2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
A great recording but not the best all-round performance,
This review is from: Verdi: La forza del destino (Audio CD)
I'm saddened by the intemperate nature of some of the preceding reviews of this recording, so let's try to keep it objective and fair. First, no-one inflects the text and caresses those glorious melodies as affectingly as Callas although Price in 1964 and Tebaldi in the (pretty raw!) live Mitropoulos recording run her close. The infamous "flap" in Callas' voice is only occasionally in evidence and she more than compensates with heart-wrenching portamenti and thrilling excursions into her lower register. Tucker is very, very good, if occasionally guilty of his besetting fault of being too lachrymose, but the top rings out magnificently.
The rest of the cast, with the exception of Capecchi's firm, characterful Melitone, is not up to their standard, though Nicolai is wholly acceptable in the essentially irritating role of Preziosilla, with her silly tub-thumping music. Tagliabue is clearly past his best but does not disgrace himself, despite some rather nasal, laboured sounds. My one real bugbear is Rossi-Lemeni; I have never understood why he was so esteemed. The voice is woolly, unsteady, lacking centre and without the true bass gravitas the role of Padre Guardiano requires - although he certainly sounds old! Serafin's conducting is typically well-judged, in turn both pacy and intense as this gloomily beautiful music demands and you soon forget that the recording is mono, the sound being so clear, clean and brilliant.
My favourite "Forza" is still the 1964 Schippers for the all-round excellence of the cast, though the 1947 Marinuzzi (available cheaply on Naxos) is worth having as it's a real period recording with a pulsating sense of live theatre about it(and you can hear Tancredi Pasero sing the role of Padre Guardiano as it should be sung). The above-mentioned live Mitropoulos contains the single most exciting piece of tenor singing I have ever heard in Del Monaco's "O tu che in seno" - the audience go wild and start mooing their appreciation like demented cattle - so you have quite a choice, the Schippers being the safest.