Customer Review

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An interesting period piece in so-so sound, 18 Sept. 2013
This review is from: I Due Foscari (Audio CD)
To get to the point, first choice for this neglected early Verdi work remains with the Philips issue conducted by Gardelli with the youthful and very fine team of Carreras, Ricciarelli, Cappuccilli and Ramey, but many might like this live (before an audience), mono, studio recording as a supplement, not least because it features Bergonzi in 1951 in only his second recording as a tenor and Guelfi as a sensitive and touching Doge before waning vocal powers tempted him into compensating by grandstanding and bellowing. The soprano, Maria Vitale, is a fine, spirited artist but a little shrill and over-parted in Verdi; RAI house soprano Caterina Mancini would have done this better, as she does in various contemporary Cetra recordings.

This is the least percussive of Verdi's early works and suits Bergonzi's still still slightly tremulous tenor; he soon settled down in his new tessitura but is here already singing with delicacy and refinement in a part which requires the tenor to be uniformly afflicted and melancholy; Bergonzi's voice has the right plangency with reserves of focused power. Everybody - singers, chorus, orchestra and conductor - is in sympathy with the performing tradition and knows how Verdi should go.

The Warner Fonit remastering is preferable to many other issues on labels which have clearly just have transferred straight from clean LP's and retained some swish and crackle. The sound is still rather distant, crumbly and cavernous but perfectly listenable with a will. The comparative rarity of these now discontinued old Cetra/Warner Fonit discs is reflected in the fact that they can go for ridiculous prices on Amazon Marketplace, but keep looking and you can still eventually find them for very little.
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4.0 out of 5 stars (2 customer reviews)
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Location: Bishop's Stortford, UK

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