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I actually read most of this thread. I have very little to add, I am not sure I a have listened so carefully as some posters, no one mentioned the Dal Monte/Gigli version, which is very famous for Dal Monte's technique. I haven't listened to it through or carefully except I can say Gigli is fabulous in the role, the equal of Bergonzi.

Callas is shattering and I find hard listening to other versions in proximity to her. The Olivero recording is frustrating and magnificent of course, but its sound so poor it really is more academic.

RE Tebaldi, I completely agree about her Butterfly, I really find it of no consequence on record compared to Callas BUT I don't think Tebaldi was well-served by her record company. The conducting in her versions is slack by comparison to Karajan, it just isn't as exciting and what this is due to I am not sure, balance perhaps, engineering, tempos. One of the many reasons I say Tebaldi was so poorly served is Tosca: obviously Callas owns that role in her studio versions and live performances. But Tebaldi under Mitropoulos live at the Met is a revelation, a magnificent performance, as is her performance under Molinari-Pradelli opposite Gobbi. I can produce example after example of this. Sometimes I think Tebaldi was a great soprano inside a mediocre soprano, struggling to escape.

The only singer I would mention who hasn't been mentioned is Kabaivanska. There are multiple recordings of her in this role and several video versions. and in most of them she is magnificent.
 

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Discussion Starter · #43 ·
I actually read most of this thread. I have very little to add, I am not sure I a have listened so carefully as some posters, no one mentioned the Dal Monte/Gigli version, which is very famous for Dal Monte's technique. I haven't listened to it through or carefully except I can say Gigli is fabulous in the role, the equal of Bergonzi.

Callas is shattering and I find hard listening to other versions in proximity to her. The Olivero recording is frustrating and magnificent of course, but its sound so poor it really is more academic.

RE Tebaldi, I completely agree about her Butterfly, I really find it of no consequence on record compared to Callas BUT I don't think Tebaldi was well-served by her record company. The conducting in her versions is slack by comparison to Karajan, it just isn't as exciting and what this is due to I am not sure, balance perhaps, engineering, tempos. One of the many reasons I say Tebaldi was so poorly served is Tosca: obviously Callas owns that role in her studio versions and live performances. But Tebaldi under Mitropoulos live at the Met is a revelation, a magnificent performance, as is her performance under Molinari-Pradelli opposite Gobbi. I can produce example after example of this. Sometimes I think Tebaldi was a great soprano inside a mediocre soprano, struggling to escape.

The only singer I would mention who hasn't been mentioned is Kabaivanska. There are multiple recordings of her in this role and several video versions. and in most of them she is magnificent.
I saw Kabaivanska live in her final performances as Butterfly at Verona. She owned the role and it was clear she had been singing it for years. Her voice was very unsteady, but it didn't matter as she WAS Butterfly for that night I saw her. That's the reason I have her Butterfly from Verona on DVD, but she doesn't quite have the same stage committment at that point in her career which was ten years (at least) before I saw her.

N.
 

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Totally agree. One of the greatest opera sets ever recorded.
It’s great if you think that it’s just a gorgeous score that should sound gorgeous. I happen to think it’s a bit more than that and my favourites are Karajan’s first effort, Gavazzeni and Barbirolli. I feel the same about most of Karajan’s Decca opera recordings, to be honest.
 
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