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Subject: 2 more CD operas from my library
From: Jack Hall <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Jack Hall <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Fri, 23 Oct 1998 09:07:30 -0500

TEXT/PLAIN (40 lines)

I took home another of the opera CD's I am cataloging: the live 1960 Salzburg
Don Giovanni, conducted by von Karajan, with Leontyne Price (Donna Anna),
Elisabeth Schwarzkopf (Donna Elvira, natch, how many times did she record
it), Eberhard W"achter (Giovanni), Walter Berry (Leporello), Cesare Valletti
(Ottavio), Graciella Sciutti (Zerlina), and Rolando Panerei (Masetto).
I listened to my favorite selections, not the entire set, and enjoyed them
for the most part very much. My main interest was Price as Donna Anna:
Or sai chi l'onore was excellent (as is her recording on the Prima Donna set,
as I recall). She relishes the role and does an excellent job of those
quick little downward runs that add drama to the aria. Non mi dir doesn't
fare nearly so well, but then it doesn't for most of the sopranos I've
heard on recordings. It's a long, tiring scena requiring great control and
fortitude, and ends by requiring terrific colaratura, and, to top it off,
comes near the end of the opera. She is pretty much overparted, but the
performance as a whole by Price is enjoyable. I was surprised to note that
her high notes are rather thin in this performance. Sciutti was delightful
in Batti, batti, and W"achter particularly impressive in the champagne aria.
He's sufficiently potent sounding throughout. One of my frustrations in most
Don Giovannis is not being able to tell Giovanni and Leporello apart in their
scenes together; I guess it's just my problem distinguishing different
bass voices. Without closely following the libretto, I just can't tell who's
singing what.
I think this has become my favorite Giovanni, though. I like Karajanls
conducting well enough. Don Giovanni has fared well on recordings in general,
I think (certainly better than Figaro: Erich Kleiber is the only one thing
I think is anywhere near the mark).
The other recording I cataloged is Meyerbeer's Robert le diable, live from
Paris, July 2, 1985. It is issued on "Legato", from Lyric Distribution
Service. The three main singers are June Anderson, Alain Vanzo, and Samuel
Ramey. It also includes a couple of tenor numbers sung by Chris Merritt
in New York in 1988--apparently added by Meyerbeer later to be sung by
Mario (Cher and Madonna didn't pioneer having one name, after all!)
Meyerbeer is not my fach, so I'm not planning to listen to it, but I'll bet
there are some aficionados out there who would love to hear it. Interestingly
enough, no other library had input a record for it into the OCLC database,
so it must not be available many places. I couldn't discover a date of
publication or issue--a very common failing of publishers and distributors
that drives us library catalogers crazy.

Jack Hall  University of Houston Libraries  [log in to unmask]

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