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Thread: Listening Focus: Verdi

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    Senior Member LouisMasterMusic's Avatar
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    Default Listening Focus: Verdi

    Hi all

    I would like to start a ''Verdi Challenge'' of listening to all of the operas. I was inspired after having seen another user on this site undertake one. Advice on recordings (both CDS and DVDS) would be helpful. I like to take things slowly, which I think is particularly important when exploring Verdi, so that one appreciates his musical and dramatic understanding as his operatic career progressed. I also don't like to get a ''listening overload'' all at one time. Here are the Verdi operas I already own (not in order of composition, sorry).

    1) Falstaff: Falstaff.jpg and also Falstaff2.gif
    (I am thinking of purchasing this DVD: Falstaff3.jpg)

    2) La Traviata: La Traviata.jpg and also La Traviata2.jpg

    3) Simon Boccanegra: Tito Gobbi (Boccanegra) Boris Christoff (Fiesco), Victoria De Los Angeles (Amelia), Giuseppe Campora (Gabriele). Rome Opera House Chorus and Orchestra/Gabriele Santini.

    4) Nabucco: Matteo Manuguerra (Nabucco), Veriano Luchetti (Ismaele), Nicolai Ghiaurov (Zaccaria), Renata Scotto (Abigaille), Elena Obraztsova (Fenena). Ambrosian Opera Chorus, Philharmonia Orchestra/Riccardo Muti. (I also own two DVDs, one from La Scala with Bruson and Dimitrova, again under Muti, and the other from the Metropolitan Opera, with Juan Pons and Maria Guleghina, under James Levine).

    5) Il Trovatore: Leontyne Price (Leonora), Placido Domingo (Manrico), Sherril Milnes (Il Conte Di Luna), Fiorenza Cossotto (Azucena). Ambrosian Opera Chorus, New Philharmonia Orchestra/Zubin Mehta. (I also own a DVD from the Metropolitan Opera with Sondra Radvanovsky, Marcelo Alvarez and Dmitri Hvorostovsky, under Marco Armiliato).

    6) Aida: Zinka Milanov (Aida), Jussi Bjorling (Radames), Fedora Barbieri (Amneris), Leonard Warren (Amonasro), Boris Christoff (Ramfis). Rome Opera House Chorus and Orchestra/Jonel Perlea.

    7) Rigoletto: Robert Merrill (Rigoletto), Jussi Bjorling (Il Duca Di Mantova), Roberta Peters (Gilda), Anna Maria Rota (Maddalena), Giorgo Tozzi (Sparafucile). Rome Opera Orchestra and Chorus/Jonel Perlea.

    When providing recommendations, please keep in mind the following:

    1) Admiration for tenors like Carlo Bergonzi, Nicolai Gedda, Alfredo Kraus, Jose Carreras and Placido Domingo. (Calleja and Kaufmann are also top-draw for me).

    2) Preference for classic productions over more modern ones on DVD. Having said that, I have read positive reviews of recent productions. I also like staged rather than filmed opera.

    3) I'd like to try maximum three operas at a time and am particularly fascinated by early Verdi, after having read about it.

    4) Please also include recital discs of Verdi arias\duets. I know of ones by the likes of Jonas Kaufmann, Joseph Calleja, Krassimira Stoyanova (a voice I’m not familiar with), Sonya Yoncheva (not so sure!) and two by Placido Domingo (one as a tenor and one as a baritone).

    5) I don’t listen to Herbert Von Karajan. I have reasons which are not appropriate for this forum as they center on politics.

    I hope this isn't too overwhelming for u to help me with. I'm bracing myself for the confrontations I may face being that I'm a slow listener.
    Last edited by LouisMasterMusic; May-29-2018 at 23:09.

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    Senior Member Granate's Avatar
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    I have already made lots of Verdi challenges, some more extensive than others.

    That you own so many of them on CD is excellent. I've been collecting many of them since January this year, and all of them were reviewed first so there's no dud for me:





    Give a shot to all of these on Stream or CD, especially Erede's Otello from Japan.

    Other versions you should try:

    Rigoletto Giulini (WPO is superb)
    Rigoletto Gavanezzi (Alfredo Kraus as the Count)
    Aida Karajan EMI (Carreras is an aquired taste here, very idiomatic)
    Aida Muti EMI (Superbly sung, Muti probably too simplistic in the score and the music)
    Il Trovatore Mehta (I second you on that)
    Il Trovatore Karajan 1st
    Don Carlo Solti (Bergonzi and company almost unbearably dramatic)
    Macbeth Abbado (Stellar cast in great package, although I have to do a more serious challenge with this opera)
    La Traviata Prêtre (Bergonzi as a competent Alfredo; my recent favourite for Caballé)
    La Traviata Kleiber (Patchy but incredibly well-sung. Domingo is spoiled by cuts)
    La Traviata Ghione Lisbon (Callas & Kraus in great mono sound make scepticals like me surrender)
    Attila Muti (I prefer it to Gardelli)
    La Forza del Destino Mitropoulos (Live mono recording in the Wiener Staatsoper, incandescent singing)

    I don't know about others. I'm into French opera these days.
    Last edited by Granate; May-29-2018 at 23:14.

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    I have CD recordings of all the Verdi operas, except Oberto, Jérusalem (the re-working of I Lombardi) and Aroldo. the re-working of Stiffelio.

    When I started replacing LPs with CDs, I had decided that I would have only one representation of any work, but gradually I added a few others, because I wanted them for one reason or another. Live Callas is different from studio Callas, so I often end up with lots of Callas performances. Both Vickers and Domingo are a must for Otello, then there are all the different versions of Don Carlo.


    Un Giorno di Regno - Pagliughi, Cozza, Oncina, Capecchi, Bruscantini; Simonetto *
    - Cossotto, Norman, Carreras, Wixell, Ganzarolli; Gardelli
    Nabucco - Callas, Bechi, Sinimberghi, Neroni; Gui (live 1949) * (if you can put up with the sound)
    - Souliotis, Gobbi, Prevedi, Cava; Gardelli
    I Lombardi - Deutekom, Domingo, Raimondi; Gardelli
    Ernani - Price, Bergonzi, Sereni, Flagello; Schippers
    I due Foscari - Ricciarelli, Carreras, Cappuccilli, Ramey
    Giovanna d'Arco - Caballé, Domingo, Milnes; Levine
    Alzira - Cotrubas, Araiza, Bruson; Gardelli
    Attila - Deutekom, Bergonzi, Milnes, Raimondi; Gardelli
    Macbeth - Callas, Mascherini, Penno, Tajo; De Sabata (live 1952) *
    - Verrett, Cappuccilli, Domingo, Ghiaurov; Abbado
    I Masnadieri - Caballé, Bergonzi, Cappuccilli, Raimondi; Gardelli
    Il Corsaro - Caballé, Norman Carreras; Gardelli
    La Battaglia di Legnano - Ricciarelli, Carreras, Manuguerra, Ghiuselev; Gardelli
    Luisa Miller - Moffo, Bergonzi, Verrett, MacNeil, Flagello, Tozzi; Cleva
    Stiffelio - Sass, Carreras, Manuguerra, Ganzarolli; Gardelli
    Rigoletto - Callas, Di Stefano, Campolonghi; Mugnai (live 1952)
    - Callas, Di Stefano, Gobbi, Zaccaria; Serafin *
    Il Trovatore - Callas, Di Stefano, Barbieri, Panerai, Zaccaria; Karajan
    La Traviata - Callas, Albanese, Savarese; Santini
    - Callas. Di Stefano, Bastianini; Giulini (Live 1955)
    - Callas, Kraus, Sereni; Ghione (Live 1958)
    - Callas, Valletti, Zanasi; Rescigno (Live 1958) *
    - Stratas, Wunderlich, Prey; Patané (Live 1965)
    - Cotrubas, Domingo, Milnes; Kleiber
    I Vespri Siciliani - Callas, Kokolios-Bardi, Mascherini, Christoff; Erich Kleiber (live 1951) *
    - Arroyo, Domingo, Milnes, Raimondi; Levine
    Simon Boccanegra - De Los Angeles, Campora, Gobbi, Christoff; Santini
    - Freni, Carreras, Milnes, Ghiaurov; Abbado *
    Un Ballo in Maschera - Callas, Barbieri, Di Stefano, Gobbi; Votto *
    - Callas, Simionato, Di Stefano, Bastianini; Gavazzeni (Live 1957)
    La Forza del Destino - Callas, Nicolai, Tucker, Tagliabue; Serafin
    Don Carlo - 5 Act version in Italian - Caballé, Verrett, Domingo, Milnes, Raimondi; Giulini *
    Don Carlo - 4 Act version in Italian - Freni, Baltsa, Carreras, Cappuccilli, Ghiaurov; Karajan
    Don Carlos - 5 Act version in French - Ricicarelli, Valentini-Terrari, Domingo, Nucci, Raimondi; Abbado
    Aida - Callas, Dominguez, Del Monaco, Taddei; De Fabritiis (live 1951)
    - Callas, Simionato, Baum, Walters; Barbirolli (Live 1953)
    - Callas, Barbieri, Tucker, Gobbi; Serafin *
    - Freni, Baltsa, Carreras, Cappuccilli; Karajan
    - Harteros, Semenchuk, Kaufmann, Tézier; Pappano
    Otello - Vickers, Rysanek, Gobbi; Serafin *
    - Domingo, Scotto, Milnes; Levine
    Falstaff - Gobbi, Schwarzkopf, Panerai, Moffo, Alva; Karajan

    I also have 2 recordings of the Requiem - Schwarzkopf, Ludwig, Gedda, Ghiaurov; Giulini * and Scotto, Baltsa, Luchetti, Nesterenko; Muti

    It's a shame you don't listen to Karajan, because I really think his versions of Il Trovatore and Falstaff are the best ones out there.
    Last edited by GregMitchell; May-30-2018 at 13:28.
    "It's not enough to have a beautiful voice." Maria Callas

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    Senior Member LouisMasterMusic's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=GregMitchell;1455736]I have CD recordings of all the Verdi operas, except Oberto, Jérusalem (the re-working of I Lombardi) and Aroldo. the re-working of Stiffelio.

    When I started replacing LPs with CDs, I had decided that I would have only one representation of any work, but gradually I added a few others, because I wanted them for one reason or another. Live Callas is different from studio Callas, so I often end up with lots of Callas performances. Both Vickers and Domingo are a must for Otello, then there are all the different versions of Don Carlo.


    Un Giorno di Regno - Pagliughi, Cozza, Oncina, Capecchi, Bruscantini; Simonetto *
    - Cossotto, Norman, Carreras, Wixell, Ganzarolli; Gardelli
    Nabucco - Callas, Bechi, Sinimberghi, Neroni; Gui (live 1949) * (if you can put up with the sound)
    - Souliotis, Gobbi, Prevedi, Cava; Gardelli
    I Lombardi - Deutekom, Domingo, Raimondi; Gardelli
    Ernani - Price, Bergonzi, Sereni, Flagello; Schippers
    I due Foscari - Ricciarelli, Carreras, Cappuccilli, Ramey
    Giovanna d'Arco - Caballé, Domingo, Milnes; Levine
    Alzira - Cotrubas, Araiza, Bruson; Gardelli
    Attila - Deutekom, Bergonzi, Milnes, Raimondi; Gardelli
    Macbeth - Callas, Mascherini, Penno, Tajo; De Sabata (live 1952) *
    - Verrett, Cappuccilli, Domingo, Ghiaurov; Abbado
    I Masnadieri - Caballé, Bergonzi, Cappuccilli, Raimondi; Gardelli
    Il Corsaro - Caballé, Norman Carreras; Gardelli
    La Battaglia di Legnano - Ricciarelli, Carreras, Manuguerra, Ghiuselev; Gardelli
    Luisa Miller - Moffo, Bergonzi, Verrett, MacNeil, Flagello, Tozzi; Cleva
    Stiffelio - Sass, Carreras, Manuguerra, Ganzarolli; Gardelli
    Rigoletto - Callas, Di Stefano, Campolonghi; Mugnai (live 1952)
    - Callas, Di Stefano, Gobbi, Zaccaria; Serafin *
    Il Trovatore - Callas, Di Stefano, Barbieri, Panerai, Zaccaria; Karajan
    La Traviata - Callas, Albanese, Savarese; Santini
    - Callas. Di Stefano, Bastianini; Giulini (Live 1955)
    - Callas, Kraus, Sereni; Ghione (Live 1958)
    - Callas, Valletti, Zanasi; Rescigno (Live 1958) *
    - Stratas, Wunderlich, Prey; Patané (Live 1965)
    - Cotrubas, Domingo, Milnes; Kleiber
    I Vespri Siciliani - Callas, Kokolios-Bardi, Mascherini, Christoff; Erich Kleiber (live 1951) *
    - Arroyo, Domingo, Milnes, Raimondi; Levine
    Simon Boccanegra - De Los Angeles, Campora, Gobbi, Christoff; Santini
    - Freni, Carreras, Milnes, Ghiaurov; Abbado *
    Un Ballo in Maschera - Callas, Barbieri, Di Stefano, Gobbi; Votto *
    - Callas, Simionato, Di Stefano, Bastianini; Gavazzeni (Live 1957)
    La Forza del Destino - Callas, Nicolai, Tucker, Tagliabue; Serafin
    Don Carlo - 5 Act version in Italian - Caballé, Verrett, Domingo, Milnes, Raimondi; Giulini *
    Don Carlo - 4 Act version in Italian - Freni, Baltsa, Carreras, Cappuccilli, Ghiaurov; Karajan
    Don Carlos - 5 Act version in French - Ricicarelli, Valentini-Terrari, Domingo, Nucci, Raimondi; Abbado
    Aida - Callas, Dominguez, Del Monaco, Taddei; De Fabritiis (live 1951)
    - Callas, Simionato, Baum, Walters; Barbirolli (Live 1953)
    - Callas, Barbieri, Tucker, Gobbi; Serafin *
    - Freni, Baltsa, Carreras, Cappuccilli; Karajan
    - Harteros, Semenchuk, Kaufmann, Tézier; Pappano
    Otello - Vickers, Rysanek, Gobbi; Serafin *
    - Domingo, Scotto, Milnes; Levine
    Falstaff - Gobbi, Schwarzkopf, Panerai, Moffo, Alva; Karajan

    I also have 2 recordings of the Requiem - Schwarzkopf, Ludwig, Gedda, Ghiaurov; Giulini * and Scotto, Baltsa, Luchetti, Nesterenko; Muti
    Last edited by LouisMasterMusic; Jun-03-2018 at 21:30.

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    [QUOTE=LouisMasterMusic;1457754]
    Quote Originally Posted by GregMitchell View Post
    I have CD recordings of all the Verdi operas, except Oberto, Jérusalem (the re-working of I Lombardi) and Aroldo. the re-working of Stiffelio.

    When I started replacing LPs with CDs, I had decided that I would have only one representation of any work, but gradually I added a few others, because I wanted them for one reason or another. Live Callas is different from studio Callas, so I often end up with lots of Callas performances. Both Vickers and Domingo are a must for Otello, then there are all the different versions of Don Carlo.


    Un Giorno di Regno - Pagliughi, Cozza, Oncina, Capecchi, Bruscantini; Simonetto *
    - Cossotto, Norman, Carreras, Wixell, Ganzarolli; Gardelli
    Nabucco - Callas, Bechi, Sinimberghi, Neroni; Gui (live 1949) * (if you can put up with the sound)
    - Souliotis, Gobbi, Prevedi, Cava; Gardelli
    I Lombardi - Deutekom, Domingo, Raimondi; Gardelli
    Ernani - Price, Bergonzi, Sereni, Flagello; Schippers
    I due Foscari - Ricciarelli, Carreras, Cappuccilli, Ramey
    Giovanna d'Arco - Caballé, Domingo, Milnes; Levine
    Alzira - Cotrubas, Araiza, Bruson; Gardelli
    Attila - Deutekom, Bergonzi, Milnes, Raimondi; Gardelli
    Macbeth - Callas, Mascherini, Penno, Tajo; De Sabata (live 1952) *
    - Verrett, Cappuccilli, Domingo, Ghiaurov; Abbado
    I Masnadieri - Caballé, Bergonzi, Cappuccilli, Raimondi; Gardelli
    Il Corsaro - Caballé, Norman Carreras; Gardelli
    La Battaglia di Legnano - Ricciarelli, Carreras, Manuguerra, Ghiuselev; Gardelli
    Luisa Miller - Moffo, Bergonzi, Verrett, MacNeil, Flagello, Tozzi; Cleva
    Stiffelio - Sass, Carreras, Manuguerra, Ganzarolli; Gardelli
    Rigoletto - Callas, Di Stefano, Campolonghi; Mugnai (live 1952)
    - Callas, Di Stefano, Gobbi, Zaccaria; Serafin *
    Il Trovatore - Callas, Di Stefano, Barbieri, Panerai, Zaccaria; Karajan
    La Traviata - Callas, Albanese, Savarese; Santini
    - Callas. Di Stefano, Bastianini; Giulini (Live 1955)
    - Callas, Kraus, Sereni; Ghione (Live 1958)
    - Callas, Valletti, Zanasi; Rescigno (Live 1958) *
    - Stratas, Wunderlich, Prey; Patané (Live 1965)
    - Cotrubas, Domingo, Milnes; Kleiber
    I Vespri Siciliani - Callas, Kokolios-Bardi, Mascherini, Christoff; Erich Kleiber (live 1951) *
    - Arroyo, Domingo, Milnes, Raimondi; Levine
    Simon Boccanegra - De Los Angeles, Campora, Gobbi, Christoff; Santini
    - Freni, Carreras, Milnes, Ghiaurov; Abbado *
    Un Ballo in Maschera - Callas, Barbieri, Di Stefano, Gobbi; Votto *
    - Callas, Simionato, Di Stefano, Bastianini; Gavazzeni (Live 1957)
    La Forza del Destino - Callas, Nicolai, Tucker, Tagliabue; Serafin
    Don Carlo - 5 Act version in Italian - Caballé, Verrett, Domingo, Milnes, Raimondi; Giulini *
    Don Carlo - 4 Act version in Italian - Freni, Baltsa, Carreras, Cappuccilli, Ghiaurov; Karajan
    Don Carlos - 5 Act version in French - Ricicarelli, Valentini-Terrari, Domingo, Nucci, Raimondi; Abbado
    Aida - Callas, Dominguez, Del Monaco, Taddei; De Fabritiis (live 1951)
    - Callas, Simionato, Baum, Walters; Barbirolli (Live 1953)
    - Callas, Barbieri, Tucker, Gobbi; Serafin *
    - Freni, Baltsa, Carreras, Cappuccilli; Karajan
    - Harteros, Semenchuk, Kaufmann, Tézier; Pappano
    Otello - Vickers, Rysanek, Gobbi; Serafin *
    - Domingo, Scotto, Milnes; Levine
    Falstaff - Gobbi, Schwarzkopf, Panerai, Moffo, Alva; Karajan

    I also have 2 recordings of the Requiem - Schwarzkopf, Ludwig, Gedda, Ghiaurov; Giulini * and Scotto, Baltsa, Luchetti, Nesterenko; Muti
    In the course of my ''Listening Focus'' of Verdi,, is it necessary to listen to all of the operas chronologically, or can I pick and choose? The thing is, I have recordings and DVDS of some of the operas allready and I don't know how long I'll have to wait for my next orders. Also, aat what point should I investigate the Requiem, after all the operas, or in the middle? If someone can please give me answers to these questions, I'd be grateful. Thanks in advance!

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    [QUOTE=LouisMasterMusic;1457756]
    Quote Originally Posted by LouisMasterMusic View Post

    In the course of my ''Listening Focus'' of Verdi,, is it necessary to listen to all of the operas chronologically, or can I pick and choose? The thing is, I have recordings and DVDS of some of the operas allready and I don't know how long I'll have to wait for my next orders. Also, aat what point should I investigate the Requiem, after all the operas, or in the middle? If someone can please give me answers to these questions, I'd be grateful. Thanks in advance!
    If you want to listen to the Requiem, place it more or less after Simon Boccanegra, Don Carlo and Macbeth, and before Aida and Otello. Mind that my two favourite Requiems, Solti WPO and Giulini PO, are terribly flawed with distortions.

    I never listened to Verdi operas cronologically to enjoy them more. His repertoire is very prolific for an opera composer. You could do the most popular of them as I did and go little by little exploring the minor ones. I haven't tried Luisa Miller yet and I'm not keen on Falstaff.

    His first hit is Nabucco, and some others like Il Vespri Siciliani and Attila share Nationalistic topics. Macbeth is one of the first intercourses into the Dramatism he would make history with. I've heard good praise of Ernani and Luisa Miller too. In the list of GregMitchell, all the operas from Rigoletto are important to listen to in his discography.

    But how much are you going to order? Can you afford them on CD? For example, the Monaco Otello in stereo you can see in the picture has the ASIN as B0027XKT3Q. It's not easy to find. I dislike both the Serafin and the two Karajan Otello recordings (for musical reasons wink wink).

    I don't know what else to tell you. Ours is a tough and slow job.

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    Senior Member LouisMasterMusic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Granate;1457765

    If you want to listen to the Requiem, place it more or less after Simon Boccanegra, Don Carlo and Macbeth, and before Aida and Otello. Mind that my two favourite Requiems, [B
    Solti WPO[/B] and Giulini PO, are terribly flawed with distortions.

    I never listened to Verdi operas cronologically to enjoy them more. His repertoire is very prolific for an opera composer. You could do the most popular of them as I did and go little by little exploring the minor ones. I haven't tried Luisa Miller yet and I'm not keen on Falstaff.

    His first hit is Nabucco, and some others like Il Vespri Siciliani and Attila share Nationalistic topics. Macbeth is one of the first intercourses into the Dramatism he would make history with. I've heard good praise of Ernani and Luisa Miller too. In the list of GregMitchell, all the operas from Rigoletto are important to listen to in his discography.

    But how much are you going to order? Can you afford them on CD? For example, the Monaco Otello in stereo you can see in the picture has the ASIN as B0027XKT3Q. It's not easy to find. I dislike both the Serafin and the two Karajan Otello recordings (for musical reasons wink wink).

    I don't know what else to tell you. Ours is a tough and slow job.
    Hi. Thanks for this advice. I tend to make purchases a few operas at a time. I have Un Giorno Di Regno, I Due Foscari and Ernani coming, but I already have Nabucco and most other Verdi operas in my collection. Nabucco happens to be one of my favourite operas anyway, so I’ll probably start with what I know before moving on. Will try and remember to purchase the Requiem after Simon Boccanegra, Don Carlo and Macbeth. I only like to order a small number at a time, otherwise it becomes a listening overload.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LouisMasterMusic View Post
    Hi. Thanks for this advice. I tend to make purchases a few operas at a time. I have Un Giorno Di Regno, I Due Foscari and Ernani coming, but I already have Nabucco and most other Verdi operas in my collection. Nabucco happens to be one of my favourite operas anyway, so I’ll probably start with what I know before moving on. Will try and remember to purchase the Requiem after Simon Boccanegra, Don Carlo and Macbeth. I only like to order a small number at a time, otherwise it becomes a listening overload.



    If you can afford the price on CD, haven't you thought of buying one of these EMI boxes? The Great Verdi Operas include almost every Verdi Muti recording except his excellent Aida, but the packaging is very cheap. The Complete Verdi recordings by Muti box has excellent packaging, it has one Requiem and a DVD, but it's quite expensive compared to the past year.

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    If its Verdi you want, I think you should have at least one recording by Toscanini.

    He came to prominence when he was thrust out from the Orchestra, aged 19, to Conduct Aida when they rebelled and ejected the original choice. As ever this was from memory despite never having prepared as Conductor. Later he returned to the Orchestra at La Scala to play Cello at the Premier of Otello. Finally, his last ever trip to the recording studio was to ‘improve’ a few sections of an otherwise live for Radio, Aida.

    MY choice: His Otello explodes from the speakers and is a thing of theatrical wonder. I also have his Requiem and Aida.

    Listening to Toscanini you are only one step from the man himself. Enjoy.
    Last edited by Belowpar; Jun-04-2018 at 15:47.

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