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Abbado: Verdi – Simon Boccanegra (2 CD, APE)

Abbado: Verdi - Simon Boccanegra (2 CD, APE)
Abbado: Verdi - Simon Boccanegra (2 CD, APE)

Composer: Giuseppe Verdi
Performer: Jose Van Dam, Nicolai Ghiaurov, Jose Carreras, Antonio Savastano, Maria Fausta Gallamini, Mirella Freni, Giovanni Foiani, Piero Cappuccilli
Orchestra: La Scala Theater Orchestra and Chorus
Conductor: Claudio Abbado
Audio CD
Number of Discs: 2
Format: APE (image+cue)
Label: Deutsche Grammophon
Size: 527 MB
Recovery: +3%
Scan: yes

Disc 1:
01. Prologue – Che dicesti? (Paolo, Pietro, Simone, Coro)
02. Prologue – L’altra magion vedete? (Paolo, Pietro, Coro)
03. Prologue – “A te l’estremo addio” – “Il lacerato spirito”
04. Prologue – Suona ogni labbro il mio nome (Simone, Fiesco)
05. Prologue – Oh, de’Fieschi implacata, orrida razza (Simone, Fiesco, Paolo, Pietro, Coro)
06. Act 1 – (Preludio)
07. Act 1 – Come in quest’ora bruna (Amelia)
08. Act 1 – Cielo di stelle orbato (Gabriele, Amalia, Ancella, Pietro)
09. Act 1 – Propizio ei giunge! (GAbriele, Fiesco)
10. Act 1 – Il Doge vien (Gabriele, FIesco, Doge, Paolo, Amelia)
11. Act 1 – “Orfanelle il tetto umile” “Figlia! … a tal nome io palpito” (Amelia)
12. Act 1 – Che rispose? (Paolo, Doge, Pietro)
13. Act 1 – Messeri, il re di Tartaria (Doge, Paolo, Pietro, Gabriele, AMelia, Fiesco, Coro)
14. Act 1 – Ferischi! (Amelia, Doge, Coro)
15. Act 1 – Amelia, di come fosti rapita (Doge, Amelia, Gabriele, Paolo, Pietro, Fiesco, Coro)
16. Act 1 – Plebe! Patrizi! (Doge, Amelia, Fiesco, Gabriele, Paolo, Pietro, Coro)
17. Act 1 – Ecco la spada (Gabriele, Doge, Paolo, Amelia, Fiesco, Pietro, Coro)

Disc 2:
01. Act 2 – Quei due vedesti? (Paolo, Pietro)
02. Act 2 – Prigoniero in qual loco m’adduci? (Fiesco, Paolo)
03. Act 2 – Udisti? …Vil disegno! (Paolo, Gabriele)
04. Act 2 – Tu qui? … Amelia! (Amelia, Gabriele)
05. Act 2 – Figlia? … Si afflitto, o padre mio? (Doge, Amelia)
06. Act 2 – Oh! Amelia … ami … un nemico (Doge, Gabriele, Amelia)
07. Act 2 – All’armi, all’armi, o Liguri (Coro, Amelia, Gabriele, Doge)
08. Act 3 – Evviva il Doge! (Coro, Capitano, Fiesco, Paolo)
09. Act 3 – M’ardon le tempia (Doge, Fiesco)
10. Act 3 – Piango, perché mi parla (Fiesco, Doge)
11. Act 3 – chi veggo? (Amelia, Doge, Gabriele, Fiesco)
12. Act 3 – Gran Dio, li benedici

This is Opera! This is Verdi!

This is the Verdi opera that separates the casual admirer from the dyed-in-the-wool devotee. Once you put on this recording and listen half way through, you will feel that you have died and gone to Verdi Heaven, and you know what – for all intents and purposes, you have! A strong, strong story…a score that gets better by the minute…a cast and conductor to die for…it is truly a Masterpiece. This is It! This is Opera!

Unfortunately, none of us in our lifetime will ever see on stage a company like this one. Cappuccilli, Mirella Freni, Ghiaurov, Jose Carreras…van Dam, Foiani, Savastano conducted by Claudio Abbado. Simply Awesome! The critics, the fans knew at the time that this performance was a milestone…it was this company…it was this performance that brought Simon Boccanegra back to the stage and established it as one of Giuseppe Verdi’s finest creations. The problem is when will the world ever see a company perform at this level again? (Probably, like Haley’s comet…once every 76 years! The historic 1939 performance with Tibbett and Pinza is the only exception and it is only sporadically available, and often in truncated editions.) Verdi himself didn’t see it. The opera bombed when it was first performed. You need two bass, two baritones, one tenor and one soprano, and they all have to be the very best!!! Verdi loved this opera – he knew he could make it better. Twenty years after its first debut, he and Arrigo Boito brought out a new, revamped version which was received much better.

The orchestral scoring is mature and beautiful. The strings in the opening Prologue suggest sea waves washing up on shore. The instrumental opening of the First Act provides a gentle bucolic softness which perfectly sets the stage for the appearance of Amelia, the long-lost daughter of the Doge of Genoa. In Boccanegra, Verdi composed an opera which utilizes the lower male voices of baritone and bass. One of the pleasures of listening to this opera is hearing the darker sounds of the orchestra – the strings, the violas, and double-basses along with the male voices which resemble the tonal color of the oboe and bassoon. And when we hear the lighter tones of the soprano (Freni) and tenor (Carreras) it is as if their arias and duets are beautiful clear gems set upon a dark background or as the sails of ships at sea would appear on the dark waves of the Genoese harbor.

How many stars should this recording get? As many stars as one can see on a clear summer night’s sky from the Lighthouse of Genoa!

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