Customer Review

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars disappointing, 28 Dec. 2013
This review is from: Verdi: Otello (Audio CD)
The sound was good on my Bose headphones, the Chorus and the voices in the storm scene in Act 1 come through nicely, and I'm thinking that we might indeed have something special here -- but it turns out that we don't. Chung's direction lacks dramatic drive, for all the beauty of the sound, and Leiferkus sounds unidiomatic and throaty as Iago -- there's nothing insinuating in the voice, although to be fair, he sings the set pieces better than he does the dramatic interchanges. Domingo's voice is solid, but it lacks ease -- he's working hard to project the sound. I had my recording of him with Levine 17 years earlier (1994 v. 1977), and the difference is palpable in two respects: first, Domingo in 1977 sings with an airiness and freedom that are far removed from the sound of his older self, and second -- just to take the Love Duet as an example -- Levine knows how to make it dramatic. It's got both a tension and a flow that Chung's recording lacks, and though the sound is a tad less refined than Chung's, it has plenty of presence and detail. Add to this that Renata Scotto knows what to do with Desdemona. Cheryl Studer, an artist I admire, sings the notes well enough, but it doesn't come to life. The Iago in the 1977 recording is Sherrill Milnes, and the voice suits the role well. If you prefer a leaner sound that's still idiomatic, there's Gobbi, with Serafin and Vickers, from 1960. Chung has a fine Cassio in the young Ramon Vargas, and the other smaller roles are very well cast -- but the bottom line is that this drama or it is nothing. Stick with the Levine recording, though for a real Othello voice, you should have Vickers too (even if Serafin's conducting is on the tame side).
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4.3 out of 5 stars (6 customer reviews)
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