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Thread: L'amico Fritz on CD

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    Senior Member SixFootScowl's Avatar
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    Default L'amico Fritz on CD

    I have this one (and listened to it 12 times over the weekend ):

    Which is very good (Clips from the remaster edition), but I am not a big fan of either Pavarotti (but I do like his eight high Cs in La Fille du Regiment), and Freni's voice seems to heavy or dark to me. I would prefer a brighter voice.


    That said, there is some appeal to an earlier, live performance with Freni and at least Pavarotti is not present (the one above is 1969):

    CLIPS


    Then I ran across this 2008 recording which is too expensive (even for used), but can be on my wish list in case it someday comes up cheaper. It has a nice bright soprano as I prefer for this work:

    CLIPS


    I am open to suggestions as I know there are other CDs of this, mostly older I think. Either post one you think I would like or confirm that I should either be happy with the one I have or should get one of the ones posted above. Thanks!
    Last edited by SixFootScowl; Jun-29-2015 at 17:26.
    “Then he will also say to those on the left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels!'" Matthew 25:41 (Christian Standard Bible)

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    Well, I think the one you already own it's a great one!. The other Freni recording and the Alagna-Gheorghiu couple are fine too, but not in the same league, in my view.

    Pavarotti and Freni are a wonderful pair, and if you include the conducting of Gianandrea Gavazzeni, plus the David of the Spanish baritone Vicente Sardinero, this is my favorite recording of the piece. By the way, Ms. Freni would love your feelings about her 'dark', 'heavy' voice ... she was so often accused of being a light-lyric soprano trying to move into the shoes of a spinto...

    Having said that, if you really like the opera as much as having listened it a dozen times in a couple of days, I think you can enjoy some other recordings too.

    For historical reasons, you should give a try to a version from the 1940s that was conducted... by Mascagni himself!. With the married couple of Pia Tassinari and Ferruccio Tagliavini, it's a nice experience... though not in the class of the Pavarotti/Freni, I would say. On the other hand, I don't know how easy will be to get a copy of this CD, if you want to buy it in a store, virtual or physical. But you can get some flavour on youtube:



    There is another older version I like a lot. This one with Rosanna Carteri, Cesare Valletti and the great baritone Carlo Tagliabue, and it's around ten years older than the above one. Under the baton of Vittorio Gui, you get wonderful singing, and every bit as Italianate as the Freni/Pavarotti. Again, you can go to youtube to taste the music:



    I would recommend also a DVD. The singing is not at the same level (Dimitra Thedossiou and José Bros), to be honest. But it's a charming proposition, nonetheless, and you can watch it for free in youtube:



    It's not a complete recording, but if you haven't already listened to that, please do:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CZSewl5wT4k

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    Quote Originally Posted by schigolch View Post
    Well, I think the one you already own it's a great one!. The other Freni recording and the Alagna-Gheorghiu couple are fine too, but not in the same league, in my view.
    I couldn't agree more, there's something special about the Gavazzeni Fritz.

    N.

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    Senior Member Tsaraslondon's Avatar
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    And don't forget the wonderful Cherry Duet of Mafalda Favero and Tito Schipa.


    "It's not enough to have a beautiful voice." Maria Callas

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    Thanks for all the info and recommendations. All the You Tube samples are great, some with better sound quality though. The Pia Tassinari and Ferruccio Tagliavini has very good sound, but is quite pricey. I do have the Theodossiou DVD of this and it was my introduction to this opera. Will keep this opera in my radar for potentially another recording. I'll revisit some of these and keep my eyes out on Amazon and Ebay and at my local record shop.
    “Then he will also say to those on the left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels!'" Matthew 25:41 (Christian Standard Bible)

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    To avoid starting another thread that likely won't go very far, I'll note here that apparently there is only one DVD of L'amico Fritz. I have it and it is pretty good. Bros is much better here than in my La Sonnambula DVD. I like Theodossiou too. All in all, for only one selection available this is pretty good.
    “Then he will also say to those on the left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels!'" Matthew 25:41 (Christian Standard Bible)

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    Quote Originally Posted by schigolch View Post
    For historical reasons, you should give a try to a version from the 1940s that was conducted... by Mascagni himself!. With the married couple of Pia Tassinari and Ferruccio Tagliavini, it's a nice experience... though not in the class of the Pavarotti/Freni, I would say. On the other hand, I don't know how easy will be to get a copy of this CD, if you want to buy it in a store, virtual or physical. But you can get some flavour on youtube:
    I got it in remastered form for $4.35 shipped. It was the result of my mystery purchase that I only knew was this opera but the seller did not know what performance. Haven't listened yet.
    “Then he will also say to those on the left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels!'" Matthew 25:41 (Christian Standard Bible)

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    For any who want to pursue this opera further, here is some great background info from this Opera Today article and good reasons to love this opera (bold is my emphasis, as is smiley face):

    ... it was actually Mascagni’s intention to write a work that was as different to Cavalleria as possible: “I want to take a different [r]oad, particularly seeing that too many newspapers, praising Cavalleria, attributed all its success to the libretto. For that reason, l I want a simple libretto, something almost insubstantial, so the opera will be judged entirely on its music.”

    ...the text [of L'amico Fritz] was judged by Verdi to be “the worst libretto I’ve ever seen”, while composer Antonio Camps declared that the opera was sure to fail as, lacking passion, it would never enrapture its audiences. However, after performances in 1891 in five Italian cities, it was successfully exported to Hamburg (conducted by Gustav Mahler []), Berlin, Vienna, Prague, arriving at the Royal Opera House, London in 1892 and evening travelling to Australia in 1893.

    ...

    Mascagni was right to have faith in this simple, sentimental divertissement. Verismo was never a merely dramatic genre, but also a musical one, characterized by passionate declamation by solo voices, emotionally charged melodies, and affecting harmonies and modulations. And, in Mascagni’s score glorious melodies tumble one after the other in an endless stream of beautiful lyricism, coloured by imaginative harmonic twists and turns, enriched by instrumentation.

    ...

    The ‘cherry duet’ between Fritz and Suzel in Act 2 is the opera’s pièce de résistance; if the plot is a sort of ‘vengeance-free’ Romeo and Juliet, this duet is suggestive of the mystery and enchantment of A Midsummer Night’s Dream:

    “So we grew together,
    Like to a double Cherry, seeming parted,
    But yet a union in partition;
    Two lovely berries moulded on one stem.”
    Now what we have here is a unique opera that challenged the composer to make a success out of what was considered the worst libretto, and a success it is. That, to me, makes it all the more beautiful, but as the bold text above notes, it is a very beautiful opera. If you don't like the anemic plot, and don't understand Italian, you can certainly listen to the CD for the pure musical (instruments and voices) beauty of it.
    Last edited by SixFootScowl; Sep-26-2016 at 17:26.
    “Then he will also say to those on the left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels!'" Matthew 25:41 (Christian Standard Bible)

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    Quote Originally Posted by GregMitchell View Post
    And don't forget the wonderful Cherry Duet of Mafalda Favero and Tito Schipa.


    Absolutely! This is one of the best recordings ever made of anything.

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    I could really binge on this opera but there are not many recordings. I already have the best four:


    Last edited by SixFootScowl; Sep-27-2016 at 02:56.
    “Then he will also say to those on the left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels!'" Matthew 25:41 (Christian Standard Bible)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Florestan View Post
    I could really binge on this opera but there are not many recordings. I already have the best four:


    Diving in something different from Mascagni perhaps?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pugg View Post
    Diving in something different from Mascagni perhaps?
    I have not found one that excites me (though I only looked at a few synopses). This one is so un-Mascagni that maybe I would not care for his others.
    Last edited by SixFootScowl; Sep-27-2016 at 04:27.
    “Then he will also say to those on the left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels!'" Matthew 25:41 (Christian Standard Bible)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Florestan View Post
    I have not found one that excites me (though I only looked at a few synopses). This one is so un-Mascagni that maybe I would not care for his others.
    What's not to like on the Cavalleria rusticana with the wonderful Easter chorus.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pugg View Post
    What's not to like on the Cavalleria rusticana with the wonderful Easter chorus.
    That may be all there is to like about it.
    “Then he will also say to those on the left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels!'" Matthew 25:41 (Christian Standard Bible)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pugg View Post
    Diving in something different from Mascagni perhaps?
    Ok. I am. Here is my order placed a few minutes ago (It is because of Larmore ):
    “Then he will also say to those on the left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels!'" Matthew 25:41 (Christian Standard Bible)

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