- Composer: Puccini
- Audio CD (Aug 16 2005)
- SPARS Code: DDD
- Number of Discs: 2
- Label: Nvv
- ASIN: B00009Q7FP
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #170,793 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
|1. Andante Con Moto|
|2. Aria: O Fior Del Giorno|
|3. Aria: Ove Fosti Sta Notte|
|4. Aria: Questo Amor, Vergognia Mia|
|5. Aria: Dio Non Benedice|
|6. Aria: Fuori Di Qui!|
|7. Recitativo: Or Dunque, Addio!|
|8. Aria: Splendida Notte, Notte Gioconda|
|9. Aria: Orgia/Chimera Dall'occhio Vitreo|
|10. Aria: Uno Squillo Marzial!|
|1. Lento Triste|
|2. Aria: Requiem Aeternam|
|3. Aria: Addio, Addio, Mio Dolce Amor|
|4. Aria: Del Prode Edgar|
|5. Aria: D'ogni Dolor|
|6. Aria: Voglio Passar!|
|7. Aria: Bella Signora|
|8. Recitativo: Squillin Le Trombe|
|9. Recitativo: Maledizion!|
I'd never heard Edgar before. But it's been playing repeatedly since I got this recording; it's that engaging. I know it had been recorded by Eve Queler and her opera orchestra in New York, a performance starring Renata Scotto (Fidelia), Gwendolyn Killebrew (Tigrana) and Carlo Bergonzi (Edgar), a recording I never came across. But I was familiar with a couple of the arias: Fidelia's 'Addio, addio, mio dolce amor' (sung at the funeral before Fidelia finds out that Edgar is still alive), and Edgar's 'Orgia, chimera dall'occhio vitreo' (when Edgar has become disillusioned with the life that the gypsy Tigrana has led him into) and knew that they were stirring pieces. I had no idea that the opera is, musically speaking, delightful from start to finish.
It begins with a brief and delicate prelude that leads into one of Puccini's patented pentatonic choruses--shades of 'Turandot'! Then comes a gorgeous Micaela-esque aria for Fidelia--sung here with youthful ardor and tonal purity by Julia Varady--'O fior del giorno.' What follows is a string of soaring melodies, including a dramatic aria for Fidelia's brother, Frank, 'Questo amor, vergognia mia,' sung here by talented Dalibor Jenis, a Slovakian baritone who is, I think, headed for big things. The requiem sung at the fake funeral is Puccini's rehearsal for the Te deum in 'Tosca,' in that it advances the plot, and is very effective in its own right. And on and on. There is not a slack moment, musically, in the whole opera.
This performance originated with an unstaged production from Radio France in December 2002 and as the director of Radio France, René Koering, says in the introduction to the enclosed booklet, 'Of the dozens of concerts given by Radio France every season, there are some which deserve to be preserved for posterity.' I thought that statement a bit self-serving until I listened to the this 2 CD set. But M. Koering was right, this one's a keeper.
The conductor is the talented Yoel Levi, until recently the conductor of the Atlanta Symphony and before that an assistant to Lorin Maazel at the Cleveland Orchestra. Fidelia is Julia Varady, sounding in exceedingly fresh voice for someone who has been a major singer for thirty years. Tigrana, the gypsy tigress, is taken by American Mary Ann McCormick, who has a rich mezzo suited for this Carmen-like character; she would make terrific Carmen, I suspect. Carlo Cigni, basso, sings Fidelia's and Frank's father, Gualtiero, with a sturdy bass. The real find here is the tenor Carl Tanner, another American of whom I'd never heard, who sings the title role. I can easily imagine him singing the heavier Puccini roles (Cavaradossi, Dick Johnson) and, of course, the similar role of Don José, to great effect. The voice has baritonal heft and squillo, the high notes are there, and he sings with real musicality and dramatic aptness. The Orchestre Nationale de France, the Choeur de Radio France, and the children's chorus, Maîtrise de France, give rock solid support.
A strong recommendation.
CD 1 = 53:22
CD 2 = 41:29
TT = 93:51