Subscribe to
Opera Today

Receive articles and news via RSS feeds or email subscription.


twitter_logo[1].gif



9780393088953.png

9780521746472.png

0810888688.gif

0810882728.gif

Recently in Reviews

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.

Double bill at Guildhall

Gaetano Donizetti and Malcolm Arnold might seem odd operatic bedfellows, but this double bill by the Guildhall School of Music and Drama offered a pair of works characterised by ‘madness, misunderstandings and mistaken identity’ which proved witty, sparkling and imaginatively realised.

LA Opera: Barber of Seville

Saturday, February 28, 2015, was the first night for Los Angeles Opera’s revival of its 2009 presentation of The Barber of Seville, a production by Emilio Sagi, which comes originally from Teatro Real in Madrid in cooperation with Lisbon’s Teatro San Carlos. Sagi and onsite director, Trevor Ross, made comedy the focus of their production and provided myriad sight gags which kept the audience laughing.

Marie-Nicole Lemieux, Wigmore Hall

Commenting on her recent, highly acclaimed CD release of late-nineteenth-century song, Chansons Perpétuelles (Naive: V5355), Canadian contralto Marie-Nicole Lemieux remarked ‘it’s that intimate side that interests me … I wanted to emphasise the genuinely embodied, physical side of the sensuality [in Fauré]’.

Eine florentinische Tragödie and I pagliacci in Monte-Carlo

An evening of strange-bedfellow one-acts in high-concept stagings, mindbogglingly delightful.

Carmen, Pacific Symphony

On February 19, 2015, Pacific Symphony presented its annual performance of a semi-staged opera. This year’s presentation at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa, California, featured Georges Bizet’s Carmen. Director Dean Anthony used the front of the stage and a few solid set pieces by Scenic Designer Matt Scarpino to depict the opera’s various scenes.

The Mastersingers of Nuremberg, ENO

Although the English National Opera has been decidedly sparing with its Wagner for quite some time now, its recent track record, leaving aside a disastrous Ring, has perhaps been better than that at Covent Garden.

San Diego Opera presents an excellent Don Giovanni

On Friday February 20, 2015, San Diego Opera presented Mozart’s Don Giovanni in a production by Nicholas Muni originally seen at Cincinnati Opera.

Tosca at Chicago Lyric

In a production first seen in Houston several years ago, and now revised by its director John Caird, Puccini’s Tosca has returned to Lyric Opera of Chicago with two casts, partially different, scheduled into March of the present season.

Henri Dutilleux: Correspondances

Henri Dutilleux’s music has its devotees. I am yet to join their ranks, but had no reason to think this was not an admirable performance of his song-cycle Correspondances.

LA Opera Revives The Ghosts of Versailles

In 1980, the Metropolitan Opera commissioned composer John Corigliano to write an opera celebrating the company’s one-hundredth anniversary. It was to be ready in 1983.

La Traviata, ENO

English National Opera’s revival of Peter Konwitschny’s production of Verdi’s La Traviata had many elements in common with the production’s original outing in 2013 (The production was a co-production with Opera Graz, where it had debuted in 2011).

Idomeneo in Lyon

You might believe you could go to an opera and take in what you see at face value. But if you did that just now in Lyon you would have had no idea what was going on.

Der fliegende Holländer, Royal Opera

I wonder whether we need a new way of thinking — and talking — about operatic ‘revivals’. Perhaps the term is more meaningful when it comes to works that have been dead and buried for years, before being rediscovered by subsequent generations.

Iphigénie en Tauride in Geneva

Hopefully this brilliant new production of Iphigénie en Tauride from the Grand Théâtre de Genève will find its way to the new world now that Gluck’s masterpiece has been introduced to American audiences.

Tristan et Isolde in Toulouse

Tristan first appeared on the stage of the Théâtre du Capitole in 1928, sung in French, the same language that served its 1942 production even with Wehrmacht tanks parked in front of the opera house.

Arizona Opera presents Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin

Arizona Opera presented Eugene Onegin during and 1999-2000 season and again on February 1 of this year as part of the 2014-2015 season. In this country Onegin is not a crowd pleaser like La Bohème or Carmen, but its story is believable and its music melodic and memorable. Just hum the beginning of the “Polonaise” and your friends will know the music, if not where it comes from.

Ernst Krenek: Reisebuch aus den österreichischen Alpen, Florian Boesch, Wigmore Hall

Florian Boesch and Roger Vignoles at the Wigmore Hall in Ernst Krenek’s Reisebuch aus den österreichischen Alpen. Matthias Goerne has called Hanns Eisler’s Hollywooder Liederbuch the Winterreise of the 20th century. Boesch and Vignoles showed how Krenek’s Reisebuch is a journey of discovery into identity at an era of extreme social change. It is a parable, indeed, of modern times.

Anna Bolena at Lyric Opera of Chicago

Lyric Opera of Chicago’s new Anna Bolena, a production shared with Minnesota Opera, features a distinguished cast including several notable premieres.

San Diego Celebrates 50th Year with La Bohème

On Tuesday January 27, 2015, San Diego Opera presented Giacomo Puccini's La Boheme. It is the opera with which the company opened in 1965 and a work that the company has faithfully performed every five years since then.

OPERA TODAY ARCHIVES »

Reviews

Franco Corelli: The Tenor as Hero
09 Sep 2009

Franco Corelli: The Tenor as Hero

This 4-CD set gathers together solo recital material and extracts from complete opera sets that Franco Corelli recorded between 1959 and 1968, the prime of his career.

Franco Corelli: The Tenor as Hero

Franco Corelli, tenor, and other artists.

EMI Classics 2 64887 2 [4CDs]

$26.98  Click to buy

The qualities that made Corelli a star fan out in proud display — firm attack, dark-hued honey tone, aggressive leaps to a ringing top. Idiosyncrasies that prompted quibbles are in evidence as well, such as the occasional odd pronunciation that suggests his tongue couldn’t keep up with his vocal chords. Such a quality can actually prove endearing when there is so much tenorial beauty pouring out.

With each of the four discs amply filled at over 75 minutes each, the five hours of Franco Corelli vocalism EMI selected promise more variety than it can actually deliver. Corelli’s approach to the opening aria, Bellini’s “A Te, o cara” differs hardly at all from his way with “Celeste Aida” or “O sole mio.” As EMI’s set subtitle has it, this is “The Tenor as Hero” — almost unrelenting in his strength, tossing off feats of vocal athleticism without breaking a sweat. When the material fits the Corelli voice well, the results can stun. Disc two features the set’s best singing, with a ringing “Cielo e mar!”, and highlights from the ubiquitous Cav-Pag double-bill that can rattle one’s spine. Disc one has more Verdi, where Corelli’s relatively unvaried approach doesn’t always suit the particular character. Why would the Duke of Mantua want to shout out “La donna è mobile”?

Disc three opens with Corelli singing the heroic aria from Massenet’s El Cid and then continues on to his Gounod Romeo, almost frightening is his ardent declarations. At that point, with Schubert’s “Ave Maria”, the rest of the set either becomes a fulfillment of a Corelli lover’s dream, or a test of endurance. More the latter for your reviewer, unfortunately. Corelli blasts his way through a few sacred numbers and a couple dozen classics from the Italian songbook. The recordings arranged by one Raffaele Mingardo waft tastelessly over the top, with sighing choral gushings and 20th Century Fox strings. Those arrangements by Franco Ferraris are exemplary by comparison, though by comparison only. In track after track, Corelli pours it on thick, and far too many selections end with an extended high note, not always gracefully achieved.

Corellli’s fans will love every minute, surely. For others, skip the excerpts and go for the complete opera sets to hear the tenor in his glory and in context. Meanwhile, may one ask why EMI chose a cover photo that makes the handsome Corelli look like the magician David Copperfield?

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):