Friday, October 22, 2010

Giuseppe Verdi: Otello

Otello... Jon Vickers
Desdemona... Mirella Freni
Jago... Peter Glossop
Emilia... Stefania Malagù
Cassio... Aldo Bottion
Conductor: Herbert Von Karajan
Artistic SupervisorHerbert Von Karajan

This film by Hebert von Karajan is the best rendition of Verdi's "Otello" available in any video format. The conducting and singing are superb and the drama is expressed with the utmost intensity. Jon Vickers is the best Otello in recent memory, superior even to Placido Domingo in vocal and dramatic power. Mirella Freni is a bit light-voiced for Desdemona, but she sings beautifully and looks like an angel. Peter Glossop sings the role of Iago with beauty and power, and sets just the right tone of evil playfulness. Picture and sound quality are both just fine. The supporting cast is wonderful, too, and includes Jose van Dam (Lodovico) and Michel Senechal (Roderigo).

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Giuseppe Verdi: Un ballo in maschera

Massimiliano Pisapia... Riccardo
Franco Vassallo... Renato
Chiara Taigi... Amelia
Anna Maria Chiuri... Ulrica
Eun Yee You... Oscar
Conductor: Riccardo Chailly
Stage Director: Ermanno Olmi

This film conflated from two live performances of 'Un Ballo in Maschera' comes from the Leipzig Opera and thus the marvelous Gewandhaus Orchestra is in the pit and the conductor is their new music director Riccardo Chailly, conducting his first-ever 'Ballo.' The singers are all

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Shostakovich: Symphony No.8 in C minor, op.65

Dmitri Shostakovich  (Composer)

Valery Gergiev (Conductor)

Audio CD (1995)

Number of Discs: 1

Label: Philips


Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Giacomo Puccini: La fanciulla del West

Barbara Daniels... Minnie
Sherrill Milnes... Jack Rance
Placido Domingo... Dick Johnson
Anthony Laciura... Nick
Julien Robbins... Ashby
Conductor: Leonard Slatkin
Artistic Director: James Levine

The production provides plenty of dramatic contrast while it nicely captures the Wild West setting. The whole thing works exceptionally well, and is ultimately no more silly than any number of Verdi’s operas. This is rendered all the more realistic by a cast which I cannot imagine being surpassed. Barbara Daniels may not have the big or luscious soprano voice characteristic of the great Puccini sopranos, past and present (think Tebaldi, Price, Gheorghiu), but she immerses herself so completely into the dramatic aspects of her role that any vocal shortcomings are quickly forgotten. Domingo is fantastic in a role that is quite ideal for him, lying vocally somewhere between Rodolfo and Calaf.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Brahms: Klavierstücke op.116 - 119

Johannes Brahms (Composer)

Philippe Cassard (Performer)

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Mozart: Ouvertures

Wolfanfg Amadeus Mozart (Composer)
Rinaldo Alessandrini(Conductor)
National Opera Orchestra (Orchestra)

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