SONY CLASSICAL ADDS TO ITS ACCLAIMED SERIES OF METROPOLITAN OPERA ARCHIVAL BROADCAST RECORDINGS WITH FOUR NEW SETS ON CD FOR THE FIRST TIME HISTORIC BROADCASTS REMASTERED ON CD FROM THE MET ARCHIVES: ERNANI (1962), CAVALLERIA RUSTICANA & PAGLIACCI (1964), L'ELISIR D'AMORE (1966) AND LUISA MILLER (1968)
THE FIRST OFFICIAL RELEASE OF PERFORMANCES BY SUCH ICONIC ARTISTS AS MONTSERRAT CABALLÉ, EILEEN FARRELL, ROBERTA PETERS, LEONTYNE PRICE, CARLO BERGONZI, FRANCO CORELLI, RICHARD TUCKER, CORNELL MACNEIL, SHERRILL MILNES AND GIORGIO TOZZI
"THE MAGIC OF A BYGONE ERA" — OPERA NEWS
ALL AVAILABLE JANUARY 17, 2012
Sony Classical, in its ongoing partnership with the Metropolitan Opera, adds to its popular series of releases drawn from the illustrious Met archives with four multi-disc sets that represent the first official release on CD of historic Saturday afternoon radio broadcasts dating from 1962 to 1968. On January 17, 2012, Sony Classical issues complete live performances – freshly remastered from the original sources – of Verdi's Ernani (1962); the classic double bill of Mascagni's Cavalleria Rusticana and Leoncavallo's Pagliacci (1964); Donizetti's L'Elisir d'Amore (1966); and Verdi's Luisa Miller (1968).
The four new CD sets star such Golden Age vocal talent as Montserrat Caballé, Eileen Farrell, Roberta Peters, Leontyne Price, Carlo Bergonzi, Franco Corelli, Richard Tucker, Cornell MacNeil, Sherrill Milnes, and Giorgio Tozzi, conducted by Met stalwarts Thomas Schippers and Nello Santi. Sony Classical series of releases from the Met archives – now totaling 28 titles on CD and DVD – has earned international praise for making vintage live performances available in the best possible sound. Writing on his enthusiastic anticipation of the must-have gems in this series, Anthony Tommasini of The New York Times declared: "The CDs that plumb the Met's archives are the big news. . . I'd better start making room on my shelves."
First official, remastered CD and digital release: These historic performances, originally broadcast via the Metropolitan Opera's Saturday afternoon radio series, have never before been available in authorized versions. Sony Classical continues to present the first commercial releases of this invaluable material, newly remastered from the original sources and with the imprimatur of the Met.
VERDI: ERNANI, December 1, 1962 (two CDs; UPC: 886919099621). Verdi’s Robin Hood-like tale of politics and ill-fated love features Carlo Bergonzi in a truly bravura performance as Ernani, Verdi’s dashing outlaw of Aragon. Leontyne Price is stunning as Elvira, Ernani’s great love and also the object of affections from both Don Carlo – sung by Cornell MacNeil – and de Silva, sung by Giorgio Tozzi. Thomas Schippers conducts the Met Orchestra and Chorus. Writing in The New York Times, critic Alan Rich praised Bergonzi for "the beauty of his voice and the intelligence of his stage presence" in his initial Met run as Ernani, though the critic added that the tenor "was by no means the least of the reasons for considering the entire evening a thrilling experience. This was operatic performance at the flood tide of its glory."
MASCAGNI: CAVALLERIA RUSTICANA & LEONCAVALLO: PAGLIACCI, April 11, 1964 (two CDs; UPC: 886919099928). In Cavalleria Rusticana, the first half of opera’s most famous double feature, Eileen Farrell sings the role of the ill-fated Santuzza in what would be her final Met broadcast. Richard Tucker portrays the faithless Turiddu. Pagliacci features Franco Corelli as Canio, the actor who must make his audience laugh while he himself is consumed by jealous despair and violent heartbreak. This was Corelli’s only Met broadcast performance in one of opera's most famous tenor roles. Nello Santi conducts the Met Orchestra and Chorus in this thrilling performance of opera’s classic verismo double-header.
DONIZETTI: L'ELISIR D'AMORE, March 5, 1966 (two CDs; UPC: 886919099126). The great Carlo Bergonzi brings quintessential Italian style to Donizetti's effervescent comedy as Nemorino, the everyman villager smitten with the beautiful, beguiling Adina. Roberta Peters exudes such charm and vivacity in the role of the flirtatious Adina that it's easy to feel Nemorino’s pain as his advances are rebuffed. The New York Times lauded Peters' stage presence and stunning vocalism in her performances of the role. Frank Guarrera brings just the right amount of swagger to the part of Sergeant Belcore, Nemorino’s rival for Adina’s affections. The great basso buffo Fernando Corena provides fine comic touches as Dr. Dulcamara, a traveling charlatan who provides the magic elixir that wins the day for Nemorino. Thomas Schippers leads the Met Orchestra and Chorus, bringing the marvelous colors of Donizetti's score to life.
VERDI: LUISA MILLER, February 17, 1968 (two CDs; UPC: 886919099423). In its first appearance at the Met in nearly 40 years, Verdi's underrated Luisa Miller comes to life with a dream cast. Soprano Montserrat Caballé portrays the titular heroine, a simple peasant girl in love with Rodolfo, son of a powerful nobleman. In The New York Times, Harold Schonberg enthused that Caballé possessed "one of the most beautiful pianissimos before the public, and she uses it lavishly" to depict the heartbreaking nuances of her character's plight. As Rodolfo, Richard Tucker is both passionate and vulnerable – the ideal romantic hero. Sherrill Milnes as Miller, Luisa’s father, gives a performance of such gravitas and authority it’s easy to see why he is considered one of the greatest-ever Verdi baritones. Ezio Flagello as Wurm and Giorgio Tozzi as Count Walter (Rodolfo’s father) provide just the right amount of menace as the men whose scheming brings the opera to a tragic end. The Times review lauded the conducting of Thomas Schippers as yielding "a fast-moving, energetic performance."
For more information on the Metropolitan Opera, please visit www.metopera.org.
PREVIOUS TITLES IN SONY CLASSICAL'S MET SERIES:
Donizetti: La Fille du Régiment (2 CDs)
Conducted by Gennaro Papi; with Lily Pons, Raoul Jobin, Salvatore Baccaloni, Irra Petina
Ambroise Thomas: Mignon (2 CDs)
Conducted by Wilfred Pelletier; with Risë Stevens, Ezio Pinza, Mimi Benzell, James Melton
Bizet: Carmen (2 CDs)
Conducted by Fritz Reiner; with Risë Stevens, Richard Tucker, Nadine Conner, Paolo Silveri.
Offenbach: Les Contes d'Hoffmann (2 CDs)
Conducted by Pierre Monteux; with Richard Tucker, Roberta Peters, Lucine Amara, Mildred Miller, Martial Singher
Verdi: Un Ballo in Maschera (2 CDs)
Conducted by Dimitri Mitropoulos; with Zinka Milanov, Roberta Peters, Marian Anderson, Jan Peerce, Robert Merrill
Verdi: Rigoletto (2 CDs)
Conducted by Fausto Cleva; with Robert Merrill, Roberta Peters, Richard Tucker, Mignon Dunn, Bonaldo Giaiotti
Verdi: Don Carlo (3 CDs)
Conducted by Kurt Adler; with Franco Corelli, Leonie Rysanek, Irene Dalis, Nicolae Herlea, Giorgio Tozzi, Hermann Uhde
Verdi: Il Trovatore (2 CDs)
Conducted by Fausto Cleva; with Franco Corelli, Leontyne Price, Mario Sereni, Irene Dalis, Teresa Stratas
Mozart: The Magic Flute (DVD)
Conducted by James Levine; with Nathan Gunn, Ying Huang, Matthew Polenzani, Erika Miklosa, Rene Pape
Verdi: Otello (DVD)
Conducted by James Levine; with Jon Vickers, Renata Scotto, Cornell MacNeil.
Berg: Lulu (DVD)
Conducted by James Levine; with Julia Migenes, Frank Mazura, Evelyn Lear, Kenneth Riegel
Mascagni: Cavalleria Rusticana; Leoncavallo: Pagliacci (DVD)
Conducted by James Levine; with Plácido Domingo, Tatiana Troyanos, Teresa Stratas, Sherrill Milnes
Beethoven: Fidelio, 1960 (2 CDs)
Conducted by Karl Böhm; with Birgit Nilsson, Jon Vickers, Hermann Uhde, Oscar Czerwenka, Laurel Hurley, Charles Anthony, Giorgio Tozzi
Mozart: Le Nozze di Figaro, 1961 (3 CDs)
Conducted by Erich Leinsdorf; with Cesare Siepi, Lucine Amara, Roberta Peters, Mildred Miller, Regina Resnik, Kim Borg, Ezio Flagello
Wagner: Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, 1972 (3 CDs)
Conducted by Thomas Schippers; with Theo Adam, Pilar Lorengar, Shirley Love, James King, Benno Kusche, Loren Driscoll, Ezio Flagello, Donald Gramm
Wagner: Die Walküre, 1968 (3 CDs)
Conducted by Berislav Klobucar; with Birgit Nilsson, Leonie Rysanek, Christa Ludwig, Jon Vickers, Thomas Stewart, Karl Riddersbusch
Gounod: Roméo et Juliette, 1947 (two CDs)
Conducted by Emil Cooper; with Bidú Sayao, Jussi Björling, Nicola Moscona, Mimi Benzell, John Brownlee
Puccini: Tosca, 1962 (two CDs)
Conducted by Kurt Adler; with Leontyne Price, Franco Corelli, Cornell MacNeil, Ezio Flagello
Rossini: Il Barbiere di Siviglia, 1950 (two CDs)
Conducted by Alberto Erede; with Lily Pons, Giuseppe Di Stefano, Giuseppe Valdengo, Salvatore Baccaloni, Jerome Hines
Puccini: La Bohème, 1958 (two CDs)
Conducted by Thomas Schippers; with Licia Albanese, Laurel Hurley, Carlo Bergonzi, Mario Sereni, Clifford Harvuot, Norman Scott, Ezio Flagello
Puccini: Madama Butterfly, 2009 (Met in HD DVD)
Conducted by Patrick Summers; production by Anthony Minghella; with Patricia Racette, Marcello Giordani, Maria Zifchak, Dwayne Croft
Richard Strauss: Salome, 2008 (Met in HD DVD)
Conducted by Patrick Summers; production by Jürgen Flimm; with Karita Mattila, Ildikó Komlósi, Juha Uusitalo, Kim Begley, Joseph Kaiser
John Adams: Doctor Atomic, 2008 (Met in HD DVD)
Conducted by Alan Gilbert; production by Penny Woolcock; with Gerald Finley, Sasha Cooke, Richard Paul Fink, Thomas Glenn
Verdi: Simon Boccanegra, 2010 (Met in HD DVD)
Conducted by James Levine; production by Giancarlo del Monaco; with Adrianne Pieczonka, Marcello Giordani, Plácido Domingo, James Morris