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Thread: Verdi on disc - Aida

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    Senior Member DavidA's Avatar
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    Default Verdi on disc - Aida

    Aida (Wki) is an opera in four acts by Giuseppe Verdi to an Italian libretto by Antonio Ghislanzoni. Set in Egypt, it was commissioned by and first performed at Cairo's Khedivial Opera House on 24 December 1871; Giovanni Bottesini conducted after Verdi himself withdrew. Today the work holds a central place in the operatic canon, receiving performances every year around the world; at New York's Metropolitan Opera alone, Aida has been sung more than 1,100 times since 1886.

    Many fine recordings. Which are your favourites and why?

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    Senior Member howlingfantods's Avatar
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    81mLBUtR4zL._SX355_.jpg

    51TP8M13txL.jpg

    mehta_verdi_aida1967.jpg

    Verdi_Aida_8110129.jpg

    The Perlea has the best singing overall of any recordings I've heard. Bjorling puts other Radames to shame, even if he's not the prototype heroic tenor. Milanov does some of her best singing on record, although there is evidence of her impending decline here--she has the odd hollow note when she's transitioning from phrase to phrase during a recitative her or there, but she's fantastic in her big moments. The low voiced crew is spectacularly represented by Warren, Barbieri and Christoff.

    For Leontyne Price Aidas, I prefer the Leinsdorf over the more famous Solti, mostly to avoid Solti drowning out his singers at every turn and his odd conviction that the essence of Aida is that it's a trumpet concerto. I especially enjoy Bumbry's Amneris here, her otherwise bright mezzo can sound too samey with many sopranos but not with Price's smokey (but still ravishingly beautiful) voice. First of Domingo's recordings--there's a conventional wisdom for Domingo that he improves in his roles over time but I generally tend to prefer his earlier versions of most of his roles over his later.

    Nilsson isn't quite right as Aida but her performance is awfully impressive and beautiful. I often have this realization when I listen to Nilsson that I didn't even notice all the strenuous effort from all other performers until I listened to Nilsson since she makes everything sounds so effortless. She's paired with the excellent Radames stylings of Corelli, Bumbry not as good as on the Leinsdorf but again, you can't really mistake Bumbry's voice for Nilsson. Sereni as usual delivers loads of big good sound.

    Finally my actual favorite performance of the title role, Tebaldi is much better heard here than in the Karajan where her voice is sounding somewhat tired. Del Monaco isn't my favorite Radames (or really my favorite anything, with his tendency to bellow everything) and the rest of the cast is good not great which is why this isn't higher in my rankings despite my affection for the lead performance.
    Last edited by howlingfantods; Oct-08-2017 at 19:07.

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    Senior Member MAS's Avatar
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    For Callas and Taddei
    48EAB337-9A38-44C4-B5FD-E0629EC95CCF.jpeg

    For Callas and Gobbi
    850BD7CB-95A5-489D-B823-3AC85DEC7B90.jpeg

    For the entire cast of Italians and Gui
    4EBA0845-1647-45A7-A9A4-2E7FFE08CD92.jpeg

    For Price and Vickers
    38DE7B0A-1822-4C14-AC6E-220E2404CEDB.jpeg

    For Caballe and the rest of a good cast
    88CC162E-1AD5-4E22-9A45-870293847DFD.jpeg
    Last edited by MAS; Oct-08-2017 at 19:37.

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    Senior Member howlingfantods's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MAS View Post
    For the entire cast of Italians and Gui
    4EBA0845-1647-45A7-A9A4-2E7FFE08CD92.jpeg
    I thought my list was getting too long but this one would have been my next. These old Cetra recordings are often obviously flawed but still compulsively listenable. I often wonder how much better an average night at the opera must have been in Italy postwar--there's some strained and ugly notes, but a real sense of drama and movement. I often drop in on this recording to listen to Mancini's Patria Mio or something, and find I've been swept up and listened to the rest without having meant to.
    Last edited by howlingfantods; Oct-08-2017 at 19:53.

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    I have to pick more than one.

    For the opera overall and in good sound it doesn't get much better than this:
    Aida Caballe.jpg

    This one is probably the most exciting recording of the opera with a superb young Callas and del Monaco even though the sound is somewhat rough:
    Aida Callas.jpg

    And I have to have a recording with Price in the title role:
    Aida Price.jpg

    This thread makes me feel that I must listen to Price's first recording again, it's been a while.

    N.

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    Senior Member MAS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by howlingfantods View Post
    I thought my list was getting too long but this one would have been my next. These old Cetra recordings are often obviously flawed but still compulsively listenable. I often wonder how much better an average night at the opera must have been in Italy postwar--there's some strained and ugly notes, but a real sense of drama and movement. I often drop in on this recording to listen to Mancini's Patria Mio or something, and find I've been swept up and listened to the rest without having meant to.
    Yes, those old Cetras certainly do grab you. The singers have this music in their blood - I feel like I’m in the Arena di Verona on a good night. I’m glad Cetra recorded quite a lot in those days, as we get to hear singers we didn’t hear before, in decent, if rough, sound. Quite a few of these operas were not recorded for years by the major companies, and they also had artists at the beginning of their careers that went on to be quite famous.

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    Senior Member Granate's Avatar
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    Default Favourite Aidas - 2017

    I've never found a definitive Aida for discography. But I recall here my Verdi challenge for two great Aidas:

    Quote Originally Posted by Granate View Post

    Verdi
    Aida
    Leontyne Price, Jon Vickers, Rita Gorr, Robert Merrill, Plinio Clabassi, Giorgio Tozzi, Franco Ricciardi, Mietta Sighele
    Orchestra e Coro del Teatro dell'Opera di Roma
    Georg Solti
    Decca (1962/2016 Remastered Edition)


    Being a little sarcastic in Solti's recording: Where's Aida? It's hard for me to recognise Leontyne Price as this character with her soprano-mezzo style, but I find it very positive. Vickers' Radamès and the whole Teatro dell'Opera di Roma deserves my applause for such an intense and loud performance (Gorr and Price feel quite little in this version compared to the rest of the forces). I'm more than satisfied, deserved TC Aida winner of 2015.
    Quote Originally Posted by Granate View Post

    Verdi
    Aida
    Renata Tebaldi, Carlo Bergonzi, Giulietta Simionato, Cornell MacNeil, Arnold van Mill, Fernando Corena, Piero de Palma, Eugenia Ratti
    Singverein der Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde
    Wiener Philharmoniker
    Herbert von Karajan
    Decca (1959/2007 Remastered Edition)


    [...]His previous and more considered recording, Decca's in 1959 with Tebaldi and Bergonzi in the main roles. Sounds at times safe, but grand too. The main singers never fail but they are a bit flat in the first half. The biggest dissapointment is the dull March that Karajan conducts. Then, Act III arrives and it is a whole different story, MacNeil's Amonasro sounds so authoritative that the rest of the cast and the orchestra grow and blossom. That is a tour de force. Act IV is another completely different piece that throughout the tracks can seem too lightweight but everything is justified in that "O terra, adio" with the strings playing in such a high key.

    This 1959's Aida could be a safer purchase against the misterious, epic and divisive Solti recording with a half invisible Leontyne Price. I personally cannot decide which to like more.
    Quote Originally Posted by Granate View Post

    Verdi
    Aida
    Monserrat Caballé, Fiorenza Cossotto, Plácido Domingo, Piero Cappuccilli, Nicolai Ghiaurov, Luigi Roni, Nicola Martinucci, Esther Casas
    Chorus of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden
    New Philharmonia Orchestra
    Riccardo Muti
    Warner Classics (1974/2016 Reissue Edition)


    Good playing of the New Philharmonia in Aida and the two main roles are well performed, though they both are an acquired taste and need a little time to adjust to their roles (which I find quite strange, but it's better than nothing). This Muti acclaimed recording is decent enough for me as a gift.

    After a compared listen, I decided to put the Karajan Decca recording of Aida as the favourite, because of the orchestration and the more classic and clear style of Renata Tebaldi as Aida and the amazing voice of Carlo Bergonzi as Radamès.

    1st: Karajan Decca
    1st: Solti Decca

    3rd: Muti Warner Classics
    4th: Serafin Warner Classics
    5th: Karajan Warner Classics
    So, a shout out for the Karajan Decca. Also, the Serafin/Callas has grown on me, and the male cast is very good, but I needed to revise my taste for Fedora Barbieri as Amneris.
    Last edited by Granate; Oct-08-2017 at 22:42.

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    Senior Member DarkAngel's Avatar
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    No shortage of excellent Aida's, HFT both of these have been recently remastered by Sony/RCA and can usually be purchased pretty cheap, I have been replacing old versions with new RCA versions as they become available, also selectively acquiring Decca blu ray remasters like the Solti Aida....


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    Senior Member DarkAngel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Granate View Post
    I've never found a definitive Aida for discography. But I recall here my Verdi challenge for two great Aidas:

    So, a shout out for the Karajan Decca. Also, the Serafin/Callas has grown on me, and the male cast is very good, but I needed to revise my taste for Fedora Barbieri as Amneris.
    Granate you need to post your opera stuff here from now on.......the massive "listening to now" thread is a black hole, here you will get proper attention and feedback

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    Senior Member MAS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DarkAngel View Post
    No shortage of excellent Aida's, HFT both of these have been recently remastered by Sony/RCA and can usually be purchased pretty cheap, I have been replacing old versions with new RCA versions as they become available, also selectively acquiring Decca blu ray remasters like the Solti Aida....

    DA, do you perform sound comparisons with the previous issues of the RCA (and other) recordings? I’ve been curious about how good the remasterings are.

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    Senior Member DarkAngel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MAS View Post
    DA, do you perform sound comparisons with the previous issues of the RCA (and other) recordings? I’ve been curious about how good the remasterings are.
    I no longer have the old ones to compare, but I did check the first couple ones I purchased and heard enough improvement I no longer check each one......I just buy





    BTW this applies only to new Sony/RCA series, some of the recent Decca, EMI, Warner releases have new artwork but are not new remasters just repackaged previous releases

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    Senior Member MAS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DarkAngel View Post
    I no longer have the old ones to compare, but I did check the first couple ones I purchased and heard enough improvement I no longer check each one......I just buy




    BTW this applies only to new Sony/RCA series, some of the recent Decca, EMI, Warner releases have new artwork but are not new remasters just repackaged previous releases
    Thanks, RCA always had good sound. If it’s better now, wow!

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    Senior Member DarkAngel's Avatar
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    Cetra has two Aida offerings, this one featuring an Aida previously unknown to me Maria Curtis Verna who is an American singer, she appears in other Cetra offerings like Don Carlo and Un Ballo.............


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    Senior Member MAS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DarkAngel View Post


    Cetra has two Aida offerings, this one featuring an Aida previously unknown to me Maria Curtis Verna who is an American singer, she appears in other Cetra offerings like Don Carlo and Un Ballo.............

    I don’t care much for her, though she’s quite good but I find her a bit dull.

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    Senior Member DarkAngel's Avatar
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    This is my sleeper Aida, or best one most people have not heard. This is a 61 live recording but sound is so good you will mistake it for a studio recording. Tucci was active in early 1960s and performed with all the great singers/conductors, but got lost in the shuffle with so many singing legends back then......under $5 used at Amazon USA give it a try

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