Carlo Maria Giulini was one of the 20th century’s greatest conductors along with fellow Italians Arturo Toscanini, Guido Cantelli and Victor de Sabata. His live performances of operas by Verdi, Rossini and Mozart have acquired legendary status while his distinguished recordings have remained in the catalogues to this day.
The recording featuring a Glyndebourne production of Verdi’s Falstaff given in 1955 at the Edinburgh Festival is unique since after extensive research, it has never been published before in any form.
This 1955 performance marked Giulini’s UK debut. The Times said, ‘in the final analysis, it was Mr Giulini’s direction which ensured the opera’s success’, and headlined the review by emphatically stating, ‘A wonderful production’.
The Times reviewed Fernando Corena’s fresh interpretation of Falstaff as follows, ‘Mr Corena’s Falstaff is admirable because it is creditable … he gave us immense dignity, clarity of word, tone, line, and dramatic authority’. Walter Monachesi’s Ford was likewise praised for ‘the excellence of his vocal delivery and unusual dramatic expressiveness’. The Times also noted: ‘The four women were wonderfully well differentiated, the Quickly of Oralia Dominguez having a touch of succulence that Falstaff renounced and the Alice of Anna Maria Rovere being all sparkle in voice and appearance’.
Giulini’s stunning recording of Rossini’s Il barbiere di Siviglia from Covent Garden in 1960 is available on ICAC 5046.