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Comment: two-disc set with 31-page booklet in English, German & French; jewel case is in excellent condition; discs are mint/near mint
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  • Verdi: I Vespri Siciliani
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Verdi: I Vespri Siciliani Import


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Audio CD, Import, January 8, 2008
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Product Details

  • Conductor: Erich Kleiber
  • Composer: G. Verdi
  • Audio CD (January 8, 2008)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: Import
  • Label: Testament UK
  • ASIN: B000VX1QJA
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #447,597 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Disc: 1
1. A Te, Ciel Natio
2. Qual S'Offre Al Mio Sguardo
3. E Battuto Dai Venti
4. O Donna!
5. Qual E Il Tuo Nome?
6. Ah, Fuggi! Fuggi! Il Tel Comando!
7. O Patria, O Cara Patria
8. O Tu, Palermo, Terra Adorata
9. Miei Fidi Amici, Alfine Io Vi Riveggo!
10. Quale, O Prode, Al Tuo Coraggio
See all 20 tracks on this disc
Disc: 2
1. Il Ballo Delle Quattro Stagioni (L'Estate/L'Autunno)
2. Il Ballo Delle Quattro Stagioni (L'Estate/L'Autunno)
3. O Splendide Feste!
4. Colpo Orrendo, Inaspettato!
5. E Di Monforte Il Cenno!
6. Giorno Di Pianto, Di Fier Dolore!
7. O Sdegni, Tacete!
8. Arrigoq Ah, Parli A Un Core
9. Pensando A Me, Pensando A Me!
10. Alma Leal, Sollievo Al Nostro Martir
See all 20 tracks on this disc

Editorial Reviews

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By phaedrus on September 11, 2008
This issue does have marginally better sound than the others which have been available going back to the LP pirate issues; however in order to fit it onto 2 CDs, not only did they omit the overture, but they excised about 90 seconds of the Act III ballet music. An unfortunate choice for what should have been the best-sounding and most complete documentation of an important historic performance. Let's hope they rectify this error.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Shahrdad Khodamoradi on April 12, 2008
Verified Purchase
Compared to the previously available recordings of this performance, this issue sounds like a veil has been lifted off the sound. Some of the high end hiss has been digitally removed, and along with that, some of the brightness of the upper notes, but this is not too distracting. Callas is incredible and the rest of the cast is also good. It's a must-have for any admirer of Callas or Verdi.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Matt Mangialetti on January 18, 2008
This sound recording is entirely redone -- using new masters. The sound is brilliantly clear with really no grain/static at all -- hard to believe that it is live in 1951! Maria Callas is in superb form as Elena -- she was only 28 years old -- that in itself is unheard of. I suggest this recording to anyone who is interested in furthering their knowledge of Verdi, Maria Callas and of bel canto in its most divine form.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Santa Fe Listener HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on February 8, 2010
I think there's consensus that Vespri is a flawed and overlong opera, so it's likely to be bought mostly by collectors and Verdi aficionados. If that's the case, there's much to be said for acquiring this historic set from 1951. Between them, Callas and Erich Kleiber carry the performance with their intensity. It goes a long way to getting the listener past long stretches of less than inspired music and singing. Christoff bawls, but that's his style in Verdi. The tenor and supporting cast are adequate but grow more tiresome as the performance goes on. As for the sound, it's AM radio all the way. One's choice comes down to this expensive reissue, which is thin and bright, or Opera d"oro's much cheaper version, which is duller but to me gar more listenable.

As for rivals, there are principally two. On RCA there is Levine's spirited conducting and Domingo as a committed Arrigo in good, youthful voice. But the Elena of Martina Arroyo, as so often with her, is dramatically inert despite the fine native qualities of the voice. I don't see how Vespri can survive without a gran' diva to carry the day (Caballe was scheduled but backed out). On EMI Muti leads a rambunctious live recording -- his crowd is even noisier than the one heard here -- where the sound drops when singers move off mike. Cheryl Studer is in good voice during her short prime in the 80s, and although identified with German repertoire, she was the miracle soprano of the day and in fact handles herself quite well. Chris Merritt as Arrigo is an also ran; Zancanaro and other supporting male voices are fine.

With an imperfect array of choices, I plump for Callas because she's Callas and Kleiber because he's nearly at his best. The rest is fairly incidental. We await a great Vespri all around, and my bet is that it will be close to doomsday before it appears.
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5 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Ralph Moore TOP 500 REVIEWER on May 11, 2008
Yes; I know this is an improvement on previous issues as it is from a different source and yes, of course Callas - and indeed her co-singers - are great but I confess that, having read previous reviews, I was expecting better sound. It is still pretty dim, grim and distant; quite often the singers are a long way off mike and it is still very "boxy". I am used to old, live recordings - I have plenty of them, including some of the less than ideal Opera d'Oro sets - and I appreciate that this is getting on for sixty years old - but I am still a little disappointed, especially as this edition is not cheap.

Enough moaning - but I just want those who are not die-hard opera aficionados to be aware of the potential for some let-down. Otherwise, this is Callas in her youthful prime; those inimitable inflections are already apparent and the top notes are still very much in place. Her supporting cast is fine; Christoff is his usual imposing self - never exactly italianate, as his tone is too obviously Slavic entirely to convince, but it's a beautiful sound. Mascherini is the real thing: a flexible, vibrant Italian baritone and Kokolios-Bardi is more than adequate - unsurprising as Callas especially requested him for this performance, having sung often with him in her Athens days. Kleiber is wholly in control and in the right, swash-buckling idiom for this large-scale opera with its big, choral set-pieces, ensembles and grand gestures.

I should mention that the overture is not included here. This issue was made from a private tape-recording made for Walter Legge, which passed into the collection of Lord Harewood. Legge was primarily interested in the singers, hence the overture was not recorded.
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