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Verdi: La Forza del Destino (DECCA The Originals) Box set, Original recording remastered

4.0 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio CD (24 Mar. 2011)
  • SPARS Code: ADD
  • Number of Discs: 3
  • Format: Box set, Original recording remastered
  • Label: Import Music Services
  • ASIN: B000SSPL0I
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 59,317 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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Product Description

Verdi: La Forza Del Destino / Tebaldi, Del Monaco, Molinari-Pradelli . Release Date: 09/10/2007 . Label: Decca . Catalog #: 475 8681 . Spars Code: ADD . Composer: Giuseppe Verdi . Performer: Renata Tebaldi, Ettore Bastianini, Cesare Siepi, Silvio Maionica, ... Conductor: Francesco Molinari-Pradelli . Orchestra/Ensemble: Santa Cecilia Academy Rome Chorus, Santa Cecilia Academy Rome Orchestra . Number of Discs: 3 . Recorded in: Stereo . Length: 2 Hours 35 Mins. Works on This Recording: 1. La forza del destino by Giuseppe Verdi Performer: Renata Tebaldi (Soprano), Ettore Bastianini (Baritone), Cesare Siepi (Bass), Silvio Maionica (Bass), Gabriella Carturan (Mezzo Soprano), Piero de Palma (Tenor), Ezio Giordano (Bass), Mario Del Monaco (Tenor), Eraldo Coda (Baritone) Conductor: Francesco Molinari-Pradelli Orchestra/Ensemble: Santa Cecilia Academy Rome Chorus, Santa Cecilia Academy Rome Orchestra Period: Romantic Written: 1862/1869; Italy Language: Italian Notes: Composition written: Italy (1862). Composition revised: 1869. REVIEWS: "This sprawling epic has a very fine cast, with Renata Tebaldi as an almost ideal Leonora, and the loud impressive del Monaco as the hero." -- Michael Tanner, BBC Music Magazine ---------- "[This] set has many virtues: there is a generally radiant and often purposeful performance of Leonora from Tebaldi, a fine Carlo from Bastianini, lively and cogent conducting of the tolerably proficient Santa Cecilia forces, and a recording that since its 1959 stereo reissue has always been notable for its general spaciousness and clarity." -- Gramophone 1/1989

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Format: Audio CD
...although the earlier of Leontyne Price's two recordings runs it close.This is one of the three or four most satisfying recordings of this great, sprawling opera - and two of the others also feature Tebaldi. To hear her at her very best, you need to go to the legendary 1953 live set, thrillingly conducted by Mitropoulos - Del Monaco also is stunning here - but the sound is pretty rough and Aldo Protti merely adequate compared with the burnished, nut-brown tones of Bastianini. This 1955 Decca studio recording, in excellent stereo sound, is very good - I cannot believe how snooty some critics (especially my compatriot British ones who rave about weedy, effete voices like those of Pears, Bostridge and their like) are about Del Monaco in this, probably his best role after Otello; to me he is tremendous, but it has to be said that for sheer glamour, Corelli tops him in the 1958 Hardy recording with the same conductor (also available on black & white DVD) which is in good, live sound but obviously not as pleasant a listening experience as this. The cast assembled is without peer even if Molinari-Pradelli's conducting is nothing special and Tebaldi is certainly in fresher voice than in 1958. We are spoilt for choice with recordings of this opera, as, in addition to the earlier Price set, there is also the Callas version with a good, if not quite so spectacular, cast let down by Rossi-Lemeni's woolly Padre Guardiano and a baritone past his best. After over 50 years, this remains the best bet, in many ways.
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Format: Audio CD
I agree with RM - this is a great set and fights for top place with the later Price/Schippers set of a virtually all-American cast. Tebaldi is in her prime. I love Del Monaco here - listen to his opening of "Solenne in quest'ora", he sounds like a baritone and with Bastianini alongside... we'll never hear the like again. Siepi is a grand Guardiano, Simionato is wonderful as Preziosilla and Corena as Melitone is as charming as ever. I've nothing inspiring to say about Molinari-Pradelli's conducting but with these singers, who cares?

If you put a gun to my head I'd go for the Price/Schippers RCA set. You only have to listen to the gorgeous honeyed sounds of the male chorus alongside Price's honeyed tones in "La vergine degli angeli" to get the point. However, I don't expect you to pay over a hundred pounds for the set (as I've noticed) it's a ridiculous amount, but, in my opinion, it should be the reissued recording instead of Price's later RCA recording coming in Jan 2012 under the Sony Opera House series.
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Format: Audio CD
Oh dear. Forza happened to be the first Verdi opera I saw ( which probably makes a change at least), and in the mid-50s, too. I honestly can't spontaneously remember who the tenor was, but the Glyndebourne archives probably list the Edinburgh cast under John Prichard, and he was at least respectable. (He is indeed listed- he was David Poleri) At least his (cruelly exposed) first entry didn't blow the evening. Del Monaco's is almost enough to put you off the opera for life. The best you can say of it is that it's fearless and at least you know you have a tenor around, but it's going to be a long night. But you do forgive him, though it's not a role for an Otello. Di Stefano in the sadly truncated RCA set which is almost contemporary at least manages it more subtly, When you recover from the tenor entry -it's a rape, not an elopement - the conducting is undistinguished throughout, which matters. What seems to have appealed to Verdi about the idea of Forza is that it's a pretty exact transposition into mid-nineteenth century religious morality of "Don Giovanni" which enabled him to recompose Mozart's opening scene with a willing Donna Anna, and then explore the guilt of the Commendatore's death through Alvaro as an honourable Don. He can also use the Church and civil disorder on stage. If it sprawls then so does "Don Giovanni". Simionato and Corena (Glyndebourne's Edinburgh Falstaff that year, for Giulini, no less) both make things happen, despite Molinari-Pradelli. Tebaldi hopes they will, and sometimes they do. My live Forza fielded Jurinac, who was pretty much in the same position - it's not a grateful role.Read more ›
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x8c820630) out of 5 stars 10 reviews
22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8c9b2a98) out of 5 stars The great era of Italian opera. 13 Dec. 2010
By Abert - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This recording is a virtual mircale - in 1955, when singers like Renata Tebaldi, Mario del Monaco, Ettore Bastianini and Cesare Siepi, as well as Giulietta Simoniato and Fernando Corena - are ALL in their absolute prime!
Simoniato and Siepi passed away earlier this year. It is very difficult to get accoustically good recordings of them, and this Decca 1955 stereo re-mastered complete studio recording is nothing short of a miracle.
I am Asian, and have not been born early enough to witness the grand Italian operatic era. In this recording, I eventually realise why Italian opera was so acclaimed and loved.
La Forza del Destino is one of Verdi's most tragic pieces and mature work. Verdi has by then threw away virtually all of his predecessors (like Donizetti)'s influences, and cultivated an unique style of his own. The theme in the Prelude, like a sweeping force of fate, carries through to the very last great aria of the heroine Leonora di Vargas, portrayed here by Renata Tebaldi in a 'listen to believe' grand performance.
As a combating duo, Bastianini and del Monaco are peerless here. The heroic tenor Mario del Monaco sounds fresh and virile in this 1955 recording, and in a grand rebuttal of the nonsensical remark of his being unable to sing soft, he rendered a solo aria in the second Act so lyrical and sweet as to rebut the most die-hard of his critics. The Verdian baritone Ettore Bastianini is similarly dramatically alert.
Renata Tebaldi as Leonora simply blows away any competitor, especially in the last Act's great aria before Leonora's being stabbed by Don Carlos di Vargas.
As the two Franciscan monks, Cesare Siepi and Fernando Corena are both superb. Corena's buffo bass baritone contrasted with Siepi's basso cantante lent much artistic weight to an overall sweepingly grand performance. Padre Guardiano is, together with Filipo II of Don Carlo, one of Siepi's core Verdi repertoire, and he sang his role well into the 1970's.
Conductor Molinari-Pradelli is able to conjure the necessary drama and pathos of Verdi's masterpiece.
In a grand remembrance of Simoniato and Siepi, together with all other lead roles.
19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8c977ef4) out of 5 stars Probably the best studio recording 5 Dec. 2007
By Ralph Moore - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
...although the earlier of Leontyne Price's two recordings runs it close.This is one of the three or four most satisfying recordings of this great, sprawling opera - and two of the others also feature Tebaldi. To hear her at her very best, you need to go to the legendary 1953 live set, thrillingly conducted by Mitropoulos - Del Monaco also is stunning here - but the sound is pretty rough and Aldo Protti merely adequate compared with the burnished, nut-brown tones of Bastianini. This 1955 Decca studio recording, in excellent stereo sound, is very good - I cannot believe how snooty some critics (especially my compatriot British ones who rave about weedy, effete voices like those of Pears, Bostridge and their like) are about Del Monaco in this, probably his best role after Otello; to me he is tremendous, but it has to be said that for sheer glamour, Corelli tops him in the 1958 Hardy recording with the same conductor (also available on black & white DVD) which is in good, live sound but obviously not as pleasant a listening experience as this. The cast assembled is without peer even if Molinari-Pradelli's conducting is nothing special and Tebaldi is certainly in fresher voice than in 1958. We are spoilt for choice with recordings of this opera, as, in addition to the earlier Price set, there is also the Callas version with a good, if not quite so spectacular, cast let down by Rossi-Lemeni's woolly Padre Guardiano and a baritone past his best. After over 50 years, this remains the best bet, in many ways.
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8c9a65dc) out of 5 stars the best around for quite a while now 10 Feb. 2012
By Pietro Zanette - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
This historical 1955 recording was the first to gather an all stars cast covering all the 6 main roles. Never before and never after at this level for sure.All singers are caught here at their absolute best, and their best was something we do not hear these days. Molinari Pradelli, who was one of the leading conductors of the era, today sounds a bit outdated, nevertheless it holds the ship with authority like many of his peers of the period (Gavazzeni, Erede, Capuana,a/o).
The singers are absolutely the best for the role, Del Monaco sings with fierce voice when required, but can be tender lover for his Leonora, and his dynamics are fine. He shows it in his main aria (after the recitativo "la vita è inferno all'infelice" at the start of the aria " O tu che in seno agli angeli")and in various other occasions ("ne gustare m'è dato un'ora di quiete", after the battle and in other moments)where he holds the voice showing that he could do it when required. I would have preferred a less excited entrance though, when he goes, at the start, to pick up Leonor to run away, but it is a minor flaw. Those who talk about loud singing simply go for stereotypes without having listened properly to the recording. It is a pleasure to listen to his duets with the great Bastianini. Renata Tebaldi, is Leonora, no one else can come close. Her "La Vergine degli Angeli" is said to have caused some conversions to catholicism. Be it as it may, surely we are looking at something never repeated after. Her partnership with del Monaco here is probably at its best. Bastianini had probably the most beautiful baritone voice ever recorded, even if at times this was privileged over technical accuracy. Despite this, his Don Carlo keeps at far distance any other and his duets with Mario are simply electrifying. Siepi was the best bass voice those days and his "morbidezza" was legendary. No score could cause him any trouble, and Forza does not take him to task, he flies high with class and elegance, greatly missed after his retirement. Corena, basso buffo, is at ease in the clownish Fra' Melitone role even if some top notes present clearly some problems. Simionato was a luxury for Preziosilla role and she delivers it with ease, but it was not her role and the impression is more of a marketing necessity rather than anything else.
All the other minor roles are covered with dignity by those involved. This recording, to me, is one of the few that can be considered "perfect" in the sense that all gave their absolute best and they were also at their best at that particular time. Rare occurrence.
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8c70db40) out of 5 stars The best in the field by a mile 5 Aug. 2009
By KC - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
I bought this set in a sale. The power of the singing is truly awesome.

Don't bother looking elsewhere until you have heard this gem of a recording. Mario Del Monaco is a powerhouse of a tenor and Tebaldi gives total satisfaction.

The early stereo is very good too!
10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8c95f9d8) out of 5 stars One of the best versions around, despite its shortcomings 13 July 2009
By G.D. - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
This set (dating from 1955) has managed to achieve something close to classic status and is probably one of the best recordings around of a work which contains many fine numbers and parts, but the overall cogency of which is a little questionable. Among its virtues is of course the brilliant performance by Tebaldi, probably the best Leonora around. On the other hand, Simionato's Preziosilla is not her best performance, being somewhat unsteady and ungainly (though it isn't bad). Something of the same polarity can be found among the male characters - Bastianini is excellent as Carlo, whereas del Monaco's Alvaro is brash and unsubtle, mostly loud. The orchestral playing is lively, however, and Molinari-Pradelli has an admirable grasp of the score, and the sound quality is very fine for its age as well, spacious and clear. Among the main competitors are the fine, but slightly cut Serafin set and the Schippers (which I haven't heard), and for a fine modern recording, I'd go for the very good Sinopoli one - which in the end must be said to be the first choice among the ones I am familiar with.
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