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Customer reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
IL Trovatore
Format: Audio CD|Change
Price:£13.08+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime

on 6 November 2012
Here is a fascinating document - one of few complete recordings by the amazing Giacomo Lauri-Volpi. He was an utter egotist, but his timbre was unequaled. He could produced a sound of gigantic power and switch to a mezzavoce (reminiscent of Tagliavini - his mezzavoce that is).

A wobble had entered Lauri Volpi's voice by the early Fifties (his peak was in the Thirties and Forties) but you can still hear a voice of sublime grace mixed with a steely high range - something Del Monaco and Corelli could never achieve. If I'm honest Cetra should had given the role of Manrico to Mario Filippeschi, but alas he never recorded it.

Unsurprisingly the work is cut, and it's typical narrow Cetra sound, but, nonetheless, if you like Il Trovatore as much as I do (plot aside) it is a recording worth getting with the bonus of Mancini as Leonora and Tagliabue as Di Luna.
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on 21 December 2014
I love it
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on 23 February 2016
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on 2 September 2012
IL TROVATORE ! One of the most beautiful operas of middle Verdi and the romantic period. One of the most difficult operas to perform on stage or in the studio. The characters seem very two dimensional, but the musical expression - orchestral and vocal - demands the utmost from the interpreters. We have Callas, the best Leonora, but her partners are not on same level. Manrico is not di Stefano's territory and Barbieri is not convincing at all. Tebaldi is bland, del Monaco is too loud but Simionato is a delight. More modern, but not very good sounding is Corelli, Tucci, Simionato, Merrill / Schippers. But here Simionato sounds old and tired. Still, better than many modern-day mezzos that are usually miked all the way to dubious applause !
Now, about THE Bonisolli Trovatore. What has not been said about this tenor? That he was not disciplined, he "dared" not to listen to Herr Karajan, he did "that" or did "this" and so on. BUT, he did not yell and HAD a VOICE and what a VOICE ! He uses it very well in this recording and it is a pleasure to listen to it. Not like another famous tenor - former baritone - who sang the role and recorded it too many times, without having a proper C, not mentioning a HIGH C at all !
Kabaivanska's voice is a little metallic - so is Tebaldi's - but very convincing and she is inside the role. Viorica Cortez, a very unrated and unrecorded mezzo-soprano, is an ideal Azucena. She knows how to use her voice and has the right expression for every situation she is involved in dramatically. The former policeman turned baritone, Giorgio Zancanaro, has a very solid voice and presence, fitting the role of the count di Luna to perfection. So is Bartoletti's conducting.
I prefer this recording to Mehta's with Price, Domingo, Cossotto and Milnes. It might be better recorded but you have to listen to an underpowered mega-star tenor without Cs and high Cs, a very metallic and not very convincing dramatically Azucena, a young, future mega-star baritone, who had yet to learn how to project a role in general and di Luna in particular and Price's Leonora, which might not be the most convincing dramatically, BUT - what a voice. Not Italian, for sure, but unique in it's kind. Mehta conducts with all the necessary fire and flair for this opera.
So, if you have the opportunity, grab the Bonisolli - Trovatore and keep it for a desert island !
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on 24 March 2012
This is the 1956 Callas/Barbieri/di Stefano/Panerai/La Scala/Karajan recording, and very fine that was. But this is a pretty inept transfer from LP - you can hear minor surface clicks fairly often, and there is one point where it jumps a groove (in Azucena's cabaletta in IIi). But more serious is that the quality of sound is often unacceptably fuzzy, suggesting fluff on the stylus.

Each Act has (allegedly) just one track, but the starts of Acts II and III are missing a bar or so. And, even odder, "Act Iiii" (i.e. Act IV) begins with Conte di Luna's entrance, the whole of Leonora's great scene being included in Act III!

No, this won't do, and I'm surprised that Amazon market so shoddy a product. OK, it's very cheap, caveat emptor etc, but it does a disservice to a great performance.

I endorse the ecstatic reviews of others on more respectable reissues. Callas is wonderful, above all in Act IV, though it's surprising how little she gets - big scenes in Iii and IVi, minor parts in IIii, IIIii and IVii, nothing in Ii and IIi. di Stefano is suitably heroic, if short on personality, Barbieri nice and manic, plenty of chest voice and "eating the scenery", and Panerai appropriately villainous and moustachio-twirling. Karajan's conducting is full of drive.
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on 13 March 2012
I was so impressed with this live recording (extraneous sound is at a minimum), and the quality of singing is top notch.

I bought the CD primarily for Kenneth Collins whom I saw singing Il Trovatore in the late 1970s with WNO. He has a beautiful, silvery voice, with an Italianate tone. He sings with such passion and power; it really was astonishing for a journeyman tenor who did the rounds. You got your money's worth, and by today's standards I think his voice is more attractive than Kaufman or Villazon. He had a rock solid top C, as he demonstrates, sensitivity and musicianship.

You could argue that in 1983 Sutherland was past her prime, but her voice has such presence here - perhaps being on home ground inspired her. I was amazed by Lauris Elms as Azucena, who has a wonderful mezzo voice. She's immensely expressive and has power to boot. Jonathan Summers struggles a little with the high tessitura of Di Luna but he's mixes well with the quality around him, in fact all the cast have voices that would have graced any top European opera house.

Bonynge brings wonderfully rich and refined playing from the Elizabethan Sydney Orchestra. There are some slow paced numbers ("Tacea la notte placida"), but generally the pace is sprightly.

This CD happily sits in my collection alongside the Trovatores of Corelli, Bjorling, Domingo and Bonisoli. It deserves to be there. Bravo Kenneth Collins. Bravi tutti!

PS: Kenneth Collins passed away in July 2013 - this CD is a fitting reminder of a great tenor.
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