Composer: Giuseppe Verdi
Performer: Katia Ricciarelli, Placido Domingo, Elena Obraztsova, Renato Bruson, Gwinne Howell, Wladimiro Ganzarolli, Audrey Michael, Luigi de Corato
Orchestra: Royal Opera House Chorus and Orchestra
Conductor: Lorin Maazel
SPARS Code: A-D
Number of Discs: 2
Format: FLAC (tracks)
Label: Deutsche Grammophon
Size: 617 MB
02. Act 1. Scene 1. Introduzione
03. Act 1. Scene 1. Ti desta, Luisa, regina de’ cori
04. Act 1. Scene 1. Ecco mia figlia
05. Act 1. Scene 1. Lo vidi, e ‘l primo palpito
06. Act 1. Scene 1. T’amo d’amor ch’esprimere
07. Act 1. Scene 1. Scena. Ferma ed ascolta
08. Act 1. Scene 1. Aria. Sacra la scelta è d’un consorte
09. Act 1. Scene 1. Costarti, o vecchio debole
10. Act 1. Scene 1. Ah! fu giusto il mio sospetto!
11. Act 1. Scene 2. Scena. Che mai narrasti!
12. Act 1. Scene 2. Aria. Il mio sangue, la vita darei
13. Act 1. Scene 2. Scena. Padre… M’abbraccia… Portator son io
14. Act 1. Scene 2. Coro. Quale un sorriso d’amica sorte
15. Act 1. Scene 2. Scena e Duetto. Duchessa… Dall’aule raggianti di vano splendor
16. Act 1. Scene 3. Coro di cacciatori e Finale 1. Sciogliete i levrieri
17. Act 1. Scene 3. Del Conte di Valter figlio
18. Act 1. Scene 3. Tu, tu signor, fra queste soglie!
19. Act 1. Scene 3. Fra’ mortali ancora oppressa
20. Act 1. Scene 3. I cenni miei si compaiano
01. Act 2. Scene 1. Introduzione. Ah! Luisa, Luisa, ove sei?
02. Act 2. Scene 1. Scena. Il padre tuo… Finisci
03. Act 2. Scene 1. Aria. Tu puniscimi, o Signore
04. Act 2. Scene 1. Qui nulla s’attenta imporre al tuo core
05. Act 2. Scene 1. A brani, a brani, o perfido
06. Act 2. Scene 2. Scena. Egli delira, sul mattin degli anni
07. Act 2. Scene 2. Duetto. L’alto retaggio non ho bramato
08. Act 2. Scene 2. Scena. Vien la Duchessa!
09. Act 2. Scene 2. Quartetto. Presentarti alla Duchessa puoi, Luisa… Come celar le smarnie
10. Act 2. Scene 3. Scena. Il foglio dunque?… Io tutto già vi narrai
11. Act 2. Scene 3. Aria e Finale 2. Quando le sere al placido
12. Act 2. Scene 3. Di me chiedeste?… Appressati. Leggi
13. Act 2. Scene 3. L’ara, o l’avello apprestami
14. Act 3. Coro d’introduzione. Come in un giorno solo
15. Act 3. O dolce amica, e ristorar no vuoi di qualche cibo
16. Act 3. Scena e Duetto. Pallida, mesta sei… No, padre mio, tranquilla io son
17. Act 3. La tomba è un letto sparso di fiori
18. Act 3. Andrem, raminghi e poveri
19. Act 3. Scena e Preghiera. Ah! l’ultima preghiera in questo caro suolo
20. Act 3. Duetto. Piangi, piangi, il tuo dolore
21. Act 3. Donna, per noi terribile ora squillò… Maledetto il dì ch’io nacqui
22. Act 3. Terzetto finale. Padre, ricevi l’estremo addio
23. Act 2. Scene 3. Scena. Il foglio dunque?… Io tutto già vi narrai
24. Act 2. Scene 3. Aria e Finale 2. Quando le sere al placido
25. Act 2. Scene 3. Di me chiedeste?… Appressati. Leggi
26. Act 2. Scene 3. L’ara, o l’avello apprestami
27. Act 3. Coro d’introduzione. Come in un giorno solo
28. Act 3. O dolce amica, e ristorar no vuoi di qualche cibo
29. Act 3. Scena e Duetto. Pallida, mesta sei… No, padre mio, tranquilla io son
30. Act 3. La tomba è un letto sparso di fiori
31. Act 3. Andrem, raminghi e poveri
32. Act 3. Duetto. Piangi, piangi, il tuo dolore
33. Act 3. Donna, per noi terribile ora squillò… Maledetto il dì ch’io nacqui
34. Act 3. Terzetto finale. Padre, ricevi l’estremo addio
A true Black Horse.
‘Luisa Miller’ was among the first of Verdi’s earlier (pre-Rigoletto) operas to return to prominence following the Verdi revival in the 1950s and 1960s. Itsrather pastoral colour sets it on an unique intimacy that are at once distinct from the so-called ‘mighty triumvirate’ of 1851-3 of Rigoletto, Il Trovatore and La Traviata.
The recordings that are being recognized as best serving this piece were the 1964 Anna Moffo account on RCA, capturing Moffo at her limpid best, and with a supporting cast including Bergonzi, MacNeil, Verrett and Tozzi it’s not to be dismissed lightly.
The 1970s brought two famous studio accounts, one with Domingo and Ricciarelli on DG (sadly marred by rigid conducting), the other with Pavarotti, Milnes and Caballé on Decca, Caballé being slightly matronly in sound.
Domingo returned to the part with Levine on Sony in the 1980s, though the supporting cast is inferior, yielding inferior results, and also stars in a DVD of the opera with Renata Scotto from a Met broadcast (also on DG). There are also some decent live recordings, including one with Carreras and Ricciarelli.
However, this more recently released but old (1969, not 1974) live recording from the Italian radio archives has much to offer and in some respects supersedes all of the above.
Luciano Pavarotti far surpasses his achievement on the Decca recording in the role of Rodolfo, largely because he’s much more engaged with the opera as a drama in this earlier 1969 account.
Performing live to a studio audience injects the whole recording with more atmosphere than the Decca studio could provide, and because it was a radio broadcast rather than a pirate recording from a performance in an opera house, the sound is superior (and in stereo). There’s such passion, full tone and excitement from Pavarotti’s singing throughout – whether in the aria ‘Quando le sere al placido’ or in his thrilling contributions to the nail-biting first-act finale – that this is as good a reminder as any of why the Italian tenor at his best was an almost unrivalled all-time great.
In the title role, young Mexican soprano Gilda Cruz-Romo gives a very different interpretation to that of Caballé on Decca. It’s at once more dramatic and more forced. On the whole, Caballé’s vocal radiance is often preferred, but Cruz-Romo’s commitment is well suited to the spirit of the live radio performance, and she sounds younger, in the same youthful vein as Ricciarelli (with Domingo). Here is one of the very few recordings of this underrated Verdian soprano, captured at her prime.
Matteo Manuguerra’s portrayal of Miller, Luisa’s father, far outstrips that of Sherrill Milnes on Decca. Milnes was not at his best at the time of making that particular recording and has some tuning problems. Here, Manuguerra is ideally firm of tone, and much more menacing in the part, especially in the savage third act.
Almost his equal is Ferruccio Mazzoli as Wurm, making the most of this sinister and slimy role, and Raffaele Arié is vocally solid as Walter.
The crowning glory is the conducting of Peter Maag, who also conducted Pavarotti in the Decca recording but is here far more inspired. Maag drives the drama with tremendous energy and fiery intensity, and the Chor e Orchestra Sinfonica RAI di Torino sing and play superbly, with world-class distinction.
It may not boast the most lavish packaging, but this is an excellent and unexpectedly gripping recording that even Verdi novices will enjoy.
The sound is excellent for a live performance: vibrant, clean, and well balanced. There is some audience noise, but not enough to be seriously distracting, and there is virtually no stage noise.
The recording should be of interest to fans of red-blooded Verdi performances.