Verdi - Ernani
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Label: Orfeo - Orfeo d'Or
Cat No: C861132
Number of Discs: 2
Release Date: 25th November 2013
Dana Liliana Ciuca
Orchestra & Chorus of the Vienna State Opera
The first 'Ernani' at the Vienna State Opera for more than 70 years was Seiji Ozawa’s first and only Verdi première in Vienna. It boasted an ideal cast, from the demanding leading role downwards, that would be hard to emulate today.
Given the immense vocal demands it makes, a successful performance of 'Ernani' needs an exceptional quartet of singers and a brilliant conductor, all of which were present on the opening night in 1998. Seiji Ozawa, later to be appointed Music Director, inspired a precision and impulsiveness all too rare in this repertoire.
Neil Shicoff was unparalleled in the title role, displaying both brilliance and subtlety; Michèle Crider achieved the well-nigh impossible, balancing both vocal dexterity and dramatic heft. While they might have been unlucky in her love, the two rivals for her favour matched her vocal prowess: Carlos Alvarez' fresh, full-sounding baritone offered the greatest vocal elegance and sophistication; the merciless Silva was sung by Roberto Scandiuzzi with all the necessary gloom, nay venom, in his bass voice.
These ideal conditions allowed the big set pieces, a particular delight in 'Ernani', to unfold to great effect, making the comparative rarity of performances all the more incomprehensible.
- Ernani: Neil Shicoff
- Elvira: Michèle Crider
- Don Carlo: Carlos Alvarez
- Don Ruy Gomez de Silva: Roberto Scandiuzzi
- Giovanna: Dana Liliana Ciuca
- Don Riccardo: Benedikt Kobel
- Jago: Ayk Martirossian
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