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Friday, March 28, 2014

Andrea Chenier

Mario Del Monaco - Andrea Chenier
When I was a young teen I'd catch the train to the State Library after school on a Friday and listen to records I could not afford to buy.  One of my greatest loves was Andrea Chenier, the recording with Mario Del Monaco and Renata Tebaldi.  It used to blow my mind and still does.

Then I saw the La Scala production from the mid-80's with Jose Carreras and Eva Marton.  I was absolutely smitten.  Chenier seemed to me to be one of those gorgeous romantic leading men with a soft side and I fell in love.

With it's stunning arias for both tenor and soprano and absolutely spine tingling love duets, it is very hard to resist.  This opera has everything, great crowd scenes, a brilliant role for baritone reminiscent of Baron Scarpia and like I said, arias and duets to die for.

There are so many good recordings of this opera and I own most of them.  I will always return however to the the Decca stereo brilliance of the classic Del Monaco/Tebaldi set, though the other have much to admire in their own ways.  

The one part of this recording that really gets is the Act 2 love duet for Chenier and Maddalena, there is so much light and shade in this, it's lovely and I never tire of hearing it.  Have a listen to Tebaldi at 5.25 and onward into the finale to hear what I mean.  This is truly in a class of it's own.  Andrea Chenier was first performed on March 28, 1896 and to this day remains Umberto Giordano's most popular work.

                                                   


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