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04-19-2008 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Paul S
San Diego, California, USA
Posts 2,163
Joined on 10-12-2006

Post #: 1
Post ID: 7257
Reply to: 7257
The Mercury "Rigoletto"
Verdi, "Rigoletto", Maggio Musicale (Florence)/Gavazzeni; Mercury "Living Presence" (stereo) SR3-9012, 1960

Cast:
Rigoletto: Ettori Bastiani
Gilda: Renata Scotto
Duke of Mantua: Alfredo Kraus
Sparafucile: Ivo Vinco
Maddalena: Fiorenza Cossotto

Talk about an audio-centric masterpiece!

I love Verdi, Rigoletto and this amazing re-creation!

Here it is performed very, very well by everyone involved, the hall/acoustics is/are spectacular, and the CR Fine engineered recording must be heard on a dialed-in system to be believed.

Any modern hot-shot recording whiz who has not heard this should sit down and give it a listen.

I think this record may be as "un-compressed" as anything I own that attempts anywhere near this scale.  Three omnis were kept in the same place in the 18th century theater throughout the sessions and the 3 channels were subsequently mixed down to stereo.  The results speak for themselves.

Bravo!

Paul S
04-19-2008 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,549
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 2
Post ID: 7258
Reply to: 7257
The Rigoletto of Rigolettos

The only “contemporary “stereo records that I love in past was by Rafael Kubelik with Fischer-Dieskau, Giacomotti and Bergonzi.  The orchestral part of that La Scala play is amassing. Still, in my view it is not the best Rigoletto and mono recordings of Rigoletto  way more interesting.  There was a production in 1956 with Fausta Cleva led Metropolitan and Warren, Tucker, Ellis and Tozzi. It was extremely good – no stereo recording stay even close. And of cause there was the Rigoletto of Rigolettos: the Tullio Serafin leading La Scala and “his” offensive cast of Callas, Gobbi, Stefano etc… That Rigoletto I can listen 3 times on a row… BTW, in contrary to many other classical operas, the recent CD re-mastering of that Serafin’s Rigoletto is better then what was done in 70s-90s.

Tthere was 3-4 years ago a Rigoletto broadcast from MET with Anna Netrebko, Nancy Fabiola Herrera, Rolando Villazon, Carlo Guelfi, Eric Halfvarson.  Conductor was Asher Fisch. It was extremely good. I even managed to record the part of second and third act (go home late) – it was very very very good. The troops was not as able as some stat-singers from past but they really-really “tried” as good as they could - and you can clearly hear it and it made the performance “very special”. I can post a fragment from it…

Rgs, The Cat


"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
04-19-2008 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Paul S
San Diego, California, USA
Posts 2,163
Joined on 10-12-2006

Post #: 3
Post ID: 7259
Reply to: 7258
Performance vs. recording
I love much of the classic La Scala performance archive, and some of it is well recorded, too; just not as well as the Mercury Rigoletto.  Interestingly, it seems like if performers are not simply scared shitless at La Scala, then they may well be inspired.  I have been keeping my eyes peeled for that Serafin/Callas performance (on LP) for years.  I suppose I should just break down and get the new CD (thanks for the tip).

What was the year of that performance?  (obviously, before Callas was fired, so almost certainly mono...)

I think the performance on the Mercury is actually quite good; but like so many great recordings it is not really "inspired".

When I think of some of the most obvious cases of recordings taking over performances, I think of the direct-to-disc "audiophile" LPs.  But I have to admit that more than a few of the Mercurys strike me the same way.

Anyway, I still highly recommend the Mercury Rigoletto for "audio-centric" reasons, and also a worthwhile performance.


Best regards
Paul S
12-05-2010 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,549
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 4
Post ID: 15093
Reply to: 7258
I watch this Gobbi clip 10 times today – inconceivable!
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"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
12-11-2010 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Paul S
San Diego, California, USA
Posts 2,163
Joined on 10-12-2006

Post #: 5
Post ID: 15164
Reply to: 15093
The Power and the Glory
fiogf49gjkf0d
Back then, if the people in the "cheap seats" could not hear everything clearly, they might add old veggies to their catcalls!  "Reinforcement"???  And we expect hi-fi to "reproduce" this!?!

On the one hi-fi hand, this is another great reason for multiple arms, cartridges and playback curves.

In the best of all worlds, someone like Music and Arts does a bang-up job of getting it onto CD!

Best regards,
Paul S
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