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Giuseppe VERDI
CD1 [81.59]
Nabucco (Extracts) [12.25]
La Traviata (Extracts} [35.39]
Rigoletto (Extracts) [33.55]
CD2 [76.27]
La forza del destino (Extracts) [21.09]
Il Travatore (Extracts) [30.56]
Aida (Extracts) [24.22]
Chorus and Orchestra of Deutschen Oper, Berlin
Giuseppe Sinopoli (Nabucco).
Placido Domingo, Ileana Cotrubas, Sherrill Milnes.
Bayerischer State Opera and Chorus.
Carlos Kleiber. (Traviata)
Carlo Bergonzi, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau,
Renata Scotto, Ivo Vinco, Fiorenza Cossotto.
Chorus and Orchestra del Tatro alla Scala, Milan.
Rafael Kubelik.(Rigoletto)
Rosalind Plowright, Renata Bruson, Jose Carreras,
Chorus & Orchestra del Teatro alla Scala, Milan.
Tullio Serafin. (La forza del destino)
Ettore Bastianini, Antonietta Stella, Fiorenza Cossotto,
Carlo Bergonzi, Chorus & Orchestra del Teatro alla Scala, Milan.
Tullio Serafin (Il Trovatore).
Katia Ricciarelli, Placido Domingo, Elena Obraztsova,
Nicolai Ghiaurov. Chorus and Orchestra del Teatro alla Scala, Milan.
Claudio Abbado (Aida).
Recorded 1983 (Nabucco), 1977 (Traviata), 1964 (Rigoletto),
1987 (La forza del destino), 1963 (Travatore), 1982 (Aida). ADD (Traviata, Rigoletto, Travatore) DDD (Nabucco, Forza, Aida)

DG PANORAMA 469 217-2 [158.26]

Operatic Highlights discs have long been a part of the recorded musical scene and they generally offer an excellent way of getting to know opera for those who do not want or cannot afford the recordings of the complete works. This new release from DG in their Panorama series is an outstanding example of the genre offering extracts from most of Verdi's most popular works. Even on a generously filled double disc there must be omissions (Falstaff, Otello) but the selection made is an appealing one and deserves to be a success.

The recordings chosen date from 1963 up to 1987 and their most recent incarnations have been in middle price re-issues. The selection is unashamedly popular with some big names there to catch the eye with the target market clearly defined. The opera buff may well quibble with the choice of versions but I doubt if buyers acquiring this at £8 or less will feel this CD is anything but a splendid bargain.

Nabucco with two extracts under Sinopoli inevitably includes the Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves, and Carlos Kleiber's 1977 Traviata has a fresh voiced Placido Domingo magnificent in the Brindisi and in Lunge da lei. Follie! Delirio esentially a showcase for Ileana Cotrubas and the ever-dependable Sherrill Milnes sings well as Giorgio in Di provenza....

The remainder of the two discs are from Milan with the La Scala forces under various conductors. Kubelik and Rigoletto have Fischer-Dieskau in his prime in 1964 as the eponymous jester, intense and passionate in his outburst Cortigiani, vil razza dannata. Carlo Bergonzi inevitably impresses in Questa o quella but the star of the extracts must be Scotto, quite stupendous in Caro nome.

The Verdian conductor supreme, Tullio Serafin, appears twice, with three pieces and the overture from The force of destiny (Rosalind Plowright smooth and sweet and in lovely voice as yet another Leonora -couldn't they think of any other names for heroines?) Il Trovatore with a fully Italian cast has all the traditional favourites - the Anvil Chorus, Stride la vampa (an excellent Fiorenza Cossotto ) and Misere. Abbado's Aida naturally includes Gloria all'Egitto and the Grand march but supremely it has Domingo as Radames with two substantial extracts in Celeste Aida and the closing O terra ,addio reminding us what a superb artist he is.

An excellent double disc. At its low price it is a real bargain.


Harry Downey

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