Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Verdi: Complete Ballet Music from the Operas

Verdi’s penultimate masterpiece, Otello…bears little or no resemblance to the late style of the main opera but rather relates to the style of Verdi’s early operas. Shrewdly, Serebrier makes this point right at the start by placing this five-minute piece first on disc 1. In that brief span, Verdi offers a sequence of tiny genre pieces with an oriental flavour.

Serebrier follows that with the three atmospheric numbers Verdi wrote for Act 3 of his much earlier Shakespearean opera, Macbeth…Next comes the long ballet scene for the original French version of Don Carlos, with its sections including some for solo cello and violin, all beautifully played here.

The second disc opens with the one exceptional ballet, that for Aida. Last of all comes the most ambitious of all the ballets, the four substantial numbers representing the seasons of the year that Verdi wrote for I vespri siciliani.

As he has often shown in the past, José Serebrier has a remarkable gift for drawing polished and vigorous performances from his orchestra. The result has all the tension and bite of a live performance with the advantage of studio techniques, helped by refined and beautifully balanced recording, transparent in texture. --Gramophone, June 2012

2 CD · MP3 320 · 249 MB

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