Verdi, Massenet, Rossini, Leoncavallo, Meyerbeer, Halévy, Puccini, Ponchielli & Flotow

Our rating 
5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

COMPOSERS: Halévy,Leoncavallo,Massenet,Meyerbeer,Ponchielli & Flotow,Puccini,Rossini,Verdi
LABELS: BMG
ALBUM TITLE: Collection: Caruso 2000
WORKS: Arias
PERFORMER: Enrico Caruso (tenor); Vienna RSO/Gottfried Rabl
CATALOGUE NO: 74321 69766 2 AAD/DDD

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Thanks to modern technology, for some time now we have been able to hear the voice of Enrico Caruso without the surface noise and crackles of the old 78rpm discs, but Robert Werba, a Viennese record producer, has come up with the idea of replacing Caruso’s original acoustic accompaniments with brand new digital recordings made by the Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra last year. Conductors often find it difficult enough to cope with the foibles of live singers, but when your tenor has been dead for nearly 80 years so that you can’t argue with him over tempi or phrasing, but can only concur with what he does, you have a fearsomely difficult task, which Gottfried Rabl and his orchestra perform superbly. Caruso’s voice rings out thrillingly over the orchestra, and one is only occasionally made aware of the stylistic differences that have occurred since 1921. For example, the tenor’s leisurely way with ‘Di quella pira’ results in the orchestra sounding rather sluggish. Nevertheless, this is a disc that all lovers of the art of Caruso will enjoy. For comparison, his original 1907 ‘Vesti la giubba’ is included as well as the re-recording.

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Charles Osborne