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Subject: Re: DG vs GALA Trovatore sound/Callas M. Lescau and Trovatore
From: Marco Schmid <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:[log in to unmask]
Date:Fri, 14 Apr 2000 00:38:05 EDT
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In a message dated 4/13/00 7:16:29 PM Eastern Daylight Time, Mrcshmd13 writes:

<< n a message dated 4/13/00 6:08:39 PM Eastern Daylight Time,
[log in to unmask] writes:

 << I could use some suggestions on the following recordings:

  I have been told that the DG live Il Trovatore with Price and Corelli has
much better sound than the Gala (almost studio quality).  Is this true?

  Also, how would you rate the Callas' Manon Lescaut and Il Trovatore studio
recordings.  I am a fan but I have yet to hear, much less purchase these two.
   >>

 Hi Michael and fellow listers,

 I do not have either the DG or Gala recording of that Salzburg Trovatore but
the Hunt/Arkadia recording so I am afraid I cannot make a recommendation to
the better sounding one. I can give several thoughts on the Callas Trovatore
and Manon Lescaut.
 Manon Lescaut was one of the 4 roles Callas never sang onstage. She was
still in very good voice in 1957 even though there is one or two that are not
quite perfect, but who cares about perfection when one has the detailed
singing and interpretation which Callas gives us here. I feel that no one has
done as much with the role and the developement of her Manon from the 1 Act
to the 4 Act is amazing. Only Albanese in the live recording from 1956 can
achieve (albeit on a different level) what Callas could here. Di Stefano is
in very good form too and unlike his Manrico (which taxed him) this role was
just right for him. What passion he brings to the role and the voice sounds
beautiful. This was also probably one of his last good years. Serafin also
shapes the orchestra in a magnifcent way. Althought not a big Puccini fan I
must admit to when listening to Manon I will choose either Callas or Albanese
for their detailed shaping and phrasing of this role.
 The 1956 Von Karajan Trovatore is also a very good studio recording even
though Di Stefano lacks the voice for Manrico and is taxed at some crucial
moments. Yet he is in very good form and brings lots of passion to the role.
Not the ideal Manrico but it works. Callas is in peak form and this will be
the last of her Trovatore's which is a shame since I find no one has achieved
what she did with this role. Her first recorded Trovatore we have is from
Mexico City 1950 and we also have a 1951 Naples and 1953 La Scala
performance. In all of them she is in glorious voice and it is difficult to
say which one is better since they all have their pluses (and very few
minueses). Still in excellent form in the studio recording it is a safe
choice for a first Trovatore recommendation. Solely for her Leonora I lean
towards either the Naples or La Scala performances but here you have to
suffer through some singers which are far from perfect. Their are few which
have sung the role the way she did with all the embellishments that Verdi
wrote for Leonora. Trills, staccati and the Verdi line are all in place and
she sings Leonora as a grand woman who knows passion. What a gorgeous Verdi
line she sings in the convent scene. The Von Karajan studio recording also is
I believe the first recording to have the "Tu vedrai" in the tower scene. It
is a major bonus to have Callas sing this for the first time. Panerai sings a
very noble Conte and Barbiere is the Gypsy. How fortunate were the fifties
with Barbieri, Simionato, Stignani (for the first half) and Nicolai all
singing the mezzo Verdi roles. And those are just the ones who pop into my
mind now. The were all true mezzos who could sing all the Verdi mezzo roles
the way we rarely hear them today (except for D Zajick).
 Hope this helps and all the best,
 Marco Schmid >>

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