Subscribe to
Opera Today

Receive articles and news via RSS feeds or email subscription.


twitter_logo[1].gif



9780521746472.png

0810888688.gif

0810882728.gif

Recently in Reviews

La Bohème, Manitoba

Manitoba Opera’s first production in nine years of Giacomo Puccini’s La Bohème still stirs the heart and inspires tears with its tragic tale of bohemian artists living — and loving — in 1840s Paris.

Arizona Opera Presents Don Pasquale in Tucson

On April 12, 2014, Arizona Opera opened its series of performances of Donizetti's Don Pasquale in Tucson. Chuck Hudson’s production of this opera combined Commedia dell’arte with Hollywood movie history.

Will Don Quichotte Be the Last Production at San Diego Opera?

This quotation from Cervantes was displayed before the opening of the opera’s final scene:

“The greatest madness a man can commit in this life is to let himself die, just like that, without anybody killing him or any other hands ending his life except those of melancholy.”

Gound Faust - Calleja and Terfel, Royal Opera House London

Gounod's Faust makes a much welcomed return to the Royal Opera House. With each new cast, the dynamic changes as the balance between singers shifts and brings out new insights. In that sense, every revival is an opportunity to revisit from new perspectives. This time Bryn Terfel sang Méphistophélès, with Joseph Calleja as Faust - stars whose allure certainly helped fill the hall to capacity. And the audience enjoyed a very good show.

Syracuse Opera’s Porgy and Bess
Got Plenty O’ Plenty

The company ends its 2013-14 season on a high note with a staged performance of Gershwin’s theatrical masterpiece

A New Rusalka in Chicago

Lyric Opera of Chicago’s new production of Antonin Dvorak’s Rusalka is visually impressive and fulfills all possible expectations musically with unquestioned excitement.

Karlsruhe’s Mixed Blessing Ballo

The reliable Badisches Staatstheater has assembled plenty of talent for its new Un Ballo in Maschera.

Louise Alder, Wigmore Hall

This varied, demanding programme indisputably marked soprano Louise Alder as a name to watch.

Luke Bedford: Through His Teeth, Linbury, Royal Opera House

Can this be the best British opera in years? Luke Bedford’s Through His Teeth at the Royal Opera House’s Linbury Theatre is exceptional. Drop everything and go.

Powder Her Face, ENO

As one descends the steel steps into the cavernous bunker of Ambika P3, one seems about to enter rather insalubrious realms — just right one might imagine, then, for an opera which delves into the depths of the seedier side of celebrity life.

Iphigénie Fascinates in the Pfalz

Kaiserslautern’s Pfalztheater has produced a tantalizing realization of Gluck’s Iphigénie en Aulide, characterized by intriguing staging, appealing designs, and best of all, superlative musical standards.

ROH presents Cavalli’s L’Ormindo at the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, London

Never thought I’d say it but......

Harrison Birtwistle, Elliott Carter, Wigmore Hall, London

Celebrating the 80th birthday of one of the UK's greatest composers (if not the greatest), this concert was an intriguing, and not always stimulating, mix. Birtwistle with Carter makes sense, but Birtwistle with Adams does not - or at least only within the remit of the concert series. The concert was actually entitled “Nash Inventions: American and British Masterworks, including an 80th Birthday Tribute to Sir Harrison Birtwistle” and was the final concert in the “Inventions” series.

Requiem for a Lost Opera Company

On Wednesday, March 19, 2014, General Director Ian Campbell of San Diego Opera announced that the company would go out of business at the end of this season. The next day the company performed their long-planned Verdi Requiem with a stellar cast including soprano Krassimira Stoyanova, mezzo-soprano Stephanie Blythe, tenor Piotr Beczala, and bass Ferruccio Furlanetto.

The Met’s Werther a tasty mix of singing, staging, acting and orchestral splendor

Visual elements in Richard Eyre’s striking production offset Massenet’s melodic shortcomings

Chicago’s New Barber of Seville

New productions of repertoire staples such as Gioachino Rossini’s Il Barbiere di Siviglia bear much anticipation for both performers and staging.

Lucia in LA: A Performance to Remember

On March 15, 2014, Los Angeles Opera presented Elkhanah Pulitzer’s production of the opera, which she set in 1885 when women were beginning to be recognized as persons separate from their fathers, brothers and husbands. At that time many European countries were beginning to allow women to own property, obtain higher education, and choose their husbands.

San Diego Opera Presents an All Star Ballo in Maschera

On March 11, 2014, San Diego Opera presented Verdi’s A Masked Ball in a traditional production by Leslie Koenig. Metropolitan Opera star tenor Piotr Beczala was Gustav III, the king of Sweden, and Krassimira Stoyanova gave an insightful portrayal of Amelia, his troubled but innocent love interest.

Anne Schwanewilms, Wigmore Hall

From the moment she walked, resplendent in red, onto the Wigmore Hall platform, Anne Schwanewilms radiated a captivating presence — one that kept the audience enthralled throughout this magnificent programme of Romantic song.

Die Frau ohne Schatten, Royal Opera

Magnificent! Following the first night of this new production of Die Frau ohne Schatten, I quipped that I could forgive an opera house anything for musical performance at this level, whether orchestral, vocal, or, in this case, both.

OPERA TODAY ARCHIVES »

Reviews

Giuseppe Verdi: La battaglia di Legnano
10 Sep 2009

Verdi: La battaglia di Legnano

The true opera fan devotes almost as much time, if not more, to the "what might have been" careers as to those of the superstars.

Giuseppe Verdi: La battaglia di Legnano

Mario Rinaudo; Franco Calabrese; Alfredo Giacomotti; Massimiliano Malaspina; Mario Sereni; Rita Orlandi Malaspina; Gianfranco Cecchele; Giuseppe Morresi; Vera Magrini; Marcello Munzi; Walter Brighi. Orchestra Sinfonica e Coro di Milano della Rai/Maurizio Rinaldi. Live recording: Milan, November 14, 1973.

Myto 2 MDCD 0012 [2CDs]

$41.98  Click to buy

Myto is a label for such opera devotees, and thus the apt name of the company’s new budget line: Myto Devotion. This release of a 1973 Milano RAI performance of Verdi’s relatively obscure early work La battaglia di Legnano focuses on tenor Gianfranco Cecchele. His photo, in costume, gets the booklet cover, and disc two ends with ample excerpts from another rare Verdi work, Aroldo, with Cecchele in the lead.

After the expected choral opening to Legnano,, Cecchele appears as the hero, Arrigo. Initially the voice strikes the ear with a manly, appealing spinto sound, darker than that of a lyric. Continued exposure to the voice lessens the appeal. Cecchele cannot quite control the vibrato on held notes, and in longer legato lines the tone gets husky, heavy. The Aroldo performance, recorded two years later in 1975, contains little to suggest the earlier performance doesn’t capture the basic quality of his voice. The Aroldo gets blessed with a better soprano, however, in Angeles Gulin. In the Legnano one Rita Orlandi Malaspina sings Lida. With no biographical information of any kind given in the single fold booklet, guesses as to Ms. Malaspina’s age would be ungentlemanly. Suffice it to say, she sounds like no spring chicken.

The best singing on other disc comes from the veteran baritone Mario Sereni in Legnano. He needs a little time to warm up, and then he puts on a master class, at least relative to his co-stars, in legato and characterization.

As for the opera itself, flashes of Verdi’s genius too seldom shoot through a rather dull atmosphere. The music of Aroldo, a re-write of Stiffelio to get it past the censors, makes one wonder why Myto didn’t devote the set to that entire performance and offer just selections from the Legnano - focusing on Sereni.

Though not first-class, the sound is fine, as is the Milan RAI orchestra under Maurizio Rinaldi. Apparently Myto is aware of Cecchele fans eager for his work. This, then, would be for them.

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):