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Thread: Verdi on disc - Aida

  1. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by RES View Post
    Hello. This is not usually the place where I comment. But I have a question whose answer I would greatly appreciate. In 1986, EMI reissued the 1974 AIDA with Caballe, Domingo, Cossotto/Muti. As was typical for the period, the digital remastering is not attributed. That would be EMI CDS 7 47271 8.

    In 1997, EMI did another digital remastering. By this time, they would have listed the name of the person who did the digital remastering on the first page of the booklet. I have a strangely assembled set that I got ages ago. The slipcase reflects the original 1986 EMI/Angel release, the jewel case and liners reflect the same mastering but with the EMI Classics logo and a second copyright date of 1993. But the discs are the digital remastering of 1997--catalog no. 5 56246 2. With the wrong booklet, I have no way of knowing who did the 1997 remastering on the discs themselves and am very curious. Does anyone here have the 1997 EMI set with the right booklet and could look up who did the remastering? (The 1997 releases all have the "EMI 1897-1997: 100 Years of Great Music" logo on the bottom right). Please post here or PM me. Thanks so much.
    Got my question answered. Someone had the 1997 EMI Muti and the remasterer is Allan Ramsay after all. Happily, he did not use that 20/88.2 ART technology which was the bane of the Callas Edition. No tracks are even added over the previous issuance (unlike the 2001/2016 GROTC/Warner, which he also did, adding 18 more). The fact that the discs have both 1997 and 1993 copyright dates on them, and the same box, liners, and booklet, makes me think it isn't a new mastering at all, just a refreshing for the EMI centenary. Very odd for me to spend time on a recording that isn't even something to which I return.

    Also, to join this discussion a bit, Callas 1951 is more fun than 1953--which has the not-good Baum; I don't love MdM but he's better. But in '53, we do get Simionato, though Dominguez is amazing in '51. Both performances are in similar sound quality. For 1951, I still like ars vocalis or Myto (both from BJR) better than Warner, which, while practically free of charge, cuts applause and the announcer--it's exactly the EMI master originally from Melodram 26015, except for the splice between Act 2 sc 1-2 (apparently from Myto) to get rid of the false Melodram applause elision. Thin studio Callas with Gobbi is terrific but I wish Bjoerling could have been substituted for Tucker. Also, I like Barbieri but Simionato is more to my taste--perhaps. Too bad HvK worked his great cast so hard that they sound tired in 1959.
    Last edited by RES; Oct-03-2018 at 23:04.

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  3. #47
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    I picked this Abbado live performance recording a couple of months ago, and it's so good, it made me completely forget that I was sick of listening to this opera. I've probably been listening to this recording a couple of times a week since I picked it up.

    Arroyo's performance is astonishing--I thought she was pretty good in the Davis Don Giovanni, very good in the Bernstein Verdi Requiem, and pretty boring in the Muti Ballo, so I was unprepared for the force of nature she is here in this performance from 1972. I've never heard a better performance of this title role--as beautifully sung as Tebaldi or Price, more dramatically involving than Callas, and legitimately touching, in a role I can't remember ever being touched by.

    As is often the case with Domingo, he is far better here in a live staged performance than in any of his studio performances. It's a night and day difference between his rather placid performances in the studio to his urgent and dramatic performances onstage. Cappuccilli, a singer I'm generally pretty indifferent to is excellent here as Amonasro, and Ghiaurov is his typical brilliant self. The Radames/Ramfis duet with Ghiaurov and Domingo in "Nume custode e vindice" is a particular highlight.

    The sound is good--typical FM stereo of that era. It's a warts-and-all performance, with a pretty awful oboe or clarinet squawk during the Act 4 duet between Radames and Amneris, and Arroyo is slightly flat on one of her high notes in the Act 3 duet with Radames. It's also worth noting that this is the 1972 live performance of the Scala forces on tour, captured and recorded from a performance in Munich. There is also another recording on Myto from the same year at La Scala with the exact same cast in much worse sound, and with no other advantages in terms of the performance, which I believe led to some confused customer reviews on Amazon. I'd definitely avoid that Milan recording and recommend this Munich one. I haven't heard it but I note that this seems to be on Opera Depot as well, with a sound sample that sounds as good as the Opera D'Oro version I bought.
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  5. #48
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    Last edited by RES; Apr-11-2019 at 00:46.

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    Quote Originally Posted by howlingfantods View Post
    410SDHTMPGL.jpg

    I picked this Abbado live performance recording a couple of months ago, and it's so good, it made me completely forget that I was sick of listening to this opera. I've probably been listening to this recording a couple of times a week since I picked it up.

    Arroyo's performance is astonishing--I thought she was pretty good in the Davis Don Giovanni, very good in the Bernstein Verdi Requiem, and pretty boring in the Muti Ballo, so I was unprepared for the force of nature she is here in this performance from 1972. I've never heard a better performance of this title role--as beautifully sung as Tebaldi or Price, more dramatically involving than Callas, and legitimately touching, in a role I can't remember ever being touched by.

    As is often the case with Domingo, he is far better here in a live staged performance than in any of his studio performances. It's a night and day difference between his rather placid performances in the studio to his urgent and dramatic performances onstage. Cappuccilli, a singer I'm generally pretty indifferent to is excellent here as Amonasro, and Ghiaurov is his typical brilliant self. The Radames/Ramfis duet with Ghiaurov and Domingo in "Nume custode e vindice" is a particular highlight.

    The sound is good--typical FM stereo of that era. It's a warts-and-all performance, with a pretty awful oboe or clarinet squawk during the Act 4 duet between Radames and Amneris, and Arroyo is slightly flat on one of her high notes in the Act 3 duet with Radames. It's also worth noting that this is the 1972 live performance of the Scala forces on tour, captured and recorded from a performance in Munich. There is also another recording on Myto from the same year at La Scala with the exact same cast in much worse sound, and with no other advantages in terms of the performance, which I believe led to some confused customer reviews on Amazon. I'd definitely avoid that Milan recording and recommend this Munich one. I haven't heard it but I note that this seems to be on Opera Depot as well, with a sound sample that sounds as good as the Opera D'Oro version I bought.
    Arroyo is beautiful, as always. Domingo is far more engaged than on the EMI recording of 1974, as is Cappuccilli. But this performance, to my ear, is completely sabotaged by Abbado who doesn't stop for anything. He doesn't even leave enough time for Arroyo to do a simple portamento. I can just imagine what the rehearsals were like. It's strange; I don't remember experiencing an anti-music Abbado-as-metronome before. This performance is a ruin. Very, very, very disappointing. One wants a real Arroyo AIDA (and other things) but this isn't it. She should have been the soprano in the 1974 EMI set rather than Caballe.

  7. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by RES View Post
    Arroyo is beautiful, as always. Domingo is far more engaged than on the EMI recording of 1974, as is Cappuccilli. But this performance, to my ear, is completely sabotaged by Abbado who doesn't stop for anything. He doesn't even leave enough time for Arroyo to do a simple portamento. I can just imagine what the rehearsals were like. It's strange; I don't remember experiencing an anti-music Abbado-as-metronome before. This performance is a ruin. Very, very, very disappointing. One wants a real Arroyo AIDA (and other things) but this isn't it. She should have been the soprano in the 1974 EMI set rather than Caballe.
    Interesting take. I really like the Abbado performance--it's a tense, terse, thrillingly dramatic performance--sort of how I'd imagine Kleiber conducting Aida to sound. You prefer the more lyrical or symphonic performances like the Karajan 1?

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    Quote Originally Posted by howlingfantods View Post
    Interesting take. I really like the Abbado performance--it's a tense, terse, thrillingly dramatic performance--sort of how I'd imagine Kleiber conducting Aida to sound. You prefer the more lyrical or symphonic performances like the Karajan 1?
    No, I'd prefer that the conductor, whatever his take, didn't just beat time metronomically, disallowing the singers from any expression with time. I have never heard anyone--including Muti--do anything like this to AIDA. And Arroyo deserved better, especially because she never got a studio recording. And btw, Kleiber generally used flexible tempi. There's a story about rehearsal of VESPRI in 1951 with Callas where he apparently didn't, and yelled out to her on stage "Watch me, Callas!" She answered: "No, maestro, you watch me. Your eyesight is better than mine". And so was her sense of time as a key element of expression. I wish Arroyo had behaved the same way with Abbado on this occasion, but he caved every time to his metronomic unmusicality and the performance sounds, as one person said, like a student, as a result.
    Last edited by RES; Apr-16-2019 at 20:12.

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  10. #52
    Senior Member Becca's Avatar
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    Given that the Vespri was 1951, I presume you are referring to Erich Kleiber.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Becca View Post
    Given that the Vespri was 1951, I presume you are referring to Erich Kleiber.
    Apologies about the ambiguity--when I said this was how I'd imagine Kleiber conducting Aida, I meant Carlos. Abbado's 1972 Aida recalled to my mind Carlos's 1977/1980/1981 Otello--driven and tense and exceptionally dramatic. I have a few recordings from Erich but not enough to have a strong sense of his style

    Quote Originally Posted by RES View Post
    ...and the performance sounds, as one person said, like a student, as a result.
    Another apology, but I'm a little lost here. Who is the one person who said that Abbado's conducting was like that of a student? Was that in this thread?
    Last edited by howlingfantods; Apr-16-2019 at 22:30.

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    Quote Originally Posted by howlingfantods View Post
    ...Another apology, but I'm a little lost here. Who is the one person who said that Abbado's conducting was like that of a student? Was that in this thread?
    I didn't mean Abbado. I meant that someone (not here) said Arroyo sounded like a student in this performance, and I that attribute the impression to Abbado's metronomic straight-jacketing of her ability to be expressive.
    Last edited by RES; Apr-17-2019 at 21:58.

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