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Verdi: Otello Hybrid SACD - DSD


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Audio CD, Hybrid SACD - DSD, October 12, 2010
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$34.84
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Sir Colin Davis eagerly anticipated recording of Verdi s Otello is released on the 10th anniversary of the LSO Live label. Opera has always formed an important part of the label s output. Among Sir Colin Davis greatest triumphs on LSO Live have been his award-winning recordings of Berlioz and Verdi s final opera, Falstaff. Falstaff was released in 2004 and won a GRAMMY® Award for Best Opera. For the title role, Davis is joined by one of the world s most exciting young tenors. New Zealander Simon O Neill stepped in at short notice, making his debut in the role, delivering what can only be described as an astonishing performance. The villainous Iago is played by Gerald Finley and Otello s wife Desdemona by Anne Schwanewilms. Otello, which was premiered in 1887, marked a significant evolutionary development in Italian opera and is widely regarded as one of the great operatic masterpieces.

Review

''Immensely powerful... Unlike Domingo, O'Neill sings the repeated A flats of 'Dio mi potevi' as Verdi demands and throughout his clarion tone is thrilling. But the heroes are Gerald Finley, a supremely malignant Iago, the superb orchestra and chorus, and Colin Davis, who makes the terror and pity in the opera almost unbearably vivid.'' --The Sunday Times (UK)

''Simon O'Neill is the most complete Otello since Domingo... Gerald Finley's debut as Iago is also a great reading.'' --BBC Music Magazine

EDITOR'S CHOICE - ''I find this Otello tremendously exciting. Simon O'Neill sings beautifully and grows in stature... Gerald Finley gives a masterly account of the part.'' --Gramophone Magazine

Disc: 1
1. Otello, opera: Act 1. Storm / Una vela! Una vela!
2. Otello, opera: Act 1. Esultate
3. Otello, opera: Act 1. Roderigo, ebben, che pensi
4. Otello, opera: Act 1. Fuoco di gioia!
5. Otello, opera: Act 1. Roderigo, beviam
6. Otello, opera: Act 1. I naffia l'ugola
7. Otello, opera: Act 1. Capitano, v'attende
8. Otello, opera: Act 1. Va al porto
9. Otello, opera: Act 1. Già nella notte densa
10. Otello, opera: Act 2. Prelude / Non ti crucciar
See all 18 tracks on this disc
Disc: 2
1. Otello, opera: Act 3. Prelude
2. Otello, opera: Act 3. La vedetta del porto
3. Otello, opera: Act 3. Esterrefatta
4. Otello, opera: Act 3. Dio! mi potevi scagliar tutti i mali
5. Otello, opera: Act 3. Vieni, l'aula è deserta
6. Otello, opera: Act 3. Bada
7. Otello, opera: Act 3. Messeri!
8. Otello, opera: Act 3. A terra!... sì
9. Otello, opera: Act 4. Prelude / Era più calmo?
10. Otello, opera: Act 4. Piangea cantando
See all 14 tracks on this disc

Product Details

  • Orchestra: London Symphony Orchestra, London Symphony Chorus
  • Conductor: Sir Colin Davis
  • Composer: Verdi
  • Audio CD (October 12, 2010)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: Hybrid SACD - DSD
  • Label: Lso Live
  • ASIN: B003WL7ENA
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #510,483 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

3.5 out of 5 stars
5 star
38%
4 star
0%
3 star
50%
2 star
0%
1 star
13%
See all 8 customer reviews
Simply put, Mr. O'Neill does not have the vocal goods to sing this role.
Y. Shuster
The voices are startlingly clear and present but in a natural and coherent sound environment with the orchestra.
Maxwell G. Paley
So this is a fine souvenir of an enjoyable evening - but no more than that.
Ralph Moore

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Ralph Moore TOP 500 REVIEWER on November 20, 2010
Format: Audio CD
I was present on the evening of this recording, and although I can testify that it delivered all the excitement you could desire of a live performance of this superlative music, I was simultaneously wholly aware that as much as I was enjoying it, it would no way stand up as a recording in comparison with established, classic versions.

But let's start with the advantages: extraordinarily fine playing from the LSO, fiery conducting from Colin Davis, who really has the measure of the score and infuses it with the kind of nervy, febrile brilliance the many moments of high drama demand, yet also commands the poise and poetry passages such as Desdemona's prayer require. The recorded sound is wonderfully spacious and the crackling electricity of a live performance is wonderfully conveyed. But...

None of the three principals has the right voice for the part. Best by far is Gerald Finley; he has all the notes and serpentine subtleties to portray Iago and acts superbly with the voice he has - but it is not a voice with sufficient Italianate ring or bite; listen to Gobbi or Valdengo or even Warren for that. Schwanewilms is anonymous and even vapid compared with such famous previous exponents as Freni, Tebaldi or, going further back, Muzio. Simon O'Neill deserves all praise for stepping in at the last minute to replace the indisposed Torsten Kerl; he had never sung a public performance yet is virtually note perfect and sings with passion and conviction. But the voice is far too light and throaty for the role and it is one thing to do a sterling job as an understudy and another to set yourself up in direct competition with live recordings by Del Monaco and Vinay. No competition, in fact.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Dennis M. Desantis on November 14, 2010
Format: Audio CD
As a lover of Otello, I have waited a long time for an sacd surround recording of this opera and am not dissapointed in this release. The opening storm scene is as thrilling as it gets with the thunder and wind sound in the surround speakers and the orchestra and performers in front. One becomes Otello's ship as it careens into the dock. The intrumental timbres are as true and lifelike as I have ever heard. Because of the ablity of sacd to deliver the full frequency range, the chorus sounds clearer than any recording of Otello I have ever heard. The harmonies are at time startling in their accuracy and pungency. One is left marvelling at what a great orchestrator Verdi was.
But, this is not a great Otello. O'Neill sings all the notes well enough but is totally lacking in any sense of the drama of the words. Schwanewilms also sings the notes with no particular drama or insight. I have never heard a any singer perform Iago well but Finley shows promise. I look forward to hearing him at the Met in NYC when he attempts the role. Perhaps exposure in the theatre will give him that finish of dramatic insight he now lacks. As for Davis he is no Karajan whose Decca recording with Tebaldi and Del Monaco remain the standard by which any performance must be measured. (I continuie to hope that someone will reissue this legendary performance in sacd).
Lastly, why must the ballet always be deleted from this score? The music is excellent and Karajn includes it in his recording. It does not break the dramatic line but offers a brief respite before the final crushing climax of the Act.
Because of the superior sonics and adequate singing this is an sacd to purchase. If you have a surround system, you will be repeating the first scene a lot!
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Maxwell G. Paley on October 29, 2010
Format: Audio CD
I just read the review below and have to wonder what kind of equipment George Friend was listening on. I've found the sound to be absolutely stunning in its power and naturalism. I'm listening to the SACD multichannel layer on a Krell SACD player and processor feeding VTL amps with Wilson speakers (Maxx3 for the front left and right). The voices are startlingly clear and present but in a natural and coherent sound environment with the orchestra.

I think this is an electrifying performance. These singers aren't Vickers, Warren and Milanov but they - clearly with the help of the marvelous Colin Davis - have managed to successfully re-conceive this music to fit in with their more slender sounds and bring their own type of expression and subtlety to the music and words. Based on concert performances from December of 2009, this combines the musical detail and care of preparation that are very hard to achieve in staged opera with the adrenaline and energy you can't get in a pure "studio" peformance.

There are big advantages to having a real "symphony" orchestra rather than an "opera" orchestra in this music and there is playing of both exquisite refinement and tremendous voltage and power.

O'Neill is a bright voiced Otello who doesn't try to be larger than life but has a clarion quality to his upper register that allows him to register full impact in the big sections. Schwannewilms sings with instrumental purity and manages to be clear and straightforward and therefore touch the heart with her "Willow Song" and the clarity of her soaring line in the big Act 3 ensemble. Best of all, for me, is Gerald Finley's beautifully sung and finely crafted Iago. Manly and straightforward, clear and beautiful, he lets the characters inner rot be visible in careful strategic moments (like the "Credo"). It's a stunning piece of work.
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