Britten-Gay: The Beggar's Opera (In Italian) - Di Stefano, Lane, Cavalli, Alberti; Scaglia. Torino, 1968
Listen to a Sample:
Most of you will have acquainted these characters in Kurt Weill's Three Penny Opera. Surprisingly John Gay's version, on which Weill's was based, is no less gritty and traffics in the same brand of human debasement that made Weill and Brechts' works so compelling. Benjamin Britten did an excellent arrangement of the score, preserving its baroque feel while coloring it with his brand of wit and theatricality. If that weren't strange enough for you this performance was translated into Italian and features the great Giuseppe Di Stefano as MacHeath. No doubt a big part of the attraction for Di Stefano was the forgiving tessitura of the role (by 1968 the top was becoming more and more elusive for the great Italian tenor.) However, what is ever present is Di Stefano's innate musicality and style which might even lead the uninformed listener to think they were listening to a piece by an Italian composer. The sound is very good.