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- Published on Amazon.com
It's not apparent from the listing, but this two-disc set is mainly a tribute to the late French baritone Gerard Souzay. Disc one is a live 1960 performance of a severely abridged (75 minutes in all)"Orfeo" from the New York City Opera conducted by Stokowski featuring Souzay in the title role with Judith Raskin (Euridice)and other cast members including Doris Yarick, Regina Sarfaty, and Joy Clements. My guess is that Stokowski and Souzay fans will be intrigued, while hard-core Monteverdi afficionados will be scandalized. Certainly not a first choice for someone coming to "L'Orfeo" for a reference recording,but there are those of us who are perfectly happy with a greatest-hits condensation of a Monteverdi opera and the sound and performance are fine.
The second disc features Souzay in arias and song cycles, which should be interesting to the casual operaphile who remembers him primarily as a lieder singer. We get "Et in spiritum sanctum" from Bach's B-minor mass with Karajan and the Vienna Philharmonic; a Metropolitan Opera performance of "Vedro metr'io sospiro" from "Le Nozze di Figaro;" two arias from "Don Giovanni;" Ravel's "Don Quichotte a Dulcinee" with Munch and the Boston Symphony; Chausson's "Poeme de l'amour et de la mer" (Thomas Scherman conducting the Little Orchestra Society), and Mahler's "Kindertotenlieder" with John Hopkins and the National Symphony Orchestra. Recording dates range from 1959 to 1967. The booklet includes notes on Souzay and his career but no libretto or song texts.