LEONCAVALLO Pagliacci/MASCAGNI Cavalleria rustican 0734389

. . . Karajan's special gift for "verismo" and the intriguing pairing of the stylish and passionate Bergonzi with Joan Carlyle just carry the day.

[477 7156]: The burnished brilliance of the playing, the finely-spun lines and perfectly sculpted dramatic climaxes -- and Michael Schwalbe's violin solos -- altogether shows one of the greatest Straussian teams at its peak.
[477 7157]: The "Eroica" and No. 4 are potent reminders of the power and pace, the plush string sound and stunning brass . . .
[477 7161]: Bartók's Concerto for Orchestra . . . profits from the super-sophisticated sheen which by the mid-'60s also sustains Karajan's Debussy and Ravel . . . the colours of "La Mer" and "Daphnis" are very seductive.
[477 7163]: Karajan's collection of "Opera Intermezzi" is a real pleasure: fine-spun strings, verismo drama, and space to appreciate the delicate beauty of these gems, from Verdi to Mascagni.
[477 7164]: . . . genuinely moving . . .
[477 7165]: Youthful poise meets urbane sophistication, to the benefit of both, and also of Beethoven.
[073 4386]: You can watch the long line at work in the seamless cello melody of the Third's Poco allegretto -- no 'breaths' between phrases -- while the hard-hitting First and Fourth . . . always rhythmically well define, move naturally to their craggy peak.

A very fine "Cavalleria rusticana" coupled with a truly great "Pagliacci" combine to make this a very worthy DVD . . . Those recordings revealed Karajan to be a master of the verismo style, combining beautiful long phrase building with rhythmic tension and incisiveness . . . In Jon Vickers, Karajan chose one of the greatest portrayers of Canio in the second half of the 20th century . . . What a gigantic portrayal this is -- and how magnificently sung as well. We are fond of noting that Vickers did not have a traditional Italianate voice, but he sings this music with a perfect sense of style, and with his uniquely rich and varied sound that always seems to settle on the right color for the moment. This is a performance of, to be honest, historic dimension. Kabaivansky lightens her voice marvelously for Nedda, and shows herself to be an equally strong actor. In fact, all of the singers are superb -- Glossop manages to scare you and make you feel sorry for Tonio at the same time, and Panerai sings the big duet with Nedda glowingly. The conducting is, as noted above, magnificent, and the Scala forces play with inspiration and a quality not usually associated with them. This "Pagliacci" involves you from its first chords -- and is in my view one of the classic opera films ever made . . . You should not miss this video.

Raina Kabaivanska ist eine souveräne Nedda, die apart spielt und oft mit maximaler Stimmkraft singt, Peter Glossop ein idealer Tonio, der Persönlichkeit mit einer superben Höhe und einem schönen Klang kombiniert . . . Aus musikalischer Sicht überzeugt diese DVD nicht zuletzt wegen des erstklassischen Spiels des Scala-Orchesters unter Herbert von Karajans zupackender Leitung . . .

Karajan spornt das Orchester der Mailänder Scala zu Höchstform an, poliert den Klang glatt wie Stahl. Er war einer der ersten Dirigenten, die diese Werke mit der gleichen Sorgfalt behandelten wie Verdi und Wagner. Dass unter seiner Leitung die "Verismo-Zwillinge" zu titanischer Größe wachsen, wird niemanden verwundern. Es drängte ihn halt immer zu Superlativen.

[Pagliacci]: . . . la scénographie de Wakhévitch, d'un goût très sûr, fait encore illusion, et, si l'on peut oublier Panerai, Silvio au chant abrupt, et Glossop . . ., on apprécie Kabaivanska, la plus raffinée des Nedda (son air est un modèle de phrasé) et l'on est une fois encore béat devant le Canio de Vickers: pas de soupirs, pas de sanglots, mais la douleur à l'état pur, et une incarnation qui a fait date. Karajan . . . est exceptionnel, illuminant avec jubilation les couleurs de l'orchestre milanais.