Verdi: Don Carlo - Ulfung, Collier, Bumbry, Gobbi, Christoff; Pritchard. London, 1963


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Lovers of Don Carlo will really appreciate this performance.  For one thing, in a time when this opera was savagely cut, it contains the fontainebleu act (although with many cuts) music which must have been almost completely unknown to the public.  In addition in the final scene the Marziale section is included and the decision was made to use the French ending with the monks hushed singing of "Carlo il sommo imperator."  The singing is first rate.  I was unsure of Ragnar Ulfung in the title role knowing him only in character tenor parts but he shows that he can sing this notoriously difficult (and thankless) role with relative ease.  Marie Collier's conveys the ethereal qualities of the Elisabetta and rises to the spinto moments remarkably well.  Grace Bumbry was still relatively new to the opera scene in 1963.  It seems a mistake to refer to her voice as zwischenfach because in reality in wasn't between anything.  She is equally comfortable in the top of her voice as she is in the bottom.  Tito Gobbi was nearing the end of his career in 1963 but still remains a committed actor and Italian stylist.  Boris Christoff rounds of the cast as Filippo.  The sound is  good.  There are some great bonus features featuring Marie Collier.

Marie Collier sings excerpts from Manon Lescaut & Tosca

OD 10384-3

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