Another full-bore Mozart performance with a tremendous cast and Karajan at the podium in Salzburg, 1974.
NR (Not Rated)
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
First the cast. I'd be thrilled to encounter most of these people today. Sciutti and Bruscantini were also rans I guess according to the other reviewer, except they were world famous for these roles and sang them everywhere. I think they are terrific here, both voices bounce out into the house very well, and they sound better than when the mic is too close as on commercial recordings. They and this Basilio, the great Hughes Cuenod recorded the opera commercially for EMI, with the wonderful Sena Jurinac (Mrs. Bruscantini at the time) as the Countess, and the conductor is Gui. That's been around very cheap and of course is better sounding than this.
In this recording I also like Casoni as Cherubino, a ripe Italian mezzo, when one also takes Cossotto into account (she recorded it with Giulini and that excellent recording is also available cheap) one has the feeling this kind of sexy sound is what Mozart had in mind.
Rescigno is a lively conductor and the performance...
I have to agree with nearly everything the first reviewer, Albert Innaurato, said. This is a fun performance, the cast is mostly idiomatic and practiced, and the sound is not very good. But I do not agree with his assessment of Caballe's performance. I think she sings extremely well and is usually clearly audible. More importantly, this performance reminds me of a comment by Maria Callas declaring that Mozart was "a master of bel canto" and that his works should be sung with a full tone and a sustained line. Caballe provides this in spades. I know some will disagree with this, but I enjoy hearing the great Mozart roles sung by a real spinto like Caballe, Price (Leontyne and Margaret), Rethberg, and even Tebaldi, as opposed to the purely lyrical approach of Schwartzkopf, TeKanawa, or Popp. I don't hear Caballe distorting the vowels, although I know she does drop a consonant or 2; it is a bad habit of hers. She also does marvelous things with dynamics, making "dove sono?" especially...
This set is quite phenonmenal: nearly all the protagonists turned up with exceptional vocal performances.
Cesare Siepi is a hearty Figaro. His opening duet with Gueden's Susanna could not be termed otherwise than 'singing like gods'. I don't care if he is a bass or a bass-baritone, or a baritone. Siepi is well-known to have owned such vibrant high notes that put baritones to shame.
His Figaro sounds warm, lusty and spirited. I have yet to find another one to sing a better version of 'Non piu andrai'. Under no circumstances would one mix up his portrayal of Figaro with that of Don Giovanni. Siepi is too-well seasoned an artist to mix up these two roles. They sounded so distinctively different on record that no one would ever think of taking one for the other.
Hilde Gueden's Susanna, in my view, is simply unsurpassed: not even by Popp or Bonney or whosoever nowadays. I would say she surpassed Irmgard Seefried before her (or her contemporary?)...
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