5.0 out of 5 stars A verismo classic, 13 Dec 2014
By 
Ralph Moore "Ralph operaphile" (Bishop's Stortford, UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Giordano: Andrea Chénier (Audio CD)
Alongside Levine's "Adriana Lecouvreur" this is probably my favourite verismo opera recording, a 100% Italian beltfest performed by voices of a species now extinct. It is already over fifty years old but in superb sound and impressively conducted by Santini who lives and breathes the idiom. There are other estimable and very recommendable recordings including the live version starring Corelli and conducted by von Matacic, the Decca studio recording with Del Monaco and Tebaldi, the vintage versions starring Marini and Bruna-Rasa, and Gigli with Caniglia, and I wouldn't be without any of them, but this one remains my first choice for its sheer bravado in combination with stereo, studio sound.

Stella was always over-shadowed by Tebaldi and Callas and in truth she wasn't as complete an artist, but here she gives her all, stretching her smoky, grainy soprano to its limits without coming a cropper and keeping up with her machismo tenor, Corelli, in top gear and abandoning all restraint. Mario Sereni did not have the most refulgent of baritones but this was his finest hour: he sings smoothly with great expression and involvement, always with an Italianate care for the line and exploiting his ability to sustain a legato while always suggesting Gerard's internal conflict. The supporting cast is typically competent for Rome in that era, headed by Piero de Palma doubling up as an oily, insinuating L'incredibile and an effete, toadying Abbate.

The last ten minutes represent for me what no-holds-barred singing is all about: two great voices at full stretch wringing every ounce of passion and excitement from the super-heated score. Don't try it if you like Bostridg-Padmore-Pregardien style tenors and your favourite soprano is Sandrine Piau.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Five-star verismo, 28 Sep 2013
This review is from: Giordano: Andrea Chénier (Audio CD)
One of the finest verismo recordings in the catalog. Corelli is peerless in this part. Stella was one of his most famous Chenier partners and the radiance of her voice is beautifully captured by this vivid EMI recording. These two seem to inspire Sereni who produces some stunning dramatic baritone singing. Great conducting rounds it off. It's thrilling for first note to last!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Corelli at his best, 5 Dec 2012
This review is from: Giordano: Andrea Chénier (Audio CD)
Corelli clearly loved this role. His masculine, vibrant tone dominate the proceedings. He's not to everyone's taste but his passion and presence is indisputable. Santini holds the reins but Corelli is out of the blocks from his amazing rendition of the "Improviso" onwards. Antonietta Stella was a tremendous rival of Tebaldi, the queen of 1960's Italian sopranos, but I have to say that I enjoy Stella more - her top notes have a tad more warmth, whilst Tebaldi tended to shout. Mario Sereni didn't have the most penetrating baritone voice, but his tone is full of warmth and he portrays the rebellious Gerard with great feeling. There are some lovely cameos performances from stalwarts likes of Piero di Palma (easier to list the recordings he wasn't in), Stefania Malagu, Anna di Stasio and Paolo Montarsolo.

It's difficult to choose between this and the Mario Del Monaco/Tebaldi Decca recording of 1957, but my heart, on this occasion, is with the late Franco Corelli and the Rome Opera Orchestra.

Try it and feel the force.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Otherwise excellent., 14 Dec 2014
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This review is from: Giordano: Andrea Chénier (Audio CD)
The libretto is on a "bonus" cd. I prefer a booklet. Otherwise excellent.
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Giordano: Andrea Chénier
Giordano: Andrea Chénier by Franco Corelli (Audio CD - 2012)
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