Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Verdi - Aida - Nilsson, Corelli, Bumbry, Sereni - Zubin Mehta ('67)







I think the greatest strength of this recording is to be found in two men. Franco Corelli simply shines in this outing. For once, and for all I know, for the only time in his career, he displays strength and delicacy in proper proportions. Take that galumphing old warhorse aria, "Celeste Aida." He strikes the final B-flat with the anticipated forte blast but most unexpectedly he drops down to piano, at once transforming the aria from the usual out-of-place warcry to the intended reverie. In the tomb scene at the end of the opera, he is simply faultless; there is no other way to describe him. The other man is Bonaldo Giaiotti who makes Ramfis into a true star part. Ferruccio Mazzoli, too, is impressive as the King of Egypt, but hisGiuseppe Verdi role is too brief to have full effect. Mario Sereni's Amonasro is well-conceived and effectively offered, but by 1967 Sereni no longer had the sheer strength of the others--if he ever did.

As Aida, Birgit Nilsson did not have Milanov's sheer beauty of tone or Callas' insightful intensity, or Tebaldi's inborn italianata--but she was NILSSON and that was plenty impressive all by itself! In an opera house, she'd have blown me right out of my seat. Amneris is not a role that I might spontaneously associate with Grace Bumbry. In a perfect universe I would prefer Barbieri, Simionato or the young Stignani, but in this mundane world, Bumbry will do just fine for me, thank you very much.

As an opera, "Aida" can be approached as an intimate drama, as a large-scale spectacle or as something in-between.  If your ideal "Aida" is a spectacle, Mehta is the man for you. 


flac, scans

1 comment:

  1. Mr. Otto,
    I am very grateful for the EMI Aida with Mehta. I had it in Vinyl, but my transferrence from record to computer was very poor.
    Your offering was a delight to the ears; and your review energized me to listen with anticipation to Corelli and Giaiotti.
    Thank you, sir.


Related Posts with Thumbnails
There was an error in this gadget