Verdi Choruses. Coro e Orchestra del Teatro alla Scala / Riccardo Chailly. © 2023 Universal Music Operations Limited

CD Spotlight

Simply Mesmerizing

Riccardo Chailly conducts Verdi choruses, impressing GERALD FENECH

'... oozing energy from beginning to end.'


This sumptuous issue is a cause for two important celebrations: the seventieth birthday of Riccardo Chailly in February 2023, and the 210th anniversary of Verdi's birth. The album also marks two other remarkable milestones: the forty-five years since Chailly's debut at La Scala, and also the year since he signed an exclusive contract with Decca.

There is not one Verdi opera in which some great chorus does not make its bow. Indeed, some of the greatest choruses in the Italian repertoire are all compositions by Giuseppe Verdi, and the programme spans much of his output and includes choruses both familiar and less well-known. Among the former are 'Gloria all'Egitto' from Aida, the famous 'Va Pensiero' from Nabucco, the 'Witches' Chorus' from Macbeth and the 'Anvil Chorus' from Il Trovatore.

Listen — Verdi: Anvil Chorus (Il Trovatore Act II)
(4853950 track 12, 0:34-1:31) ℗ 2023 Universal Music Operations Limited :

The disc also includes another piece from Nabucco: 'Gli arredi festivi', 'Gerusalem' from I Lombardi and 'O Signore dal tetto natio' from the same piece, the Prelude and 'Si ridesti il Leon di Castiglia' from Ernani, 'Spuntate ecco, il di d'esultanza' from Don Carlo, Act I's 'Che faceste? dite su' from Macbeth and 'Patria oppressa' from Act IV of the same piece, 'Tarantella, nella Guerra e' la follia' from La forza del destino and 'Viva Simon' from Simon Boccanegra.

Listen — Verdi: Viva Simon (Simon Boccanegra)
(4853950 track 17, 0:10-0:29) ℗ 2023 Universal Music Operations Limited :

All these choruses cover a vast array of situations and moods, from serious to sparkling, from sacred to secular and from blacksmithery to sorcery. Music this, full of vigour, excitement, dramaticity and, above all, a full-bloodedness that enmeshes the listener right into the heart of the story. The recording draws also on the deep connection which these musicians have with these scores, stemming from Verdi's own relationship with La Scala.

Listen — Verdi: Gerusalem (I Lombardi alla prima crociata Act III)
(4853950 track 4, 2:39-3:32) ℗ 2023 Universal Music Operations Limited :

Well, what about Riccardo Chailly's conducting? Simply mesmerizing and oozing energy from beginning to end. Here then is an album which forms both a great recording and a superb birthday gift full of compelling conducting and spectacular singing brimming with emotional fervour. Not to be missed.

Copyright © 8 February 2023 Gerald Fenech,
Gzira, Malta



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