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Verdi: Nabucco Original recording reissued

4.6 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Original recording reissued, September 10, 2002
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Editorial Reviews

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Nabucco (the real name is Nabucodonosor, but no opera lover ever uses it) was Verdi's first big international success and got him back on the track composing operas after a series of family tragedies had made him decide to stop. It has one of his all-time hits, the great chorus "Va, pensiero," and a melodramatic story of a love triangle set against the background of the conquest of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar and the Hebrews' "Babylonian captivity." Tito Gobbi, one of the century's great singing actors, had aged vocally by the time this recording was made, but still powerfully portrays the Assyrian king who defies God, is driven mad, and recovers his sanity just in time to save the Jewish slaves and the young lovers from a mass execution. The cast and conducting are variable though generally good--with Elena Suliotis giving a burned-out, Callas-imitating performance--but this show is essentially Gobbi's. --Joe McLellan
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Product Details

  • Conductor: Lamberto Gardelli
  • Composer: G. Verdi
  • Audio CD (September 10, 2002)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: Original recording reissued
  • Label: Decca
  • ASIN: B0000041RU
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #146,819 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By D. Bennett on October 17, 2005
Format: Audio CD
Nabucodonosor (Nabucco) is a hugely attractive role for dramatic baritones such as Tito Gobbi;the entire role is wionderfully emotive, not least his Mad Scene and a wonderful duet with Abigaille. Gobbi was still in good voice in 1965 - he is even better here that in his second Tosca recording with Callas - his portrayal oozes with class and his use of Italian is inspired.

Abigaille is sung by Elena Souliotis. I disagree with Joe McLellan's review over Souliotis' portrayal. 1) That she is "burned-out" - although I would agree with this description for Souliotis later in her career for she did ruin her voice early on - I would emphatically not say that about this recording - her finest moment in the studio in my opinion, and certainly in her 'prime'. 2) That she was imitating Callas - Every dramatic soprano singing Abigaille sounds similar in that blazing high notes and wonderful chest notes are all part and parcel with the role's requirements- I feel that Souliotis sounds much like Dimitrova (Sinopoli) and many other dramatic sopranos in the role besides Callas -- maybe ALL the sopranos copied Callas?...I think not.

The rest of the cast are very vivid and - although rather less starry than on Sinopoli's version e.g. Domingo, Lucia Popp - they give very fine portrayals and the chorus is, thankfully, superb - "Va pensiero!" is one of many highlights.

Gardelli is the equal of Riccardo Muti in terms of conducting and quite an improvement over Sinopoli who makes the opera sound very bombastic.

My recommendations for Nabucco are:

1) Gobbi, Souliotis with Gardelli (best overall)

2) Manuguerra, Scotto with Muti (a very exciting recording)

3) Cappuccilli, Dimitrova with Sinopoli (Cast generally very fine especially Cappuccilli but Sinopoli is not best conductor)

Highly recommended
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Format: Audio CD
Finally, amazon releases this 1965 in great sound quality decca Nabucco. Though I admire the later DG version with the grand Ghena Dimitrova as Abigaille, this earlier account remains my favourite.
First and foremost its leading soprano, Elena Soulioti is heard here at her very best! I really couldn't get enough of her glorious, powerful, yet beautiful voice not to mention the pathos with which she performed! Many accused her of trying to imitate Maria Callas and though Elena does use some of Callas' tricks, chest notes for example, her instrument has something Callas never had: beauty. Elena nails the high notes perfectly and right after that, she sings warmly and gently (Ben io t'invenni...Anch'io dischiuso un giorno). The "salgo gia del trono aurato.." follows and offers unrivalled excitement! In my opinion, had Souliotis been more careful those years (had she avoided performing roles like Abigaille and Lady Macbeth so often, despite that these were the roles she was born to sing), she would have become greater than Callas even if this does sound a bit too much to say.
Like Elena IS Abigaille there is no doubt that Gobbi IS Nabucco. In spite of the fact that he recorded the role somewhat late in his career one can still hear what a great actor and singer he was! Listen to his duet with Abigaille "Deh perdona" and you can feel the chemistry between them. He enriched each role with his special touch and Nabucco was no exception! The rest are also great but this is a Souliotis-Gobbi show! Conductor Gardelli is superb and adds this Nabucco to his famous, supreme early-Verdi recordings (mostly available by Philips)
On the whole, this is the definite Nabucco recording that should be in every opera collection.
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Format: Audio CD
First, Tito Gobbi in the title role is superb. He definitely acts with his voice (although, for example, Bastianini's voice may be more beautiful), and his (Gobbi's) portrayal of the Babylonian King that is at first arrogant tyrant, later punished with madness, and repentant at the end, is really expressive and dramatically convincing (especially his Dio di Giuda).

Let's proceed with another demanding role, that of the vicious and jealous Abigaille, that is marvellously, astonishingly sung and acted by the Greek soprano Elena Souliotis (even though she ruined her voice later because of singing her too often), but here she sings the hell out of the role! All the complexity and nuances of the role are definitely present in her huge, voluminous, dark-coloured, rich voice: from the raging passion, jealousy (and hatred!) in the Act I trio with Ismaele and Fenena, through the violent impulse of hatred and vengeance in Act II, when she discovers she is merely Nabucco's illegitimate daughter (Ben io t'invenni), (being pleasantly soft in the lyrical moments), as well as her tempestuous duet with Nabucco. She is equally impressive in the tragic moments of her remorse, repentance and death. (Su me, morente, esanime) There she begs her sister Fenena and, later God, for forgiveness in the heartfelt and above all lyrical and soft singing. In short, Souliotis' Abigaille is undoubtedly dramatically deeply nuanced.

The reverent religious figure of Zaccaria, the Hebrew High Priest, is performed by the great, impressive and undeniably convincing "basso profondo" Carlo Cava, both his Act I aria and prayer sung with great piety.
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