Falla: La vida breve
WORKS: La vida breve
PERFORMER: Teresa Berganza; Alicia Nafé; José Carreras; Juan Pons Ambrosian Opera Chorus; LSO/Garcia Navarro
CATALOGUE NO: 435 851-2 ADD
Falla’s two-act lyric drama may lack subtlety, but this is more than made up for in passion by this fiery and idiomatic performance, recorded in 1978 and featuring as starry a cast as one could hope for.
Berganza’s tragic heroine, Salud, who dies broken-hearted at the feet of the lover who has deserted her, sings with poignancy and beauty, and Carreras cuts a fervent and heroic Paco. But it is Alicia Nafé’s Grandmother, with her almost wailing warnings of the tragedy to come, who dominates the proceedings. Her utterances are both beautiful and terrible.
Garcia Navarro draws a brooding, vividly atmospheric performance from the LSO, especially during the frenzied dance sequences, dazzlingly augmented by Narcisco Yepes’s superb flamenco guitar and Lucero Tena’s castanets and foot-stamping. Melodramatic it may be, but there is no doubting its power. Claire Wrathall