Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Giuseppe Verdi: Complete Operas & Other Works

"Giuseppe Verdi was to opera in the Italian tradition what Beethoven was to the symphony. When he arrived on the scene some had suggested that effective opera after Rossini was not possible. Verdi, however, took the form to new heights of drama and musical expression. Partisans see him as at least the equal of Wagner, even though his style and musical persona were of an entirely different cast. In the end, both Verdi's popular vein -- as heard in Rigoletto, Il trovatore, and La traviata -- and his deeper side -- found in Aida, Otello, and Falstaff -- demonstrate his mastery and far-reaching development of Italian opera." AllMusic

 "Through care taken over trends, the desire to be novel and affectation knowledge, we repudiate our art, our instinct, our own way of doing things; it is absurd and stupid" - Giuseppe Verdi

This playlist gathers the complete works of Verdi together: first the 28 operas in chronological order, as listed here; then other works including songs, the String Quartet and the Requiem. After every complete recording of opera, I put in a highlights album, or a couple of famous choruses or arias from star soloists like Callas and Caballé (the only exception being Falstaff, for which I added a 2-hour recording of Toscanini's rehearsals). I also included significant alternative versions like Le trouvère (Paris version of Il trovatore with a ballet added), and 1865 version of Macbeth. For Don Carlo I used Giulini's recording of the 1886 unabridged 5-act version, Muti's recording of the 1884 4-act version, and also included two arias from Pappano's recording of the 1867 original 5-act French version.

Here's the Spotify playlist: Giuseppe Verdi: Complete Operas & Other Works (1443 tracks, total time: 90 hours) Ctrl (CMD)+G to browse in album view. Most tracks are available on both Spotify Europe and USA. Also check out my previous Naxos Educational playlist for audiobook introductions to Verdi's life and works, including four of the most famous operas. To those who are looking for a manageable guide to the King Of Opera, I recommend this book Verdi With a Vengeance.

Below is La Traviata performed live in Zürich Main Train Station .