Magazine article Gramophone

Verdi: Un Ballo in Maschera

Magazine article Gramophone

Verdi: Un Ballo in Maschera

Article excerpt

Verdi Un ballo in maschera  Gabriele Lechner sop                    Amelia Luciano Pavarotti ten                 Riccardo Piero Cappuccilli bar                   Renato Magda Nador sop                          Oscar Ludmila Schemtschuk mez                 Ulrica Goran Simic bass                        Samuel Franco De Grandis bass                     Tom Georg Tichy bar                        Silvano Alexander Maly bar                       Judge Franz Kasemann ten                     Servant 

Chorus and Orchestra of the Vienna State Opera / Claudio Abbado

Orfeo (F) (2) C907 1621 (133' * ADD * S) Recorded live, October 26,1986

Orfeo here rounds up once more a production's cast long known to collectors in both sound (numerous dealer labels) and vision (see YouTube). Even if Gustavo's, Renato's and the maestro's interpretations can be sampled elsewhere with other artists, this October 1986 live performance from the Staatsoper was well worth making official from original tapes. Pavarotti mavens will not need reminding that this is one of their man's greatest roles. And he was on some form this evening, fearless in the high tessitura of the 'Teco io sto' duet, while everywhere that unique catch in the voice suggests the frustration and desire essential to Gustavo's character. Yet does the tenor--despite Abbado's painstaking dynamic sensitivity--sing too much too loudly compared with, say, Bjorling or Domingo? Maybe, but it's hard to carp.

While Bruson tended to be the more recorded Renato of the 1980s (including for Abbado's 1981 DG La Scala recording), Cappuccilli offers a more aristocratic and perhaps nastier character. The Austrian soprano Gabriele Lechner, only 25 at the time, had taken over Amelia at short notice from Margaret Price during the first run of the production the previous year. She now sounds thoroughly accustomed to both role and colleagues and is 'adequate' in the German sense of that word--comfortable, and doing everything required--but rather neutral alongside Katia Ricciarelli's special passion for Abbado in Milan. …

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