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Verdi: Jerusalem Import, Box set

3.0 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Composer: Giuseppe Verdi
  • Audio CD (16 Oct. 2000)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 3
  • Format: Import, Box set
  • Label: Philips
  • ASIN: B00004XPU3
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 311,020 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
  • Sample this album Artist - Artist (Sample)
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Disc 2
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Disc 3
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Product Description

BBC Review

This is the French adaptation of I lombardi which Verdi produced for Paris in 1847. The plot was altered, with the Lombardians becoming French Crusaders from Toulouse, but as much as possible of the shape and emotional curve of the Italian original was retained. Verdi wrote an orchestral introduction to replace the brief prelude of I lombardi, made a few changes to his score and composed some new music, including the obligatory (for Paris) ballet whose music is pleasant and colourfully scored. Jérusalem has been slowly creeping back into the repertoire, and it is good to have it on disc as Verdi's centenary year approaches.

The Russian soprano Marina Mescheriakova brings to the role of Hélène a huge and splendidly firm voice and a fine understanding of the style required. She is tender in her Act I 'Ave Maria' and exciting in Act II's polonaise, 'Quelle ivresse'. Her lover Gaston is sung by Marcello Giordani, who is stylistically less secure, but vocally satisfactory. Roberto Scandiuzzi, as the villainous but complex Roger, gives a fine dramatic performance, and all three combine to make the beautiful Act IV trio very moving. The other roles are all more than competently handled, and Fabio Luisi conducts a stirring account of Verdi's energetic score. Highly recommended.

Performance *****
Sound ****

© BBC Music Magazine 2000

Customer Reviews

3.0 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
The previous reviewer is possibly disadvantaged by being a French-speaker! Being used to listening to French and Italian operas when I speak neither language, I can say that if you're able to listen to them as 'beautiful sounds', you won't have any problem. Maybe in this case ignorance IS bliss. There are very few versions of JERUSALEM (or the re-Italianised version, GERUSALEMME) around at the moment, and you have to take them as you find them. This one is also, as it says on the cover, the first complete recording.
Personally I prefer Verdi's first thoughts, and think I LOMBARDI is the better work, but some of that is to do with the required form of French Grand Opera - which makes JERUSALEM more lengthy, and sticks in a looooong ballet sequence - and some with a fondness for those tunes in LOMBARDI that got left out of JERUSALEM. (And in a couple of places were replaced by bits of ERNANI - I suppose a case of 'waste not, want not' . . . !)
However, listening to JERUSALEM will bring you some very fine music - and, in this particular set, fine voices - and it may well be better to approach it as a completely different opera. It packs a punch - and I don't think most people listening to Mescheriakova and Scanduzzi and the others are going to be disappointed with what they hear.
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Format: Audio CD
While the Italians cling to the cruder, more rumbustious earlier version of this opera, "I Lombardi", presumably mainly because its patriotic theme is explicit, I am with Verdi scholar Julian Budden in preferring this re-write for Paris in 1847; it is a more coherent, homogeneous work despite the persistent incongruities and inconsistencies of the plot. It maintains a more compact and comprehensible narrative line, the number of scenes being reduced from eleven to seven, and retains most of the best music from "I Lombardi". Verdi wisely jettisoned the naiveties such as the heavenly vision scene and wrote some new, refined and beautiful music such as the delicate passage depicting the sunrise in the first scene and also a completely new finale to Act 3. There are still some rather jolly throwbacks: the soldiers' chorus "Fier soldat" sounds heavily indebted to Mercadante in his more bombastic mode, but by and large this is a more mature Verdi - as you would expect, four years on and writing for the discriminating and rather rigid Parisians. The obligatory ballet is charming, inoffensive music - and of course a bit of a bore for the listener without the benefit of the accompanying visual stimulus of dance; just skip it if you want, but at least we have the complete score here.

I also think this is the best of Luisi's three early Verdi operas, recorded to fill the gaps left by Gardelli. He is both more energised and subtle here than in "Alzira" and "Aroldo" and the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande are again very fine: sharp and responsive.

Revisiting this recording, I in fact found it to be much better than I had remembered from a first listening several years back.
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Format: Audio CD
It was lucky that the Verdi centenary occurred before the major companies cut right back on recording complete operas. Jerusalem certainly improves upon Lombardi as an overall score, particularly later on – earlier, some of the Lombardi music (such as the Ave Maria and the big Nabucco-type chorus) sits uneasily in its new position. But if you’re going to record this French version, you need singers who, if not actually French, have the French style, with forward placing of the voice and good enunciation of the text. In this respect, the tenor Marcello Giordani is streets ahead of the other two principals – the opera comes into focus whenever he sings. Mescheriakova has a big vibrant voice, and she can sing beautifully, but her engagement with the text is not great. Bottom of the class is the bass, Scandiuzzi. At times woolly, or wobbly, or lachrymose, or with uncertain intonation, or poor French, the temperature drops whenever he starts. Good recording; mediocre conducting at times - to hear how early Verdi can really go, Levine's set of I Lombardi leaves this standing. And with no Italian soprano on any of the complete studio sets, I do recommend seeking out Renata Scotto singing the big aria and cabaletta on a Sony CD of Verdi arias - unforgettably exciting.
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Format: Audio CD
This stupid opera on a very silly libretto can only be saved with an excellent cast and an enormously devoted conductor and production team.
Nothing will be yours with this set. Completeness is one thing, but do it great or don't!
What went wrong here? Everyone here who has to sing French sings French with garlic butter in their throath singing the silly lines without involvement.
Even if you don't know more French than merci, you can hear that nobody here knows what he or she is singing about. It's like hearing someone say I love you as if he is ordering a soda-pop.
The two tenors are the worst singing Franco-Russians I've ever encountered. Every phrase, every French nuance, every syllabe is stressed in the wrong way.
Well, I've got to stop myself, otherwise I start shouting....
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x97c1ee88) out of 5 stars 12 reviews
22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x97a4c5ac) out of 5 stars Paris revision of I Lombardi 10 Oct. 2002
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Before Verdi wrote his two original Paris operas, Les Vepres Sicillienes and Don Carlos, he first tried his hand with this reworking of an earlier Italian opera - I Lombardi. Although BBC Radio 3 have an unreleased recording of Jérusalem from the 80's lurking somewhere in their vaults, this is the first time Verdi's Paris revision of his crusader opera has made it onto disc. The original Italian version was recorded in 1975 by Gavazzeni with Carreras in the lead role and is still available (also on Philips).
Comparing the two versions, the later French one has a considerably tighter plot, with a well structured quartet of major roles - crusader count, his daughter, young hero, wicked uncle, and less activity for the chorus than the Italian original. Verdi was so pleased with his revision that he had it translated back into Italian as Gerusalemme and withdrew I Lombardi. The French version's extra length (and extra CD) is partly due to the Parisian grande opéra requirement for a ballet which Verdi inserted, appropriately, in the heroine's harem scene. Anyone wanting to get an idea of the musical difference between I Lombardi and Jérusalem can hear an aria from each on Roberto Alagna's 1998 Verdi Arias disc on EMI.
This 2001 recording recieved a mixed welcome in France. Classica rewarded the set a 'recommandé par Classica' and Télérama awarded it 'ffff' (top marks), but Diapason magazine was less impressed. One problem was that the French pronunciation of the mainly foreign cast didn't go down well with the reviewers: "One regrets that the French diction of the cast of Jérusalem, apart from Philippe Rouillon, is deficient and diminishes the success of this rewriting for the Opéra de Paris, in 1847, of I Lombardi."(Renaud Machart in Le Monde). On the other hand, you'd have thought that most people (the critics of Le Monde excepted) would not be too bothered about the way Italians sing French, and the Russian soprano Marina Mescheriakova compensates very prettily for un-French consonants.
Overall if neither the opera nor the recording is the absolute masterpiece that is Pappano and Alagna's EMI recording of the French original of Don Carlos, then it is still pretty good. If you already have the French version of Don Carlos and enjoyed it, you'll almost certainly like this as well.
20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x97a509fc) out of 5 stars A new Giacomo Aragall in an almost forgotten masterpiece? 7 Mar. 2001
By A. Schelling - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Many people say that there are no longer great Verdi singers left. I think it is only a littebit true, but when I first heard Marcello Giordani, I forget all my scepsis. Here we can hear a great singer which reminds me of no one less than Giacomo Aragall or perhaps a young Jose Carreras. I wanted to give him a five star rating, but the rest of this recording is good to very good, but not outstanding. Mescheriakova has a beautiful voice, but she is not (yet) a Verdi singer. Scandiuzzi is very good and I specially like the chorus. Fabio Luisi, I rate as 'adequate': he doesn't give that warm Verdi feeling. The orchestra plays very well. The last point I want to make is that of the great value of this recording. I posses many legal or barelylegal recordings of Verdi operas, but this is the first of this masterpiece. Buy it!!!!
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x97a5012c) out of 5 stars Outstanding Earrly Verdi 23 Nov. 2001
By John G. Gleeson Sr. - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Jerusalem is a "rewrite" by Verdi of his fourth opera, I Lombardi. It is an instructional exercise to listen to both operas sequentially, because the composer's growth as a musical dramatist is obvious. The performance is generally excellent: well conducted and well sung. It is frequently said that the recent emphasis on bel canto opera has resulted in a lack of great Verdian voices, and, especially as relates to sopranos and baritones, I tend to agree. But that is nit-picking as far as this album is concerned. It is a totally enjoyable listening experience from start to finish. If you like Verdi, you'll love this recording, and if you are "testing the water" as far as opera goes, this will be an excellent start. Buy and enjoy!
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x97a51bd0) out of 5 stars jerusalem by verdi 28 May 2002
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
I am not familiar with the parent opera, I Lombardi, and this is the first recording of this work. In my humble opinion it is breathtaking. I love the singing, the conducting and the orchestra. The sound quality is superb. Verdi added a powerful scene where the hero Gaston is humilited by having his weapons destoyed for the crime he is innocent of ( my guese is that at the premier this must have moved the audience to tears ). I read up on the story of I lombardi and as far as the drama is concerned Jerusalem is differnt opera. If you love Verdi as I do ( I even have Oberto ) you'll fall in love with this recording and with this opera. By all means by it.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x97a51a74) out of 5 stars Verdi raro, para Paris 12 Dec. 2011
By Jose Rubens Rezek - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
"Jérusalem" nada mais é do que a revisão da partitura de "I Lombardi", montada para os palcos franceses. Além da tradução do libretto, com algumas modificações, foi incluído o necessário balé, como era comum acontecer com as óperas representadas em Paris. Esta gravação, de estúdio, é a primeira realizada da obra completa, com a Orquestra de la Suisse Romande habilmente conduzida pelo jovem maestro Fabio Luisi. Os baixos Roberto Scandiuzzi e Philippe Rouillon desempenham bem seus papéis e estão com as vozes no auge. O destaque vai para o par de protagonistas, Marcello Giordani e Marina Mescheriakova, impecáveis na pronúncia em francês. Mescheriakova possui uma voz com tons dramáticos, fazendo com que a personagem Helène soe bem convincente. Produzido no início da década de 2000, este disco, juntamente com Verdi: Aroldo e Verdi: Alzira, acrescenta novos títulos, pela gravadora Philips, ao ciclo de Verdi iniciado há cerca de 40 anos. Indispensável para um bom verdiano.
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