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ClassicsOnline Home » VERDI, G.: Vespri siciliani (I) (Muti)
Verdi’s Sicilian Vespers
I Vespri Siciliani is not one of Verdi’s most popular works. It belongs to the same category of dark operas in which Simon Boccanegra, another subtle masterpiece, is also found. The subject matter of both derives from the violent history of medieval Italy. Although lacking in ingratiating arias of the kind normally included in opera recitals, both share exceptional dramatic power as well as unusual complexity of action.
Commercial recordings of the Vespri are very few. In fact they include only one studio recording, made in 1973 and not entirely satisfactory. The present live recording from La Scala of Milan improves on this regrettable situation in an admirable way. It is conducted by Riccardo Muti who keeps the complicated score firmly together and never leaves the dramatic line out of sight. His singers are excellent, in some cases brilliant.
In the latter category is Cheryl Studer whose intense and idiomatic singing answers perfectly the exacting demands on the performer that Elena’s part raises. Impressive is also Chris Merritt as Elena’s lover Arrigo. A minor disadvantage resulting from the recording at La Scala is that the sound of the orchestra playing in the pit is somewhat confined. As a whole this album offers the listener an unusually moving experience.more....
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VERDI, G.: Vespri siciliani (I) (Muti)