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Verdi: Otello [Import]

Verdi , Ramon Vinay , Herva Nelli , Giuseppe Valdengo , Virginio Assandri , Leslie Chabay , Nicola Moscona , Arthur Newman , Arturo Toscanini , NBC Symphony Orchestra & Chorus Audio CD
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)


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Product Details

  • Orchestra: NBC Symphony Orchestra & Chorus
  • Conductor: Arturo Toscanini
  • Audio CD (September 28, 1999)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: Import
  • Label: Arkadia
  • ASIN: B00001R3E9
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,628,618 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Disc: 1
1. Act I: Una Vela! Una Vela!... - NBC Sym Chor/Peter J. Wilhousky/Arthur Newman/Virginio Assandri/Giuseppe Valdengo/Leslie Chabay
2. Act I: Esultate! L'orgoglio Musulmano... - Ramon Vinay/NBC Sym Chor/Peter J. Wilhousky
3. Act I: Roderigo, Ebben, Che Pensi?... - Giuseppe Valdengo/Leslie Chabay
4. Act I: Fuoco Di Gioia!... - NBC Sym Chor/Peter J. Wilhousky/Giuseppe Valdengo/Virginio Assandri/Leslie Chabay
5. Act I: Innaffia L'ugola!... - Giuseppe Valdengo/Virginio Assandri/NBC Sym Chor/Peter J. Wilhousky/Leslie Chabay/Arthur Newman
6. Act I: Abbasso Le Spade!... - Ramon Vinay/Giuseppe Valdengo/Virginio Assandri/Arthur Newman
7. Act I: Gia Nella Notte Densa... - Ramon Vinay/Herva Nelli
8. Act I: Venga La Morte!... - Ramon Vinay/Herva Nelli
9. Act II: Non Ti Crucciar. Se Credi A Me... - Giuseppe Valdengo/Virginio Assandri
10. Act II: Credo In Un Dio Crudel... - Giuseppe Valdengo
See all 16 tracks on this disc
Disc: 2
1. Act III: La Vedetta Del Porto Ha Segnalato... - Ramon Vinay/Giuseppe Valdengo
2. Act III: Dio Ti Giocondi, O Sposo... - Herva Nelli/Ramon Vinay
3. Act III: Esterrefatta Fisso Lo Sguardo Tuo Tremendo... - Herva Nelli/Ramon Vinay
4. Act III: Dio! Mi Potevi Scagliar Tutti I Mali... - Ramon Vinay/Giuseppe Valdengo
5. Act III: Vieni; L'aula E Deserta... - Giuseppe Valdengo/Virginio Assandri/Ramon Vinay
6. Act III: Quest' E Il Segnale... - Giuseppe Valdengo/Virginio Assandri/Ramon Vinay/NBC Sym Chor/Peter J. Wilhousky
7. Act III: Il Doge Ed Il Senato Salutano L'eroe... - Nicola Moscona/Ramon Vinay/Herva Nelli/Nan Merriman/Giuseppe Valdengo/Leslie Chabay
8. Act III: A Terra!...E Piangi!... - Ramon Vinay/Herva Nelli
9. Act III: Quella Innocente Un Fremito D'odio Non Ha... - Nan Merriman/Leslie Chabay/Virginio Assandri/Nicola Moscona/NBC Sym Chor/Peter J. Wilhousky...
10. Act IV: Era Piu Calmo?... - Nan Merriman/Herva Nelli
See all 15 tracks on this disc

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Greatest "Otello" on Records February 25, 2000
I have had a love-hate relationship with this recording, and Toscanini in general, since I began listening to classical recordings in 1966. Part of my displeasure, however, was due to the phony echo which was overlaid on the original masters - and which RCA took 30 years to correct. Fortunately, for the new reissue on Gold Seal CDs, they went to the original masters in the Library of Congress, which had the cleanest and most forward sound.
Vinay is not the subtlest of Otellos - that honor goes to Jon Vickers - and he is a little too loud at the beginning of the Love Duet, but otherwise he presents the suffering Moor with excellent phrasing and plenty of voice. Nelli's Desdemona is lilting and fragile, remarkable for a big-voiced soprano more comfortable with Aida. And Valdengo, the most underrated baritone of the 1940s, gives a surprisingly vivid, Tito Gobbi-like performance of Iago here (I'm sure Toscanini must have coached him, since after all he was in the pit of the premiere performance and heard the great Victor Maurel in the part).
Yet the reason I keep returning to this performance is Toscanini. In places, he actually conducts some of the music SLOWER than you're used to hearing, but throughout he brings out the inner voices with a clarity and chamber-music-like sonority that is still unmatched today. My only complaint is that cellist Frank Miller, usually superb, plays the opening phrases of the Love Duet music somewhat stiffly. Otherwise, this is one of those recordings, like the 1940 Missa Solemnis with Milanov and Bjorling, that makes you really believe that this was the greatest conductor of the century.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not perfect, yet still the best Otello on disks. February 11, 2000
How do I begin? Perhaps by saying that I have lived with this "Otello," in ALL its various incarnations, since 1969--a good 31 years--and, while I have preferred the singing of this one or that over the principal artists here, no recording of the opera satisfies me as much.
To start with the nit-picks: the cello solo that starts "Gia nella notte densa" is not as lyrical and relaxed as it could have been (a surprise, since Frank Miller was one of the NBC Symphony's premiere first-chair players). Ramon Vinay, though possessed of an outstanding heroic tenor voice in 1947 (and one eminently suited to Otello), is not soft enough in the Love Duet nor subtle enough in "Dio ti giocondi" or "Dio! Mi potevi scagliar." And, of course, we are stuck here with Studio 8-H, 1947 sound, which was far from optimum even in its day.
That being said, WHAT A GORGEOUS PERFORMANCE THIS IS. Old Toscanini (80 years old at the time) never gave a more sensitively shaped or meticulously articulated performance than this one, and never once does he crush or crunch the music as he did in "Traviata" or parts of "Aida" (though the much inferior music of "Aida" is actually helped in places by his dramatic urgency). Herva Nelli, a soprano who was vilified in her day, leaves one wondering why. Her singing has everything one can ask for: good tone, technique, elegance, eloquence, shaping and shading. I put her on an equal with Gabriella Tucci and Martina Arroyo as one of the best spinto sopranos I have ever heard (and I heard both Tucci and Arroyo in person).
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Greatest "Otello" on Records February 25, 2000
I have had a love-hate relationship with this recording, and Toscanini in general, since I began listening to classical recordings in 1966. Part of my displeasure, however, was due to the phony echo which was overlaid on the original masters - and which RCA took 30 years to correct. Fortunately, for the new reissue on Gold Seal CDs, they went to the original masters in the Library of Congress, which had the cleanest and most forward sound.
Vinay is not the subtlest of Otellos - that honor goes to Jon Vickers - and he is a little too loud at the beginning of the Love Duet, but otherwise he presents the suffering Moor with excellent phrasing and plenty of voice. Nelli's Desdemona is lilting and fragile, remarkable for a big-voiced soprano more comfortable with Aida. And Valdengo, the most underrated baritone of the 1940s, gives a surprisingly vivid, Tito Gobbi-like performance of Iago here (I'm sure Toscanini must have coached him, since after all he was in the pit of the premiere performance and heard the great Victor Maurel in the part).
Yet the reason I keep returning to this performance is Toscanini. In places, he actually conducts some of the music SLOWER than you're used to hearing, but throughout he brings out the inner voices with a clarity and chamber-music-like sonority that is still unmatched today. My only complaint is that cellist Frank Miller, usually superb, plays the opening phrases of the Love Duet music somewhat stiffly. Otherwise, this is one of those recordings, like the 1940 Missa Solemnis with Milanov and Bjorling, that makes you really believe that this was the greatest conductor of the century.
Read more ›
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