Apologies for the dud Caballé link – this is what happens when you cut and paste from notes of the past ! I’ve found another clip and posted it above – it’s only of the last minute and a half of the performance but, of course, you get the whole 15 seconds of Caballé’s final note ! What you don’t get is the few minutes before of the duet, where she spins phrase after phrase of ethereal beauty, which is all the more remarkable for being opposite the ageing Corelli’s choppy and coarse Carlos. I guess it’s a bit of tittle-tattle in the grand scheme of things, but like Callas’s E Flat in Aida, I feel it needs to be mentioned in a grand survey of the opera, partial or otherwise ! Hope you can access the new link !
Being a self-confessed “voice maven”, I urge you to seek out the Hartford 1966 version, Ralph – if you can handle another DC so soon after the survey. It was recommended to me by an opera singer friend who simply waxed lyrical about it ! The singers give it their all in a very exciting performance and it is the best I’ve heard Corelli in this work, even if (to me) he always sounds as if Manrico had wandered onstage by mistake.
I’m intrigued at the prospect of another one of your mammoth surveys, perhaps of Falstaff and Otello. The former isn’t quite my cup of tea, which I accept is unusual – it clearly doesn’t sate my blood-lust, in the same way that Die Meistersinger and Rosenkavalier somehow don’t either. Give me rivers bursting their banks and maidens dancing in blood instead any day ! But I’d imagine that’s a tough assignment with so many important roles to consider, although I suppose you could say the same about Le Nozze, which somehow – in spite of nobody dying - does keep happy ! You could almost say the opposite with Otello – after all, who cares about Cassio, Roderigo and Emilia if the three main protagonists are really good ? That said, when I last surveyed Otello, there were a mere 26 recordings involved, from the 1931/32 La Scala recording (with possibly my favourite Iago !), all the way through to 2014 at Orange (with Alagna – who was much better than I expected). It was novel to encounter, as well, Furtwangler and Beecham along the way and my overall conclusions surprised me, as did the snippets of Tamagno and Maurel in the roles they created, as well as the tantalising excerpts of (the very different ) Giovanni Zenatello at both La Scala and Covent Garden. So it’s still a big undertaking – and I for one am looking forward to reading your views already !
Perhaps Wagner afterwards ?!
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