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Subject: Re: Luisa Miller recordings
From: Bob Rideout <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Bob Rideout <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Sat, 22 Jul 2017 19:36:26 -0400
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For the record, I loved the RCA recording with Moffo et al when I
first heard it, and I bought it as soon as it apoeared on CD some
twenty years later. It is the only recording of the opera that I own
and it has served both me and the composer well for over fifty
years.

Les, find me any opera recording, including the De Sabata/Callas Tosca,
that has received uequivocal. unanimous praise. It doesn't exist.

Critical opinion has not changed, your selective memory notwithstanding.
It was as highly regarded, in general, then, as it is now.

If I were going to trash a recording, I would at least remember the
name of the critic who supposedly dismissed it.

P.S. No role requires a Callas, especially those that she never sang, though
she invested those she sang, mostly, with an indelible stamp of magnificence
hardly matched and rarely equalled. Irrelevant!

I would suggest that before you send nonsense to this forum again, you
take the time to at least listen to the recording about which you are making
judgments!

Bob



On Saturday, July 22, 2017, Les Mitnick <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> Hi, Everybody:
>     It amazes me how critical opinion changes, and how many recordings or
> individual performances, which were initially (at the time of their
> release) lambasted to the dirt, are now recognized as being one of the best
> of their breed.
>     I happened to find some very old issues of High Fidelity magazine
> (which has been out of print for decades) on shelves in the basement of my
> late uncle's house, and I went through quite a few of them (until the dust
> became unbearable and I had to stop).  There was a "new" review of the
> Moffo/Bergonzi/MacNeil recording of "Louisa Miller" on RCA (vinyl, of
> course).  I don't remember who the critic was (could it have been Conrad
> Osborne?).  At any rate, Moffo's performance was savaged in pieces.  The
> reviewer stated that Moffo was singing a role that required a Callas, and
> that she was stretching her voice out of bounds and producing ugly notes
> from start to finish. He said that her singing was stressed, unpleasant,
> and that she should never have been engaged for the recording.   He offered
> Leontyne Price as the only possible alternative for this role.  Bergonzi
> received positive reviews, but MacNeill's singing was rated as "as bad as
> Moffo's".  Yet NOW the recording is felt
>   by many to be the best of the bunch.  I never heard the recording
> (though I intend to), and lived without the opera until the
> Caballe/Pavarotti/Milnes recording came out a decade later.  I admired
> their singing, but had a very difficult picturing either Caballe or
> Pavarotti appearing in these roles onstage.  But that's beside the point.
>     I think that sometimes WE ourselves drastically change our opinions of
> recorded operatic performances.  I spent my childhood and early teenage
> years listening to the Toscanini Traviata.  What did I know then?  Very
> little.  Then, of course, I acquired the versions of Tebaldi, Moffo,
> Scotto, Sutherland, Cortrubas, and of course Callas. All are vastly
> different from Toscanini's (though some are incredibly slow and plodding by
> comparison), and it took me a long time to get used to these more recent
> recordings.  I also found some of the live performances that I saw in my
> adult years (some good ones, and a couple of very bad ones) to be inferior
> to what I heard on the recordings.
>     Now, after close to forty years, I'm back to Toscanini's 1946
> recording (on a great newly imported pressing from Pristine) and I find
> that I am astounded at what he makes of "Traviata".  The recording is
> surely controversial (as it always has been), but it does she one thing:
> Our OWN tastes change, our senses change, and sometimes we reverse our
> opinions to the virtual opposite upon a revisit.
>     So ----------- as they say, "Who's on first base?"
> > On July 22, 2017 at 3:52 PM R PRADA <[log in to unmask] <javascript:;>>
> wrote:
> >
> >
> > I listened to a few recordings. A colleague lent me the Moffo, Bergonzi,
> macNeill   recording and I loved it. Moffo was absolutely wonderful and
> Bergonzi was as usual as well . MacNeill I remember as being a. It rough at
> times but over all, very good.
> > It is a matter of opinion but Moffo captivated me.
> > RP
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