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Subject: Tebaldi Aida under Karajan
From: Scott Grunow <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:[log in to unmask]
Date:Sun, 25 Sep 2016 14:03:17 -0400

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I had to work at job number two yesterday, and to supposedly relieve the tedium, I found the complete Aida with Tebaldi, conducted by Karajan, with Bergonzi, Simionato, McNeil et al. on youtube. I remember many years ago the Penguin Guide to CDs ranked this recording number one, saying her "creamy tone color rides the phrases beautifully" and praises her "detailed imagination." In lyrical moments the mid-range, yes, but I actually find her sounding tired and unimaginative. In the final duet, Bergonzi is elegant, while Tebaldi is mostly good in the middle range, but the B flats are hard and screamy. Quite the difference from her first recording with Del Monaco, where she is often peerless (except for the high C in O patria mia). Simionato also sounds tired and under par, only rising to the occasion and her usual quality in the Judgment Scene. I felt sorry for the basically lyrical Bergonzi, having to sing his big moments in Act I so slowly (during the first act I kept saying in general and in parts of the Triumphal Scene, pick up the tempo, it feels like someone keep trying to lift barbells or drag a safe across a floor), but he is intelligent and nuanced and doesn't force or scream like Carreras in the later Karajan recording. Overall, disappointing. I wish Toscannini could have conducted this recording with the same cast but a younger Tebaldi. Overall,disappointing. 

BTW, Simionato is a total knockout on the Cetra recording with Mancini. Vocally and dramatically. 


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