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Giovanna D'Arco Box-Set

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Produktbeschreibungen

EMI 882192; EMI ITALIANA - Italia; Classica Lirica


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Format: Audio CD
Diese 1973 mit hervorragenden Interpreten wie Caballé, Domingo, Milnes unter der Leitung von James Levine mit dem London Symphony Orchestra eingespielte Fassung glänzt mit einem hervorragenden Chor (Ambrosian Opera Chorus) unter der Leitung von John McCarthy. Ein junger Placido Domingo interpretiert mit breitem Spektrum die Rolle des verliebten Dauphins Carlo, während Caballé mit einer sublimen Darbietung der einzigen weiblichen Rolle in dieser Oper ein hohes Maß an Glaubwürdigkeit verleiht. Sherill Milnes schafft es derweil der dramaturgisch schwierigen Rolle von Giovannas Vater Giacomo (Bariton) den notwendigen Glanz zu geben. Durch gelungene Akzentuierungen bringt er den inneren Konflikt Giacomos eindrucksvoll zum Ausdruck. Überzeugend ist bei dieser Einspielung auch der ausgewogene Klang, für den Christopher Parker verantwortlich ist, der auch bei anderen bekannten Londoner Einspielungen (z.B. Lanchbery: Swan Lake 1982) sein Können unter Beweis gestellt hat. Die hier erhältliche Fassung greift derweil auf die digitale Bearbeitung aus dem Jahre 1998 zurück. Sicherlich ist diese Einspielung ein idealer Einstieg in Verdis siebte Oper, weiterhin empfehlenswerte Alternativen wären freilich die Rundfunkaufnahme des Mailänder RAI-Orchesters aus dem Jahre 1951 unter der Leitung Alfredo Simonettos und mit Renata Tebaldi in der Hauptrolle (wobei Einschränkungen bei der Klangtechnik nicht zu vermeiden sind) sowie die Live-Aufnahme unter der Leitung von Carlo Franci aus dem Jahre 1972 mit der Orchester der Fenice und Katia Ricciarelli in der Rolle der Giovanna.
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Von loges am 15. Februar 2013
Format: Audio CD Verifizierter Kauf
Ich kann nicht verstehen, warum diese Oper von Verdi nicht bekannter ist und auch nicht in den Spielplänen der Opernhäuser zu finden ist. Ich habe die Oper Giovanna D'Arco auch erst mit dem Kauf dieser Einspielung kennengelernt. Ich kann nur sagen, dass es sich um eine ganz wunderbare und herrliche Oper von Verdi handelt. Beim ersten hören der Ouvertüre lief mir wahrlich ein Schauer über den Rücken, so herrlich ist diese Musik. Inzwischen hab ich die CD schon öfters gehört und diese Verdi Oper ist nun mit eine meiner liebsten von diesem Komponisten. Die musikalische Leitung hat James Levine und er dirigiert einen zügigen, kraftvollen und höchst musikalischen Verdi. Diese Musik hat ganz viele Ausbrüche in Form von großen Chorszenen. Es gibt wundervolle Arien und manchmal hat man das Gefühl tanzen zu wollen, so schwungvoll und schmissig ist diese Oper. Die Sänger sind Weltklasse und ganz fantastisch. Placido Domingo absolut klar und mit wunderbaren Höhen, Sherrill Milnes wie immer einmalig. Montserrat Caballe singt sowohl hochdramatisch als auch wunderbar lyrisch. Sie hat herrlichste Koloraturen und schönste Piani, die förmlich im Raum schweben.
Ich finde diese Verdi-Oper hat es echt verdient bekannter zu sein. Ich kann nur raten, sich diese Aufnahme zuzulegen und dann diese einmalige Oper zu geniessen. Diese Anschaffung wird man defintiv nicht bereuen.
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Ich liebe diese Oper. Es ist meine Lieblingsoper des unbekannten Verdi. Die Einspielung mit Caballe und Domingo ist einfach Klasse. Der Klang ist grossartig.
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Diese unbekannte Oper verdient es, wesentlich bekannter zu sein. Und sie kann gewiss nicht besser besetzt werden, als es hier geschehen ist.
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Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen auf Amazon.com (beta) (Kann Kundenrezensionen aus dem "Early Reviewer Rewards"-Programm beinhalten)

Amazon.com: 4.7 von 5 Sternen 5 Rezensionen
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5.0 von 5 Sternen A beautifully sung rare early Verdi opera 28. Januar 2014
Von BW - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verifizierter Kauf
This is an ideal recording of this seldom heard early Verdi opera, Giovanna D'Arco (Joan of Arc). Recorded in 1973... you'll hear Montserrat Caballe, Palcido Domingo and Sherrill Milnes in their prime singing glorous arias and duets. A must for all Verdi lovers.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen ... listen to Montserrat Caballe sing anything is an absolute delight. This CD is no is certainly no disappointment 18. August 2014
Von Peter - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verifizierter Kauf
To listen to Montserrat Caballe sing anything is an absolute delight. This CD is certainly no disappointment.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen The clear benchmark of an early Verdian jewel. 14. August 2014
Von Abert - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
This recording made in 1972 hardly shows its age with its clear and well-balanced ADD stereo sound.
A work composed not long after Nabucco, Giovanna d'Arco is an early Verdian piece, but certainly worth hearing for its energetic rhythms, brassy instrumentation, folklore like melodies and lyricism.
Never mind the plot, the music itself is enticing enough for a work lasting a bare 120 minutes (without cuts, that is).
Each lead gets a fair share of solo arias, just like the bygone days' opera seria. Cabalettas fly around, allowing ample room for interpolation and flaunting of high notes.
Of the three leads of Giovanna, Carlos VII and Giacomo, Caballe's Giovanna has the lion's share of interpolation glory, and here she is, floating her trademark pianissimi in pieces like 'O fatidica foresta', the most lyrical piece in the work, and the last trio 'Che mai fu-.il cielo', to fiery and patriotic outbursts. Montsy's voice is a pot of pure liquid gold, and her involvement alone would be worth the price of this set, let alone adding on a Placido Domingo in his early vocal prime, in which the voice is in its sweetest estate and totally unpushed. The high note at the end of the cabaletta of 'Pondo e latal, martiro' is rarely heard in Domingo's outputs in his more mature years. The meat of the score goes to the low voices, and Sherril MIlnes and Robert Lloyd offer beautiful basso singing, with Milnes sounding particularly characterful as Giovanna's father.
It is utterly unjustified to brush aside (without listening) the work as 'second rate' Verdi. The music is glorious, and the choral piece 'Ai, lari...Alla patria' was effectively 'recycled' into Verdi's late output 'The Requiem'.
A very young James Levine showed here the great promise as an operatic conductor, and eventually proved this fully.
This is likely to remain the benchmark of this neglected Verdian jewel for still some time to come, given the current Verdian decline
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4.0 von 5 Sternen A tale of three recordings 24. Oktober 2014
Von Joseph Rochetto - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
If you're interested in buying a verion of this seldom recorded/performed opera you basically have three choices: this version featuring Netrebko and Domingo in the baritone role; a live version from the 1950's starring Renata Tebaldi and Carl Bergonzi; and a 1972 version starring Monteserrat Caballe and Domingo in the tenor role. You can't go wrong with any of them and if you're a fan of one or the other of the artists in question don't hesitate, you will not be disappointed. However objectively some are better than others. In Chronological order then:

Caballe/Bergonzi 1950's: both singers are in gret form. The sound quality, while OK, is what you would expect from the 1950's; so if great audio is for you this is not the one to buy. I would also note that at 1 hour, 48 minutes this is no longer than the recent much criticized Netbreko/Domingo version. So something is cut from this; I'm not expert enough to tell you what. The singing is great however.

Caballe/Domingo 1970's: This, in my opinion, is the one to buy. It is the most complete. The sound is great, equal to sound form the 21st century; and both leads are in great form.

Netrebko/Domingo 2013: This sound on this is also great. Netrebko is great. Domingo is good as a baritone although as many critics have pointed out, he is not a true baritone. There are cuts but no more than the Tebaldi version.

So there you have it. If you have a favorite performer among these then by all means go with them. If you only want one version of the opera and are undecided, going with the Caballe/Domingo version. If you want a decent alternate version, any of them will do. Let your heart decide.

Oh yeah, the libretto is kind of stupid but the music is great.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen A really praiseworthy project recovering Verdi's "Giovanna" in all its artistic value and in excellent sound. 6. Januar 2013
Von Luca - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Surely, Temistocle Solera (1815-1878), although his undisputed ability in the art of reducing dramatic subjects to an operatic format, had to work hard to condense the very complicated "saga" concerning Jeanne d'Arc (1412-1431) within the narrow space of a libretto.
Traditionally, it is reported that Solera loosely based his work on Friedrich von Schiller's drama "Die Jungfrau von Orleans", published in 1801, but the librettist always claimed that his work was completely original (Tchaikovsky, while studying it for its own operatic reduction of the subject, had the same impression).
Schiller's drama had been already used for some preceding operatic reductions - among the others, Michele Carafa (Paris, 1821), Nicola Vaccai (Venice, 1827), Giovanni Pacini (La Scala, 1830) -, therefore some original improvements was expected.
Anyway, Schiller had composed his drama as a polemical counterattack against Voltaire's "La pucelle d'Orléans" (which was a sort of comic work debunking Joan's myth) and his work was in turn a loose interpretation, for philosophical and moralistic purposes, of Joan's biography.
It is also not clear which could have been Solera's other sources. In theory, in 1844-45, he could have had on his disposal the records of Joan's trials, published in 1841, and/or the extract, specifically concerning Jeanne's life, from Jules Michelet's "Histoire de France", published in 1841, and/or the first six volumes of the same "Histoire de France", published in 1843.
But what is important to underline here is that Schiller, Napoleon I (with evident political and anti-Britannic purposes), Michelet had just started the restoration of Jeanne's myth.
The steadier reconstruction of the figure of Jeanne d'Arc, as nowadays we know it, took place during the second half of the nineteenth century and the first decades of the twentieth century. The Bishop of Orléans proposed a petition for Jeanne's beatification in 1864. The beatification trial started in 1894, as Jeanne was titled "Venerable"; she was entitled "Blessed" in 1909 and "Saint" in 1920; she is Secondary Patroness of France, together with Sainte Thérèse de Lisieux - being the Primary Patroness Mary, the Mother of God - and Saint Patroness of telegraphy and radio.
From a socio-cultural point of view, the construction was steady consolidated by Charles Péguy's dramas and, from a historical point of view, by Anatole France by means of his critical biography of Joan.

Therefore, in 1801 (Schiller) or in 1844-45 (Solera-Verdi), Jeanne d'Arc's life was just a not well focused myth, something halfway between a historic and a legendary chain of events. As a consequence, in particular within the Italian cultural background (but not in the Papal State!) the story could be quite freely reinvented and reinterpreted for dramaturgical purposes.
But, very soon, this became no longer true. In other words, in this case, the operatic abstraction came just before an unpredictably powerful cultural, political and religious process that completely changed the status of Jeanne within the history, the culture and the religion.

All that Solera and Verdi had invented to make the subject "more fashionable" (an idealistic connection with Italian Risorgimento, the introduction of a sort of "romantic" love story, a different ending, etc.) or to match the exigences of the star Erminia Frezzolini (a preference for the higher part of the soprano range) very quickly, and, by far, more heavily then usual, turned against "Giovanna d'Arco" artistic longevity, being the approach evidently unsuitable, or even inappropriate, to the new "standing" of the topic.
As a matter of fact, in a few years, the subject will become very important and "delicate" and it will ask for a far more attentive and history-based treatment.

From this perspective, it is possible to better explain the relatively short permanence in the repertory of Verdi's seventh opera. As is known, "Giovanna d'Arco" premiere (La Scala, 14 February 1945; sop. Frezzolini, ten. Poggi, bar. Colini, harps. Verdi, leader Cavallini) was not welcomed by critics. Verdi, who was convinced of the quality of his work, attributed the fault to La Scala bad organization of the event, and this was one of the reasons of his longtime rupture with that theatre.
On the contrary, the audience acclaimed the work, which was reprised seventeen times. The opera successfully remained in the Italian operatic repertory for about twenty-five years; then, quite suddenly, it disappeared, which is consistent with the exponential growth of Jeanne d'Arc figure.
But it is also evident that the opera was immediately not suitable for a French audience, the same, obviously, for an English (in his Henry VI - Part 1, Shakespeare refers to Joan as a sort of witch able to evoke evil spirits, and, in any case, her myth was connected with a not brilliant page of English history) or a phil-Austrian ones. In the States it was premiered in 1966.

Therefore, it is only starting from WWII postwar period (it is not by chance that its first high level re-proposal is dated 1951) that we can actually regard Solera-Verdi's opera as what it was intended to be, that is just a "romantico-risorgimentale" melodramatic reinterpretation of a mystical-patriotic-heroic historical legend.
But, starting from that, what we are really interested in is to "explore" it, searching for its intrinsic and eternal human, spiritual and artistic values.

In my opinion, "Giovanna d'Arco" is not so bad as often stated. On the contrary, I think it is an actually worthy work, even if, surely, not an outstanding masterpiece.
It presents all the qualities to run for being regarded as the best of the first seven Verdi's operas and it is not worst than someone of the later ones. Surely, in comparison with "Nabucco" or "I Lombardi", it is hampered by the fact that it and its melodies do not belong to a collective cultural subconscious or background.

Anyway, from a musical point of view, it has a not banal overture, it presents some interesting and innovative reinterpretations of Bellini's and Donizetti's stylistic canons, some new harmonic and rhythmic experimentations, some anticipations of "Macbeth" in the interaction between human beings and supernatural powers, a very well managed alternation and mixing of epical, bucolic, emotional, mystical - related to individual or collective moods - themes. Vocal lines are not very catchy, but are quite original and attentively developed and opposed.

Also the libretto, very often considered the weakest point of this opera, if regarded following the right perspective, presents many worthy features.
As already pointed out, Solera had to tackle some very difficult problems. The "saga" was very complex and rich of events. Besides, its actors were very numerous (Schiller used twenty-seven characters and twelve scenes!) and their behaviors often contradictory. The many topics involved asked for a non-superficial treatment. All the thing had to last the (short) time allowed by the taste of the Italian audience, while it would have asked for a Wagnerian length. People awaited from Verdi a patriotic message (1948 was very near), some involving melodies and a romantic unlucky love story. Singers wanted their occasion. In other words: looking for a genius!
Maybe Solera was not a genius, but surely he was a very skillful librettist, a cultured man of letters and a good musician. He finds his solution by means of the use of a strong abstraction process and of "figurae".
He abstracts from the "saga" the main topics he wants to underline. Then, he uses his characters both as themselves (as "historical roles": Jeanne, the Dauphin Charles, Giacomo (?), Jeanne's father) and as "figurae" embodying collective main attitudes or moods. Giacomo IS Giovanna's father, but he also personifies the feelings of all those who, in good-faith, looked at her suspiciously and, finally, openly accused her. Carlo IS the King of France and he, as a man, loves Giovanna, but he also personifies the feelings of all those who believed in her, in spite of her official condemnation.
This way, Solera manages to use, in six scenes, only five characters (actually, three plus two minor ones) and the chorus (in different roles).
Obviously, through this process, characters lose most of their historical features, but Solera and Verdi were interested in a realistic reconstruction only within the limits that it served to give liveliness and a bit of credibility to the plot.
Solera chooses a non-historical Schiller-like ending; Giovanna does not die on the stake, as she had been condemned to, but as a consequence of the wounds of the last victorious battle. There are many reasons for this choice. One of them has political motivations. You will notice that in the libretto priests or, in general, characters belonging to the Church hierarchy are substantially absent. Indeed, the subject could be interpreted both in an anti-clerical and in a phil-clerical perspective. In those years, in Milan, Anticlericalism was prevalent, Verdi was substantially agnostic, but Solera was a "neoguelfo" (favorable to a political role of Church); the librettist, putting in the background the religious trial and saving Giovanna from her death on the stake, avoids a very delicate problem.
In conclusion, from a dramaturgical point of view, Solera libretto "works" and the story flows without many hindrances or awkwardnesses and, above all, it is not heavy and, contemporarily, not superficial.
From a poetical point of view, verses are carefully written and the metric works well with the music. They have a high power of synthesis, even if they are not particularly elegant. The vocabulary is fine, words are well chosen, and the general style is not heavy and it is less bombastic than in other contemporary poetry (it is also lighter and better refined than Maffei's translation of Schiller's drama).
Solera was anything but stupid and his proud claims to originality were not without motivations. His libretto is not a masterpiece, but considering all the constraints he had to face, it can be regarded as a very skillful work, the best feature of which is its capacity to bring you directly to the heart of the matter.

All that fully justifies the really praiseworthy 1972-73 EMI project, which, at long last, recovered this quite forgotten opera in a very good sound, using a stellar cast, a young, but already famed, conductor, a very fine orchestra and an excellent chorus.

Montserrat Caballé (b. 1933) is not my preferred soprano but, here, she is simply divine. From a musical point of view, the part seems to have been written just for her. Surely, a bit younger Caballé would have better fitted for the Pucelle with a fresher timbre, but we abundantly regain in terms of interpretative experience the little we lose in terms of youthfulness. Besides, Giovanna features an adult martial and mystical personality, and she is sexually mature (Jeanne named herself "pucelle" to stress her free choice of chastity).
Caballé is exceptional in giving an emotional sense to every embellishment and virtuoso passage of the part. She confidently takes the centre of a musical architecture built around the only feminine protagonist and she proposes an absolutely credible Giovanna, in her spiritual and patriotic fervor, in her female sensitiveness, in her firmness in looking for expiation. As previously pointed out, here Giovanna avoid to die on the stake she was condemned to, and she dies after she has saved once again her compatriots from a defeat. This solution allows Solera and Verdi to make us to assist at her transfiguration through the ecstasy of her supreme vision and to make her die as a heroic martyr and not as a witch. Similarly to the death of Marguerite, in Goethe's Faust, the scene (and here the opera) ends with the triumph of celestial powers and the disappointment of evil ones.
Also here, where the credibility of all the scene depends on the interpreter's ability, Montserrat Caballé demonstrates once again to be able to heighten vocal expression up to the sublime. Worth listening to!

Placido Domingo (n. 1941) in 1972 is in his youthful prime and he is perfectly aged to personify Charles VII (1403-1461), who, at the time of Jeanne's death, was twenty-eight years old.
Obviously, Solera-Verdi's Carlo has only a very few features to share with the historical Charles' personality and behaviour. All the rest is completely invented and romantically made up.
In the opera, Carlo behaves as an unmarried young man and he deeply falls in love with Giovanna. In the history, Charles VII had married Marie d'Anjou (1404-1463) in 1422 (whom he had thirteen children from), he had a passionate love story with Agnès Sorel (from whom he had three daughters), and, after this latter died, he had a relation with his cousin Antoinette de Maignelais.
Therefore, in Solera's work, Carlo is partly the historic Charles and mainly he is a narrative "figura", which embodies both what Giovanna had to avoid (a "terreno affetto") and all those who believed in her.
Besides, here Carlo is gentle, pious and, consequently very credible in causing Giovanna's temptation
Domingo is in the part, he is not a bit generic as in some other occasions, he sings exceptionally well and, above all, he well expresses, with his vocal warmth, Carlo's sweetness, also in accepting a merely spiritual friendship.

Sherill Milnes (b. 1935) not always completely satisfies me. On the contrary, here he is really excellent in rendering the troubled personality of Giacomo, Giovanna's old father.
In the libretto Giacomo is given an absolutely imaginary role, but, as already pointed out, he, even more than Carlo, is a narrative "figura", which represents himself and all those who defeated and, finally, accused Giovanna, but in good-faith and intimately and sincerely suffering while doing that.
Giacomo tries to conciliate his absolutist religious faith with his sincere fatherly love for Giovanna. He is a simple shepherd, who appears to be imprisoned by his own ignorance and who behaves on the basis of a coarse misunderstanding. He rationally think to have found the right solution in asking for Giovanna's condemnation, in order to allow her to expiate her sin and to save her soul.
Obviously, at an emotional level, the too theoretical idea cannot work and, consequently, he falls in a state of mental confusion, as explicitly stated in the stage direction introducing his meeting with Talbot: "Giacomo, il suo crine scomposto, i suoi atti dimostrano il disordino della mente."
He will recover his lucidity only in the ending, when he tardily, and with terrible pain, becomes aware of his tragic misjudgment.
Milnes, with rare mastery, manages to "arrange" his voice to perceptibly render, even only through it, Giacomo's interior distress and even the vein of mental disease which cracks his judgement capacity. A top level interpretation, which further enriches this excellent performance.

Robert Lloyd (b. 1940) is clearly "over-dimensioned" for the little role of Talbot and, as usual, he sings very well.
Keith Erwen is a reliable supporting role singer and he appropriately performs the minor part of Delil.

James Levine (b. 1943), during those years, was making his most important step up the ladder. He had not still reached a full interpretative maturity, but the stylistic elements which will characterize Levine's approach were already clearly present: an intense emotional involvement, a vivacious and colorful score reading, a vivid alternation between slow and fast tempos.
It is a not a rare opinion that here Levine often rushes a bit too much, maybe to give momentum to a score which still presents some youthful faults like, in particular, some tension losses. While the superb singers and the excellent chorus manage to follows the pace (sometimes you wonder how they can pronounce so well and breath!), here and there the orchestra is obliged to garble a bit its notes. Besides, the London Symphony Orchestra was not, and never will be, one of "his own" orchestras and, here and there, reciprocal understanding is not perfect.

In general terms, I think that one thing is to give impulse (that implies the sensation to win some kind of inertia or resistance), another different one is to hurry in a too light manner. In the second case, the risk is to empty the musical meaning in favor of a mere effect.
In Verdi, and in particular where metre is triple, the lightening caused by fast pace could lead to an operetta-like effect. Here Levine sometimes border on this limit ..., but obviously it is also a question of taste, and, in the young Verdi, brisk accelerations are not philologically incorrect. Indisputably, Levine works very well in lyrical and ecstatic passages, and he is exceptionally gifted in extracting from the score a rich range of colors, creating a warm and wrapping sensation.

The London Symphony Orchestra works at its usual high standards and it sounds warm and involving.

Here the chorus, in its different configurations, has an actually prominent role. It is a good occasion for the magnificent Ambrosian Opera Chorus and for the great John McCarthy to show all their wonderful capacities.

The sound (Abbey Road, VIII & IX 1972, stereo-analogic) is very nice and well balanced. This 2011 issue uses again the 1998 re-mastering, that is the one used for the preceding issue on CD (see: Verdi - Giovanna d'Arco (Joan of Arc)/ Caballé · Domingo · Milnes · LSO · Levine).
As usual in this EMI collection, the libretto is on the additional CD or it can be downloaded from the EMI Opera site.

In conclusion, five stars to the EMI project on the whole, enriched by one the best Caballé's recordings, while, in my opinion, Levine will propose some better and maturer performances.
I think this recording is the best first purchase and, for Caballé fans, a quite obligatory one.

For Verdi's fans, I think the second choice should be the 1951 recording with Tebaldi, Bergonzi, Panerai and the Milan RAI Orchestra conducted by Simonetto, with the warning that the sound is not very good.
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