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Giuseppe Verdi – From La Scala: Aida


Giuseppe Verdi – From La Scala: Aida

Recorded in 1982.

About this collection of operas from La Scala:
Between 1960 and 1981, the music label Deutsche Grammophon recorded the eight greatest operas composed by Verdi at La Scala in Milan, the home of Italian operas. World’s leading singers and conductors were involved in the recording. The result provides you with the best possible way to get familiar with Verdi’s operas.

About this opera:
Aida, an Arabic female name meaning “visitor” or “returning”) is an opera in four acts by Giuseppe Verdi to an Italian libretto by Antonio Ghislanzoni, based on a scenario written by French Egyptologist Auguste Mariette. Aida was first performed at the Khedivial Opera House in Cairo on 24 December 1871, conducted by Giovanni Bottesini. Ismail Pasha, Khedive of Egypt, commissioned Verdi to write the opera for performance in January 1871, paying him 150,000 francs, but the premiere was delayed because of the Franco-Prussian War. One scholar has argued that the scenario was written by Temistocle Solera and not by Auguste Mariette. Contrary to popular belief, the opera was not written to celebrate the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869, nor that of the Khedivial Opera House (which opened with Verdi’s Rigoletto) in the same year. (Verdi had been asked to compose an ode for the opening of the Canal, but declined on the grounds that he did not write “occasional pieces”.) Verdi originally chose not to write an overture for the opera, but merely a brief orchestral prelude. He then composed an overture of the “potpourri” variety to replace the original prelude. However, in the end he decided not to have the overture performed because of its – his own words – ‘pretentious insipidity’. Aida met with great acclaim when it finally opened in Cairo on 24 December 1871. The costumes, accessories and stages for the premiere were designed by Auguste Mariette. Although Verdi did not attend the premiere in Cairo, he was most dissatisfied with the fact that the audience consisted of invited dignitaries, politicians and critics, but no members of the general public. He therefore considered the Italian (and European) premiere, held at La Scala, Milan on 8 February 1872, and in which he was heavily involved at every stage, to be its real premiere. Verdi had also written the role of Aida for the voice of Teresa Stolz, who sang it for the first time at the Milan premiere. Verdi had asked her fiancé, Angelo Mariani, to conduct the Cairo premiere, but he declined, so Giovanni Bottesini filled the gap. The Milan Amneris, Maria Waldmann, was his favourite in the role and she repeated it a number of times at his request. Aida was received with great enthusiasm at its Milan premiere. The opera was soon mounted at major opera houses throughout Italy, including the Teatro Regio di Parma (20 April 1872), the Teatro di San Carlo (30 March 1873), La Fenice (11 June 1873), the Teatro Regio di Torino (26 December 1874), the Teatro Comunale di Bologna (30 September 1877, with Giuseppina Pasqua as Amneris and Franco Novara as the King), and the Teatro Costanzi (8 October 1881, with Theresia Singer as Aida and Giulia Novelli as Amneris) among others. As of 2007, the Metropolitan Opera of New York alone has given more than 1,100 performances of the opera, making it the second most frequently performed work by the company behind La Bohème.

The Players:

Track List:

Stereo, ADD, mp3, 320 kbps, 340.71 Mb, 2 hours 20 minutes. Covers, info & synopsis included.

Part1 —–   Part2 —–   Part3 —–   Part4


Giuseppe Verdi – From La Scala. Simon Boccanegra


Giuseppe Verdi – From La Scala. Simon Boccanegra

Recorded in January 1977.

About this collection of operas from La Scala:
Between 1960 and 1981, the music label Deutsche Grammophon recorded the eight greatest operas composed by Verdi at La Scala in Milan, the home of Italian operas. World’s leading singers and conductors were involved in the recording. The result provides you with the best possible way to get familiar with Verdi’s operas.

About this Opera:
In 1855, the Fenice Theatre of Venice asked Verdi for a new opera, but the contract was signed only a year later, when the composer had already seen the outline of a work by the playwright Antonio Garcia Gutiérrez: Simon Boccanegra. The Maestro started writing his own version while in Paris, where he got Giuseppe Montanelli to shave down and model the libretto Francesco Maria Piave had already finished, communicating to Piave his modifications by letter, fait accompli. The opera opened on March 12th, 1857, with baritone Leone Gilardoni as Simon Boccanegra, bass Giuseppe Etcheverry as Fiesco, baritone Giacomo Vercellini as Paolo, and soprano Luigia Bendazzi as Maria/Amalia. The opera was a clamorous flop, almost as bad as La traviata four years earlier. Twenty-two years later, urged by his publisher and friend Ricordi, Verdi took the old score of Simon Boccanegra in hand once again, turning to Arrigo Boito for the modifications to Piave’s libretto. The first act was completely revised; Verdi was inspired by two letters of Francesco Petrarca, one to the Doge of Genoa, Boccanegra himself, and the other to the Doge of Venice, condemning the fratricidal wars between the two republics; Petrarca’s letter was to be used not only in the libretto, it was to appear on the stage as well. With this and other modifications Simon Boccanegra was presented to the public at the Scala Theatre in Milan on March 24th, 1881.

The Artists:

Track List:

cd1:
01. Prologue -[Preludio] Che dicesti? (7:03)
02. L’altra magion vedete? (3:29)
03. A te l’estremo addio…Il lacerato spirito (5:09)
04. Suona ogni labbro il mio nome (6:21)
05. Oh, de’ Fieschi implacata (4:04)
06. [Preludio: L’aurora] (2:26)
07. Come in quest’ ora bruna (3:52)
08. Cielo di stelle orbato… Vieni a mirar la cerula marina tremolante (7:25)
09. Propizio ei giunge! (5:00)
10. Paolo/Signor (3:24)
11. Orfanella il tetto umile…Figlia! a tal nome io palpito (9:35)
12. Che rispose (1:16)
13. Messeri, il re di Tararia vi porge (6:59)
14. Ferisci! / Amelia! (0:58)
cd2:
01. Amelia, di’ come fosti rapita (2:34)
02. Plebe! Patrizi! Popolo…Piango su voi (5:02)
03. Ecco la spada… Sia maledetto! (4:37)
04. Quei due vedesti (2:33)
05. Prigioniero in qual loco m’adduci? (1:50)
06. Udisti? / Vil disegno!… Sento avvampar nell’anima… Cielo pietoso, rendila (5:47)
07. Tu qui? / Amelia (4:33)
08. Figlia! / Si afflitto, o padre mio? (5:54)
09. Oh, Amelia, ami un nemico… Perdon, Amelia (6:55)
10. All’armi, all’armi, o Liguri (1:20)
11. Evviva il Doge (6:49)
12. M’ardon le tempia…Come un fantasima Fiesco t’appar (7:15)
13. Piango, perche mi parla in te (3:47)
14. Chi veggo! (2:43)
15. Gran Dio, li benedici (7:20)

Stereo, ADD, mp3, 320 kbps, 317.07 Mb, 137 minutes. Covers, info & synopsis included.

Part1 —–   Part2 —–   Part3 —–   Part4

Giuseppe Verdi – From La Scala: Macbeth


Giuseppe Verdi – From La Scala. Macbeth

Recorded in January 1976.

About this collection of operas from La Scala:
Between 1960 and 1981, the music label Deutsche Grammophon recorded the eight greatest operas composed by Verdi at La Scala in Milan, the home of Italian operas. World’s leading singers and conductors were involved in the recording. The result provides you with the best possible way to get familiar with Verdi’s operas.

About this opera:
Macbeth is an opera in four acts by Giuseppe Verdi, with an Italian libretto by Francesco Maria Piave and additions by Andrea Maffei, based on Shakespeare’s play of the same name. It was Verdi’s tenth opera and also the first of Shakespeare’s plays which he adapted for the operatic stage.
Written after the success of Atilla in 1846 by which time the composer had become well established, it was before the great successes of 1850 to 1853, Rigoletto, Il trovatore and La traviata which propelled him into universal fame. As sources, Shakespeare’s plays provided Verdi with lifelong inspiration: some, such as King Lear were never realized but he wrote his two final operas using Othello as the basis for Otello (1887) and The Merry Wives of Windsor as the basis for Falstaff (1893).
The first version of Macbeth was completed during the middle of what Verdi was to describe as his “galley years”. Ranging from 1842 to 1850, this period saw the composer produce 14 operas, but by the standards of the subject matter of almost all Italian operas during the first fifty years of the 19th century, Macbeth was highly unusual. The 1847 version was very successful and it was presented widely. Pleased with his opera and with its reception, Verdi wrote to Antonio Barezzi, his former father-in-law and long-time supporter, on 25 March 1847 just about two weeks after the premiere: “I have long intended to dedicate an opera to you, who have been father, benefactor, and friend to me. It was a duty I should have fulfilled sooner if imperious circumstances had not prevented me. Now, I send you Macbeth which I prize above all my other operas, and therefore deem worthier to present to you”.
The 1865 revision, produced for Paris in a French translation and with several additions, was less successful and the opera largely faded from public view until the mid-20th century revivals.
In 1864 Verdi was asked to provide additional music – a ballet and a final chorus – for a production at the Théâtre Lyrique (Théâtre-Lyrique Impérial du Châtelet) in Paris. Initially thinking these additions were all that was needed, he realized that an overhaul of the opera was required. Advising the impresario of the Lyrique that more time was needed, he took the opportunity to revise the entire opera, in particular by adding music for Macbeth and Lady Macbeth in Acts 1 and 3; the addition of a ballet in Act 3; and changing the endings of Acts 3 and 4, in the latter case by dropping Macbeth’s aria Mal per me che m’affidai – “Trusting in the prophesies of Hell” and adding the triumphal choral ending.
Once again Piave was called into service and the new version was first performed on April 21, 1865. Overall, the first performance was poorly received, something which puzzled the composer: “I thought I had done quite well with it…it appears I was mistaken”. It remains the preferred version for modern performances.
The 1847 version was successful and was performed all over Italy until the revised version appeared in 1865. The first version was given its US premiere in April 1850 in New York and its UK premiere took place in October 1860 in Manchester. After the 1865 premiere of the revised version, which was followed by only 13 more performances, the opera generally fell from popularity. It was given in Paris in April 1865 and up to about 1900, it was rarely performed until after World War II. The US premiere of this version did not take place until 24 October 1941 in New York.
Two European productions, in Berlin in the 1930s and at Glyndebourne in 1938 and 1939, were important in helping the 20th Century revival. The 1938 production was the UK premiere of the revised version and the first to combine the death of Macbeth from the 1847 version with the triumphal ending from the 1865 version, something totally against Verdi’s wishes. Glydebourne revived it in the 1950s but it was not until 1959 that it appeared on the Metropolitan Opera’s roster for the first time. (It has been given 91 performances between 1959 and the 2008 revival). Similarly, the first presentations at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, with Tito Gobbi and then others in the title role, took place only in 1960.
In recent times, the opera has appeared more frequently in the repertories of the Washington National Opera (2007) and the San Francisco Opera (Nov/Dec 2007) and many other opera houses worldwide, but almost all productions stage the revised version with the exception of both the original and the revised versions which were presented in 2003 as part of the Sarasota Opera’s “Verdi Cycle” of all the composer’s operas in their different versions.

The Players:

Track List:

Stereo, ADD, mp3, 320 kbps, 353.747 Mb, 2 hours 33 minutes. Covers, info & synopsis included.

Part1 —–   Part2 —–   Part3 —–   Part4