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Customer reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars

TOP 50 REVIEWERon 8 July 2016
One can forgive the less than perfect, slightly muddy sound, when the singing in this miracle of an opera is of the calibre that we hear on this 1950 live recording by Toscanini and the NBC Symphony, with the Robert Shaw Chorale.
Giuseppe Valdengo {who died in 2007 at the age of 93} is a magnificent Falstaff, with Herva Nelli, Nan Merriman, Cloe Elmo, and Teresa Stich-Randall a marvellous quartet as Alice Ford, Meg Page, Mistress Quickly, and Nannetta, the latter's Act 3 aria Sul fil d'un soffio etesio sung by the 22 year-old soprano Stich-Randall with a glorious vocal gleam, its mercilless high notes negotiated with a palpable sense of delirious abandon.
Antonio Madasi's tenor rings true as Fenton, and Frank Guarrera is fine as Ford.
The excitement generated by Toscanini and his cast is at times overwhelming, and while this can't and won't supplant the Karajan recording with Gobbi, Schwarzkopf, Panerai, Barbieri, and Moffo {as well as Merriman again} it complements it beautifully.

Unmissable, I'd say.
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on 29 April 2018
Wonderful performance by Toscanini and excellent cast. In spite of its age still recommended by critics and one can see why. 4+ stars because recording not up to modern standards, but perfectly listenable to - and after all it's the music and performance that counts.
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on 24 April 2001
I inserted the first CD into my player and found myself transformed into the world Verdi's greatest masterpiece of lyrics and music. Certainly the glory must go to Toscanini for making this complex work such a joy to listen to. He produces some of the most beautiful tones from the orchestra that perfectly matches with the glorious singing of Valdengo, Nelli, Merriman, Elmo, Guarrera and the others. I can't think of a single negative thing about this recording.
Giuseppe Valdengo was in such firm tone and his acting are just right on the money. All the women of the piece are also excellent. And some recognition must also go to the chorus.
This recording is for all lovers of Verdi supreme masterpiece and of Toscanini.
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on 5 February 2012
I have always thought people exaggerate Toscanini's ability as a conductor but in this recording of Falstaff it is certainly deserved. What surprised me most was the power and delicacy he draws from the score. It is precise, warm, vibrant and thrilling. A further surprise is the modern interpretation - here is a cast singing and performing without gimics or ham. Valdengo is superb, as good as Gobbi, and better suited to this role than Iago. Nelli is bright and easy to listen to. The sound is terrific and the live concert audience only make their presence felt at the end of the acts. It really is worth getting hold of a copy - you will not be disappointed.
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