Since the "Best Carmen" thread got so many interesting answers, I would like to ask you about that other mammoth work, Aida:
Welche ist die beste Aufnahme der Aida und warum?
Which are your favourite recordings?
Which are the recordings you really dislike?
Ihr koennt gerne auf Deutsch antworten, ich verstehe es gut, aber ich kann schneller in der Sprache des unvergleichbaren Mark Twain schreiben.
My favourite choices are:
1. Stella, di Stefano, Simionato, Guelfi (La Scala 1956, live)
Unbeatable cast - Stella is great, di Stefano is at his absolute best (sings like a wild tiger, with the best voice to match, after this Aida he was never as good again), Guelfi is huge and dark like a tempest, and Simionato steals the show with her tremendous deep plunging vocals. The La Scala chorus and orchestra are superb. No other Aida recording that I have heard has *every* single thing right, like this one.
2. Callas, del Monaco, Dominguez, Taddei (Mexico 1951)
The adrenalin is unsurpassed - This recording is just one huge shout-fest, and it's a marvellous shout-fest at that. Del Monaco tries to steal the show, but the two women shout their lungs out to keep up with him. Taddei is a juicy Amonasro.
3 (Tie):Tebaldi :motz:, Bergonzi , Simionato , McNeil (Vienna 1960)
Bergonzi is brilliantly lyrical, the voice rich and opulent, with his inimitable pronunciation ("Oida" for Aida), Simionato is good, although not as great as in the live La Scala recording above. The only principal who does not please is Tebaldi, who sounds too shrill, her voice grates on the ear. The big minus here is Karajan's utterly bombastic recording, with his Wagnerian orchestra drowning out the singers.
3 (Tie): Teschemacher, Rosvaenge, Karen, Georg Hann (Stuttgart 1938)
Teschemacher is excellent, beautiful voice, and Rosvaenge is just superb, no other tenor can sing piannisimo the way he does. Hann is a big black-voiced Amonasro, and the whole recording sounds wonderfully atmospheric. A gorgeous recording.
Now the recordings I dislike:
1. Milanov, Bjoerling, Barbieri, Warren (RCA 1955)
Read the names on the label, and you think that this will be an enjoyable Aida - but it is one of the most lacklustre, passionless recordings I have heard. Bjoerling sings with absolutely no conviction, Warren is a milksop of an Amonasro, Milanov and Barbieri are colourless and uninterested. A disappointment.
2. Sumegi, Andreev, Helfricht, Dalas, Monarcha, Marzendorfer (St. Margarethen 2004)
This DVD of Aida is a complete travesty. Absolute rubbish through and through.
I can't think of a third terrible recording at the moment, I will get back to that.
I suggest giving 3 points for the best Aida, 2 for second place, and 1 for third place.
I look forward to your opinions,
All the best,