|Giuseppina Strepponi, Verdi's wife after 1859|
Carlo Bergonzi, Darah Reese/David LAwton Stony Brook NY 1981
Is this the second least known Verdi opera after Alzira? I liked Alzira. I like Il corsaro, too. It's another Il corsaro. It's an opera worth doing if you have a strong tenor.
La battaglia di Legnano libretto Salvatore Cammarano after Joseph Mery Rome 1849
Jose Carerras, Katia Riciarelli, Matteo Manuguerra/Lamberto Gardelli
Verdi had been chided for no longer turning out his patriotic operas. Perhaps La battaglia was his response. The political struggles here are clothed in the occupation of Milan by a German emperor. Verdi achievers a synthesis here of political rabble rousing and heart. This is a terrific opera, worthy of revival. The finale, with the death of Arrigo on the steps of the Milan cathedral, is a melodramatic treat. I'd like to see this done on stage-Michael Fabiano, Angela Meade, Rene Pape, --and for the big Verdi baritone Rolando---??? well, only Delavan comes to immediate mind.
Montserrat Caballe, Luciano Pavarotti, Piero Cappuccilli/Gianandrea Gavazzeni La Scala 1976
It was Anna Moffo's photo on the cover of her recording of Luisa that got me to listen to this opera forty years ago. I've always enjoyed it. We get the first deeply moving father-daughter scenes, especially in Luisa's last act. The tenor had a great extended scene. If the situations are not quite believable well, that's opera folks. Two good bass roles, with Count Walther given some lovely music in Act I. Likewise the Act I finale on paper has a keystone cops quality saved by dramatic music. This is an opera for a Trovatore like cast of soprano, tenor and baritone. If Verdi were alive today he'd cast Zajik or Blythe as Frederica.