Cher Public

Happy Birthday Giuseppe Verdi

On the occasion of the 200th anniversary of the birth of the Swan of Busseto, La Cieca invites the cher public to share reminiscences of great Verdi performances—and YouTube clips, of course!

  • Often admonished

    we all know it, but it gets to the heart of the matter

    • Rowna

      One of my favorites in concert form:

  • redbear

    A former counter-tenor and now one of the great conductors of our time, René Jacobs, is interviewed in Le Figaro. Labeled the “non-conformist” he rails against “concept” productions and the “symphonization” of opera by Wagner. By restoring Handel to his rightful place in the realm of opera and showing a new way to think about Mozart with historically informed instruments, he is a remarkable figure for the renewal of opera, like Harnoncourt and Christie.
    Listen to this: “If you would ask me which opera I would take to a desert island, I would not reply “Jules César” of Händel or “Les Noces” of Mozart but “Falstaff.” It is a masterpiece of balance between text and music.”
    The interview (in French) is at:
    Happy birthday, Giuseppe!

  • La Valkyrietta

    The San Carlo really brings the Giuseppe out of those grand gone ladies. La Divina at her most exquisite in a most divine Verdi inspiration.

    • No other soprano makes this aria such a cry for pain. Gives me the chills every time to hear that tug in her voice as she jumps to the Db. Amazing,

    • almavivante

      Listening to this at work, I went to Google Books to read Ardoin’s commentary on this performance, and discovered that The Callas Legacy is now in a fourth edition. The previous was the Scribner trade ppb with the cream-colored cover. Can anyone tell me if this new edition (I assume published after Ardoin’s death) contains any new material or is just a reprint of the third?

    • skoc211

      This performance never ceases to move me. The way she weeps with her voice is devastating. The gorgeous Db is filled with such desperation. Callas at her finest.

    • jarfullberries

      I think this might be my desert island Callas aria…

  • -Ed.

    Happy Birthday, Giuseppe! My first live opera experience was seeing Il Trovatore, so my love for opera all started with you, you see. It was this scene in particular, and this same Azucena, who turned my heart.

    I also think you would have liked this 20th century soprano named Maria Callas, and appreciate her brief comments about your Violetta.


    Viva Verdi!!

    • Ruby

      Ed, my first experience with opera too was IL TROVATORE, in Graz, Austria. It definitely changed my life and the lives of my children later on as they both became professional (classical) musicians.

  • OpinionatedNeophyte

    For the Falstaff Lovers:

  • Camille

    The collective parterrian scream of Verdian approval comes in at anout 1:02 on this video. It just spoils one rotten to hear this astounding show from the diaphragm of steel of the greatest MC:

  • zinka

    Would Verdi approve????????????????????

  • zinka

    Go to the Manhatten School of Music at 4:30 on Nov.23 so that you can hear a master class offered by the LAST great Violetta!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Also,December Opera News will do a big feature on Diana Soviero..whom I discovered (ha!)

    • Krunoslav

      Big Diana Soviero fan here, but “the LAST great Violetta”?

      I think not. Angela Gheorghiu, much as she has diminished now, was a great Violetta, and so was (when I heard her in 1989 with la Scola and Bruson in Ravenna) Nelly Miricioiu.

      • zinka

        On records..but live she sings in BRAILLE!!!!!!!!!

  • zinka

    Call her up some time..She still has high e flats..

    OH I hate those DUBBED Rai videos…….

  • zinka

    Could any two singers today sing Alzira like this?????

    • Camille

      A marvelous singer, beautiful woman, and worthy of being a Rockette for the aplomb and utter sangfroid she shows with those magnificent plumes!

      Brava diva—the pride of Ro(u>mania!

  • Madame Crespin

  • Lady Abbado

    My views:

    Gheorghiu = best Violetta

    Cerquetti = best Amelia

    Dimitrova = best Abigaille

    Tebaldi = best Aida

    Caballe = best Leonora

    Males & mezzos…some other time…

  • zinka

    Galvany loves to fach around……… low notes………….

    • FomalHaut

  • Liz.S
    • antikitschychick

      FUUUUCK I completely forgot about this and started watching Eugene Onegin instead ughhh…luckily I went to the website and it seems its still available…hopefully I can still watch it tomorrow XP.

  • jacobelli

    Don’t know if she was mentioned already, but Mariella Devia gets my vote as one of the best Gildas of the last 25 years. Here she is at the Met in 1987 in a production that starred Sherrill Milnes. Hungarian tenor Denes Gulyas was the Duke. This was the first Rigoletto I ever saw live, and Devia blew me away and has been one of my favorites ever since.

    This is still the best “Caro Nome” I ever heard live.

    Leo Nucci hasn’t gotten much of a mention here. Surely he is one of the best Rigolettos of all time. Here he is in the final duet with Sutherland. This is at the Met in 1987 and is an excerpt from the televised gala, “An Evening With Sutherland and Pavarotti.” I watched it the night it aired and was thrilled to see Nucci. He was in the first opera I ever attended in 1985 (La Traviata) and he’s been my favorite baritone ever since.

    Speaking of Milnes, he is amazing here in “Ah, fu giusto il mio sospetto” from Luisa Miller. This is from the Met in 1979, when he was still in his prime.

    For me, the most thrilling tenor of all time is Richard Tucker. Here he is at the Met in 1963 with Nilsson singing the duet from Un Ballo in Maschera.

    It doesn’t get any better than this!

  • semira mide

    CSO and Muti are fantastic! The woman percussionist is absolutely fearsome.

    • Porgy Amor

      This is captivating! I mean, I am posting and chatting during it, so you might question me on that, but it is a thrilling account of the score, the articulation knife-edge-precise. As in 2009, I find the orchestra and chorus the most impressive participants. Ildar is the best of the soloists. Good sound.

      • Rackon


        SM: Indeed, that woman’s bass drum attacks raised the hairs on my head!

        OK. Good birthday present. Really enjoyed that, even through my phone and earbuds. (I’m at work.) Loved loved loved Muti’s conducting, love CSO when they are “on”, and I can imagine what it sounded like in Orchestra Hall -thrilling.

        Ain’t the internet grand?

        PA: Agree about the chorus and soloists, didn’t mind Serjan, liked Abdrazakov, but I really don’t like Zeffiri. (It doesn’t help that I spent my day off yesterday listening to the new Barenboim VR and Kaufmann’s Ingemisco and Hostias are still in my ears.) Zeffiri’s voice is the kind of voice I meant back in the day when I used to say I hated tenors.

        • Porgy Amor

          I sort of see, at times, why Muti might want and like Zeffiri for this, as he did both five years ago and now. There are some exposed moments such as the “Hostias” and the line near the end of “Quid sum miser” where it works, but not enough of them to make the strain in the rest of it unacceptable. In general he is far too light and heady, and he was taxed right out of the gate tonight. I know Verdi wanted an Aïda cast, but I don’t think he had in mind Aïda, Amneris, Ramfis, and the Messenger.

          On the whole, a great performance, though, and it is always a pleasure to watch Maestro at work, with his precise, eloquent gestures. I wonder if this is going to be CSO Resound’s venture into DVD/BluRay. They clearly spared no trouble with the camera setups, and even subtitled it.

          • Porgy Amor

            not enough of them to make the strain in the rest of it unacceptable.


            • Rackon

              “I know Verdi wanted an Aïda cast, but I don’t think he had in mind Aïda, Amneris, Ramfis, and the Messenger.” LOL, :-)

              Alas, Mr. Zeffiri’s reedy tenor did not please me in 2009 either, although he sounded more strained tonight. The VR can be hard on tenors, at least from my years of listening plus my lone experience in performance. Zeffiri’s probably a lovely fellow; it’s just not my kind of voice.

              I wondered too about a possible DVD-BD release as I was watching, very nicely produced concert with good sound (as far as I could tell via android), although I had some streaming problems late in second half. The info CSO supplied on their homepage was excellent too, with good notes, complete texts in Latin and English, CSO performance and recording history etc. Nicely done.

              I’m glad this will be available on the CSO website for awhile, since I want to see/hear this again for the orchestra and chorus, as well as for Muti’s marvelous conducting. I was listening to the Scotto/Kraus/Muti Traviata on the radio earlier this evening, and that recording reminded me again how distinctive and idiomatic Muti in Verdi.

            • Porgy Amor

              That Traviata is controversial, but it sounds better and better to me through the years, while some I used to like more have paled. I have a higher tolerance than most for late Scotto (and tolerance of late Scotto helps; she’s managing carefully), and she and Kraus have a terrific rapport. They really seem to be listening to each other, responding to each other; they are at one stylistically, and it adds a great deal to the drama. Muti’s conducting of this opera would mature, but here, already, much is impressive (e.g., the delicate little ribbons of rubato he gives Kraus in “Un dì, felice”).

          • Camille

            Sìsignore, il Mesaggero ed anche, magari, la Sacerdotessa!

            • tiger1dk

              Not only is Ms Scotto wonderful as Violetta and Muti’s conducting magical (just listen to the orchestral crescendo before each “Amami, Alfredo), Renato Bruson sings Di Provenza more beautiful than I have ever heard it sung.

            • Porgy Amor

              I found Bruson very moving in the Fleming/Villazón video version, even though he was 70 and the singing had lost ease in the decades since Muti’s recording. Some reviews just stopped at “Bruson is past his prime”; I felt they shorted a wonderful portrayal. I showed that DVD to a few friends who had never seen the opera and did not know singers. They all loved him (and the other singers), and one said, “He’s my favorite voice in this. He just seems so right.” I didn’t probe further, and “so right” can mean a lot of things, but I think this person, who had not been watching Italian operas for years, could tell anyway that Bruson had style to spare.

            • MontyNostry

              Bruson was absolutely the best thing in that DVD with Renaaay and Rolandoooh. A bit rusty -- but such authority.

  • meowiaclawas

    Sistah can sing the EFF out of the Lady! I wuv you, MARA ZAMPIERI!!

  • Camille

    And last of all and most of all, shall we remember Verdi’s greatest work, the Casa di Riposo in Milano….

    From the film “Il Bacio di Tosca”.

    Some laugh, some cry.

    We should all be grateful for this great genius. One of mankind’s great benefactors.
    Requiescat in pacem.

    • tiger1dk

      Camille, it was a lovely thing of Verdi to establish this home for elderly singers -- but, surely, calling is his greatest work is a bit overdone. I mean, lots of persons have done equally charitably things -- but who else could have written e.g. Otello?

  • FomalHaut