Thursday, May 5, 2011

Puccini - Tosca - Price, Corelli, MacNeil, Adler, Metropolitan Opera







The finest recorded Tosca remains the Callas/di Stefano/Gobbi on EMI, but if you won't miss Callas' multi-layered insights, di Stefano's youthful passion and beautiful (for the most part) strain-free sound, Gobbi's audible sneer and epically snide cruelty, and de Sabata's whip-smart conducting, then this new Sony release is the one for you. Recorded at the Metropolitan Opera during the matinee of April 2, 1962, it features the most impressive singing of any Tosca on disc. Both Leontyne Price and Franco Corelli had made their sensational MetKurt Adler debuts the previous season, and what we hear is big, exciting voices-- the kind, I'm sorry to say, we really don't have any more--in their prime. Price lightens her tone when needed and unleashes waves of gorgeous, expressive sound, and Corelli was still a fearless tenor, with dark, baritonal low and middle tones and high notes of tempered steel (which he was not ashamed to hold on to). Cornell MacNeil, a fine baritone, was still peaking at this point as well, and his singing is filled with malice, insinuation, and just pure, Italianate sound. The rest of the cast is good, and Kurt Adler, a perfectly fine Kapellmeister, is happy listening to and following his singers. The orchestra's brass is not above some bloopers, but who cares? This is a thrilling ride, and the 1962 sound is far better than acceptable. Sony's packaging is minimal--just track listings, synopsis, and cast list.—Robert Levine 

Performer:  Leontyne PriceFranco CorelliCornell MacNeil
Conductor:  Kurt Adler
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Chorus,  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra


flac, covers

1 comment:

  1. Many thanks for this "Tosca". In this recording (also as in all live recordings - both cd and dvd format - from Metropolitan Opera House) one can hear applause in places off the point (in this recording, for example, after Mario's words "Son qui", when Tosca appears). These applauses were in that theatre 60 years ago, they are now too. In my opinion, it (firstly one can hear it at one after curtain raises in first acts) is very disrespectful for all - for conductor, for orchestra, also for singers, and for composer's memory and his music too. Conductor Arturo Toscanini didn't like applauses even after arias, because it breaks the movement of opera And here...very low level of treatment of Metropolitan Opera visitors. I don't know such thing in any other theatre. The worst of it is that this phenomenon can't be liquidated.


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