Cilea Adriana Lecouvreur Levine Scotto Doming

Placido DomingoSherrill MilnesElena ObraztsovaGiancarlo Luccardi, …

Orchestra/Ensemble:Ambrosian Opera ChorusPhilharmonia Orchestra

Be the first to review this titleSEE, HEAR & LEARN MORE!This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.Notes and Editorial ReviewsIf Maurizio Arenas lively and sympathetic account of Adriana Lecouvreur for RCA demonstrates that the opera still has stageworthy potential, and not just as a vehicle for an old-fashioned prima donna (for to tell the truth his donna, Raina Kabaivanska, is a rather small-scale Adriana, the voice not always under perfect control), James Levines sumptuous CBS reading makes an even stronger case for it, and his donna is decidedly prima. It is Levines Adriana Lecouvreur as much as Renata Scottos, indeed, and some listeners may find his affectionate moulding of the score, his underlining of its every expressive detail and his leisurely speeds (he adds a full 15 minutes to Arenas timing) rather over-done.

His approach strikesme as an admirable one, rooted in a real love for the score (he has a distinct talent for making you think again about supposedly second-rate Italian operas: he is a first-rate conductor of Zandonai, for example) and in great consideration for his singers. I suspect that Kabaivanska would have made more of the title-role with support from Levines supple phrasing, so well attuned to the way Cileas phrases lie for the voice and to a singers need to breathe, to approach a climactic note at the voices own pace. Scotto certainly responds to this, and makes a part that might have seemed a size too large for her (there are one or two brief moments of strain) thoroughly her own, with a range that extends from caressed murmur to splendidly melodramatic hauteur.

Domingo is in ardent voice and fills out the rather thinly sketched Maurizio admirably (Arenas elegant tenor, Alberto Cupido, is rather over-parted) and both baritones, Milnes for Levine and Arenas Attilio dOrazi make a sympathetic figure of the soft-hearted Michonnet. Obraztsovas fans will not mind too much that she makes the haughty Princesse de Bouillon sound like Azucena or Ulrica (one quite expects her to offer balefully to tell Adrianas fortune) but Arenas Alexandrina Milcheva, a very similar Slavonic voice, does much the same. nut this opera stands or falls on whether the soprano can convince you that she is both a grande dame and touchingly vulnerable, and on whether the conductor realizes how much more than an accompanist he needs to be (Cilea was a cunning builder of dramatic tension, and an imaginative orchestrator). On both counts this set succeeds finely, and it is beautifully recorded.

Works on This Recording1.Adriana LecouvreurbyFrancesco Cila

Performer:Placido Domingo(Tenor), Sherrill Milnes(Baritone), Elena Obraztsova(Mezzo Soprano),

Giancarlo Luccardi(Bass), Renata Scotto(Soprano), Florindo Andreolli(Tenor),

Lillian Watson(Soprano), Ann Murray(Mezzo Soprano), Paul Crook(Tenor),

Orchestra/Ensemble:Ambrosian Opera Chorus, Philharmonia Orchestra

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