Subscribe to
Opera Today

Receive articles and news via RSS feeds or email subscription.


facebook-icon.png


twitter_logo[1].gif



9780393088953.png

9780521746472.png

0810888688.gif

0810882728.gif

Recently in Recordings

Lalo: Complete Songs

Edouard Lalo (1823-92) is best known today for his instrumental works: the Symphonie espagnole (which is, despite the title, a five-movement violin concerto), the Symphony in G Minor, and perhaps some movements from his ballet Namouna, a scintillating work that the young Debussy adored.

New from Opera Rara : Gounod La Colombe and Donizetti Le Duc d'Albe

Two new recordings from highly acclaimed specialists Opera Rara - Gounod La Colombe and Donizetti Le Duc d'Albe.

Félicien David: Herculanum

It is not often that a major work by a forgotten composer gets rediscovered and makes an enormously favorable impression on today’s listeners. That has happened, unexpectedly, with Herculanum, a four-act grand opera by Félicien David, which in 2014 was recorded for the first time.

Samuel Barber: Choral Music

This recording, made in the Adrian Boult Hall at the Birmingham Conservatoire of Music in June 2014, is the fourth disc in SOMM’s series of recordings with Paul Spicer and the Birmingham Conservatoire Chamber Choir.

A Prize-Winning Rediscovery from 1840s Paris (and 1830s Egypt)

Félicien David’s intriguing Le désert, for vocal and orchestral forces plus narrator, was widely performed in its own day, then disappeared from the performing repertory for nearly a century.

Félicien David: Songs for voice and piano

This well-packed disc is a delight and a revelation. Until now, even the most assiduous record collector had access to only a few of the nearly 100 songs published by Félicien David (1810-76), in recordings by such notable artists as Huguette Tourangeau, Ursula Mayer-Reinach, Udo Reinemann, and Joan Sutherland (the last-mentioned singing the duet “Les Hirondelles” with herself!).

John Taverner: Missa Corona spinea

This new release of John Taverner’s virtuosic and florid Missa Corona spinea (produced by Gimell Records) comes two years after The Tallis Scholars’ critically esteemed recording of the composer’s Missa Gloria tibi Trinitas, which topped the UK Specialist Classical Album Chart for 6 weeks, and with which the ensemble celebrated their 40th anniversary. The recording also includes Taverner’s two settings of Dum transisset Sabbatum.

“Nessun Dorma — The Puccini Album”

Sounds swirl with an urgent emotionality and meandering virtuosity on Jonas Kaufmann’s new Puccini album—the “real one”, according to Kaufmann, whose works were also released earlier this year on Decca records, allegedly without his approval.

Honegger: Jeanne d’Arc au bûcher

Marion Cotillard and Marc Soustrot bring the drama to the sweeping score of Arthur Honegger’s Jeanne dArc au bûcher, an adaptation of the Trial of Joan of Arc

Far in the Heavens — Choral Music of Stephen Paulus

Stephen Paulus provided the musical world, and particularly the choral world, with music both provocative and pleasing through a combination of lyricism and a modern-Romantic tonal palette.

Review: You Promised Me Everything

Richard Taruskin entitled his 1988 polemical critique of the notion of ‘authenticity’ in the context of historically informed performance, ‘The Pastness of the Present and the Presence of the Past’.

Donizetti: Les Martyrs

As the editor of Opera magazine, John Allison, notes in his editorial in the June issue, Donizetti fans are currently spoilt for choice, enjoying a ‘Donizetti revival’ with productions of several of the composer’s lesser known works cropping up in houses around the world.

Green: Mélodies françaises sur des poèmes de Verlaine

Philippe Jaroussky lends poetry and poise to the sounds of nineteenth- and twentieth-century France

A worthy tribute for a vocal seductress of the ancient régime

Carolyn Sampson has long avoided the harsh glare of stardom but become a favourite singer for “those in the know” — and if you are not one of those it is about time you were.

Schubert’s Winterreise by Matthias Goerne

This Winterreise is the final instalment of Matthias Goerne’s series of Schubert lieder for Harmonia Mundi and it brings the Matthias Goerne Schubert Edition, begun in 2008, to a dark, harrowing close.

Gluck: Orfeo ed Euridice

This elegant, smartly-paced film turns Gluck’s Orfeo into a Dostoevskian study of a guilt-wracked misanthrope, portrayed by American countertenor Bejun Mehta.

Die Entführung aus dem Serail @ Hangar-7

We see the characters first in two boxes at an opera house. The five singers share a box and stare at the stage. But Konstanze’s eye is caught by a man in a box opposite: Bassa Selim (actor Tobias Moretti), who stares steadily at her and broods in voiceover at having lost her, his inspiration.

Richard Strauss: Notturno

Richard Strauss may be most closely associated with the soprano voice but this recording of a selection of the composer’s lieder by baritone Thomas Hampson is a welcome reminder that the rapt lyricism of Strauss’s settings can be rendered with equal beauty and character by the low male voice.

Bernarda Fink Sings Mahler Lieder

Bernarda Fink’s recording of Gustav Mahler’s Lieder is an important new release that includes outstanding performances of the composer’s well-known songs, along with compelling readings of some less-familiar ones.

Gergiev’s Das Rheingold

Das Rheingold launches what is perhaps the single most ambitious project in opera, Richard Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen

OPERA TODAY ARCHIVES »

Recordings

Giuseppe Verdi: Aida
28 Jan 2007

VERDI: Aida

Who is the potential consumer for this DVD release of a 1953 Italian film version of Verdi's Aida, featuring Sophia Loren's stunning physical presence and Renata Tebaldi's stunning vocalism in the title role?

Giuseppe Verdi: Aida

Sophia Loren - Aida; Renata Tebaldi - Aida (singing voice); Lois Maxwell - Amneris; Ebe Stignani - Amneris (singing voice); Luciano Della Marra - Radamès; Giuseppe Campora - Radamès (singing voice); Afro Poli - Amonasro; Gino Bech - Amonasro (singing voice); Antonio Cassinelli - Ramfis; Giulio Neri - Ramfis (singing voice). Directed by Clemente Fracassi. Screenplay by Clemente Fracassi. Rome Opera Ballet Corps. Italian State Radio Orchestra, Giuseppe Morelli (cond.).

Qualiton 616 [DVD]

$18.99  Click to buy

Perhaps avid fans of the actress will want this, as she is in her youthful prime here and, despite some rather heavy "darkening" make-up, a gorgeous spectacle in herself. Certain devotees of dated, even corny cinema may find some pleasure as well.

But for those who love the opera, this DVD should be avoided. Cut down to about 90 minutes, the film employs a dull narrator linking the scenes with rudimentary plot points, spoken in English over music. The first words? "As the opera begins...." That is damage enough. However, if the film were otherwise in good condition, some enjoyment might still be found. The film is not, however, in good condition. There are many slight skips and jumps in the editing. The overture is butchered, starting with the "triumphal march" before cutting back to what Verdi actually composed. The director even interposes a flashback at one point, showing the havoc the Ethiopians (looking like extras from a bad Tarzan movie) had wreaked on the Egyptians. The climax is butchered by both poor film quality and bad direction, and as a capper, recorded applause ends the show. Incomprehensible. The sets and costumes do have an old-time appeal, but the cinematography has lost its luster, with the colors often washed-out.

Besides Loren, the other actors try their best, although the lip-syncing is often inadequate. Only the Radames (sung by Giuseppe Campora) is weak, a skinny pretty boy named Luciano Della Marra.

The DVD offers no booklet (at least the review copy didn't). Neither are subtitles provided, and there are only a few chapter selections. But never mind. Even with those features, this DVD would not be a satisfactory Aida for any but those understandably besotted with the beauty of the young Loren.

Chris Mullins

Send to a friend

Send a link to this article to a friend with an optional message.

Friend's Email Address: (required)

Your Email Address: (required)

Message (optional):