Barber: Vanessa

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Stephen Eddins
"Vanessa" received its premiere at the Met on January 15, 1958, and RCA promptly made a recording of Dimitri Mitropoulos conducting the original cast. The Salzburg Festival presented the European premiere in August of the same year, with Mitropoulos and all of the principals from the original production, except for Ira Malaniuk replacing Regina Resnik as the Old Baroness. The RCA recording is a classic, and such an authoritative account of the opera that another version with the same cast might seem unnecessary. This version, though, comes close to surpassing the original -- it offers significant, fresh insights into the score, and the live recording has more of a ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Stephen Eddins
"Vanessa" received its premiere at the Met on January 15, 1958, and RCA promptly made a recording of Dimitri Mitropoulos conducting the original cast. The Salzburg Festival presented the European premiere in August of the same year, with Mitropoulos and all of the principals from the original production, except for Ira Malaniuk replacing Regina Resnik as the Old Baroness. The RCA recording is a classic, and such an authoritative account of the opera that another version with the same cast might seem unnecessary. This version, though, comes close to surpassing the original -- it offers significant, fresh insights into the score, and the live recording has more of a visceral charge than RCA's studio version. The Salzburg performance should be of strong interest to anyone who loves the opera. While Orfeo's set doesn't always have the polish of the studio recording, the principals have settled into their roles dramatically and the poignancy of the story is expressed even more deeply. Eleanor Steber seems more secure and vocally at ease in the title role, and also a little more unhinged and delusional. In the photographs of the Salzburg production, she looks older and dowdier than in those from the Met, better explaining Vanessa's aversion to mirrors and making the spectacle of her falling all over Anatol all the more disturbing. Nicolai Gedda embodies Anatol's transparently caddish behavior with an unctuousness and casual cruelty that he had not fully tapped into in the Met production. Ira Malaniuk brings to the Baroness a smoldering fury held tightly in check, no less incisively than Resnik. Giorgio Tozzi as the Doctor is generally very fine, particularly in his scene of inebriated confusion, but he gets "Under the Willow Tree," one of the best tunes in the opera, completely wrong, singing it in the parallel major, rather than the minor key in which it's written. The most revelatory performance is Rosalind Elias as Erika. Her melancholic temperament is immediately evident, and her awakened passion and subsequent decline into heartbreak and bitterness are especially vivid; the yawp of pain she lets out after she shouts out her rejection of Anatol's proposal is shockingly feral. Elias makes Erika the searingly intense center of the opera. Mitropoulos offers a tauter reading than in the studio version, heightening the score's powerful contrasts. The ballroom scene, for instance, in which Vanessa's and Anatol's engagement is announced, turns into a drunken revel, making Erika's flight into the blizzard and the image of the Baroness calling out for her in the open doorway all the more stunningly dramatic. The mono sound is surprisingly clean, vivid, and well balanced for a live recording of the era. The musical and dramatic values of the recording highlight the psychological brilliance of Barber's score and Menotti's libretto, and serve as a reminder of "Vanessa"'s significance as a landmark of twentieth century opera.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 1/30/2007
  • Label: Orfeo
  • EAN: 4011790653228
  • Catalog Number: 653062
  • Sales rank: 348,017

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1–27 Vanessa, opera, Op. 32 - Dimitri Mitropoulos & Samuel Barber (118:02)
    Composed bySamuel Barber
    Conducted byDimitri Mitropoulos
    Performed byDimitri Mitropoulos, Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, Vienna State Opera Chorus, Rosalind Elias, Norman Foster, Nicolai Gedda, Ira Malaniuk, Alois Pernerstorfer, Eleanor Steber, Giorgio Tozzi
    1. 1Act 1. Introduktion
    2. 2Act 1. Must the winter come so soon?
    3. 3Act 1. Do not utter a word, Anatol
    4. 4Act 1. Who are you? Why did you come here?
    5. 5Act 2. ...and then? - He made me drink too much wine
    6. 6Act 2. No, you are not as good a skater
    7. 7Act 2. Erika, I feel so happy
    8. 8Act 2. Our arms entwined my hands
    9. 9Act 2. Do you hear her?
    10. 10Act 2. Anatol, I must speak to you
    11. 11Act 2. Ah, what a meager offer yours is!
    12. 12Act 2. In morninglight
    13. 13Act 3. Introduktion
    14. 14Act 3. The count and the countess of Albany
    15. 15Act 3. Here you are?
    16. 16Act 3. At least I've found you
    17. 17Act 3. Nothing to worry about
    18. 18Act 4. Why did no one warn me?
    19. 19Act 4. Why must the greatest sorrows come from those
    20. 20Act 4. There, look a group of men! - Do you suppose
    21. 21Act 4. Grandmother! - Yes, Erika
    22. 22Act 4. Intermezzo
    23. 23Act 4. By the time we arrive in Paris
    24. 24Act 4. Erika, sit down here next to me
    25. 25Act 4. You must hurry if we want to reach the station
    26. 26Act 4. To leave, to break, to find...
    27. 27Act 4. Anatol! - No, I must never say the name again
Disc 2
  1. 1 Discussion with Samuel Barber & Dmitri Mitropoulos - Dimitri Mitropoulos & Spoken Word (7:52)
    Composed bySpoken Word
    Performed byDimitri Mitropoulos
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Dimitri Mitropoulos Primary Artist
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