CLASSIC RECORDINGS FROM ONE OF THE WORLD’S GREAT OPERA HOUSES
Verdi’s 1855 Paris opera which followed Rigoletto, Il trovatore and La Traviata is treated to a performance of blazing energy and intimate refinement with a superb cast which includes Cheryl Studer and Chris Merritt. The rarely-seen third act ballet is included complete, with the internationally-acclaimed dancers Carla Fracci and Wayne Eagling.
Sung in Italian with English subtitles
Giorgio Zancanaro, Enzo Capuano, Chris Merritt, Cheryl Studer
Orchestra & Chorus of Teatro alla Scala / Riccardo Muti
Stage Director Pier Luigi Pizzi
‘Rousing Riccardo Muti at the peak of his form in ‘The Muti Métier’, so undoubtedly a treat to curl up with on a gloomy January afternoon – and a splendid ballet to boot. Chris Merritt’s Arrigo is tight…by Act 4 he’s in mellifluous voice…Cheryl Studer…impressive notes begin…to emerge when she gets blinged up. The Italians win out with superb singing from Giorgio Zancanaro as Montfort and Ferruccio Furlanetto as Procida.’
'Muti also succeeds in covering the cracks in the potentially diffuse five-act I vespri siciliani…with Studer outstanding as the Duchess Elena. Zancanaro brings trenchant nobility as his father, the Sicilian governor Montforte. Pier Luigi Pizzi’s traditional production incorporates the complete Act 3 ballet, alluringly danced by a troupe that includes Carla Fracci and Wayne Eagling.'
International Record Review
‘Riccardo Muti has done much to return La Scala to its place as the leading opera house for Verdi stagings. … typical of his meticulous care in following the precise requirements of the score in traditional stagings of some imagination.
…the baritone in the 1989 Vespri is another superior Verdian. Giorgio Zancanaro’s Montforte is sung with incisive and generous tone and with a feeling for the father’s predicament when faced with an unruly, rebellious son. His ruminative aria that opens Act 3 is most poignantly delivered. This staging had a mixed reception on its first night in 1989, but by the TV relay had developed into a magnificent traversal of the uneven score, not least on account of Muti’s fervent advocacy and the fine playing of his orchestra. Pier Luigi Pizzi’s sets are colourful.
Cheryl Studer, then in her heyday, is particularly effective in ‘Arrigo! Ah, parli a un core’, floating a secure line on firm, beautiful tone; Merritt is confident and secure in his high-lying Act 4 solo.
The long ballet is well led by Carla Fracci’s eloquent dancing. All in all, justice is done to Verdi’s noble but sprawling concept. The picture and sound are excellent.’
'Les Vêspres Siciliennes…honours the monumental precepts of grand opéra without its excessive vices. Muti's conducting is astonishing - he gives us all of the music, including the Third Act ballet - and the performances by Zancanaro and Studer are tremendous. Chris Merritt is also outstanding as the dynastically-conflicted Arrigo.'
La Scena Musicale
CAT NO: OALS3008D
FORMAT: All Formats
REGIONS: All Regions
PICTURE FORMAT: 4:3
LENGTH: 211 MINS
SOUND: DOLBY STEREO
NO OF DISCS: 1