Giordano: Fedora

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

LABELS: CBS Masterworks
WORKS: Fedora
PERFORMER: Eva Marton, José Carreras, Veronika Kincses, János Martin, József Gregor, József NémethHungarian Radio & Television SO & Chorus/Giuseppe Patanè
CATALOGUE NO: M2K 42181 DDD Reissue
Best known for his opera Andrea Chénier, Giordano is often dismissed as a composer who weaves some memorable, sweeping tunes into lengthy passages of basically banal verismo music. Fedora , admittedly, has a crazily disjointed plot and cannot claim to be great music, but it does not deserve to be totally discounted. This Fedora is a Sony re-release of the CBS recording first issued in 1986, which neatly coincided this year with Carreras’s performances in the role of Loris at Covent Garden. Carreras colours the second-act show-stopper ‘Amor ti vieta’ with vivid, even raw tenor sound, and in the wonderful duet with Marton’s luscious Fedora, both singers reveal a deliberately weighty and driven quality which they maintain throughout the three acts. The sumptuous orchestral score – redolent of Puccini, even Mussorgsky at times –with its occasional bizarre touches, is expertly delivered by the Hungarian orchestra under the late Giuseppe Patanè. The supporting roles are adequately sung by an all-Hungarian cast. Olga and de Siriex are something of a curate’s egg, but are generally convincing in their exchanges with the tragic heroine. If you are one of the legion of Carreras fans, then this Fedora is a must. The only other recording (Decca, mid-price) is much older (1969) and more poignant overall, with Olivero, del Monaco and Gobbi, and the added bonus of highlights from Zandonai’s Francesca da Rimini: well worth rooting out. Elise McDougall