Carlo Maria Giulini

Scarlatti: Il Trionfo dell'Onore

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The late conductor Carlo Maria Giulini was known for the limited range of literature in which he felt comfortable, only ranging roughly from Mozart to Verdi, including practically no twentieth century music and little to nothing of the period before Haydn. This recording of Giulini leading Alessandro Scarlatti's seldom staged 1718 comic opera Il trionfo dell'onore is a very rare exception, coming from the earliest part of his conducting career that is captured on recordings. Featuring an undistinguished cast, save Eugenia Zareska in the relatively minor role of Rosina, this revival was done not for the stage, but specifically for a radio broadcast and recording made at the Milanese branch of RAI. The young Giulini is vibrant and energetic, even as the band suffers from wiry and somewhat wayward intonation, and this was probably about as good a performance as an opera of this vintage could get in Italy in 1950. Initially published on Cetra LPC 1222, Il Trionfo dell'Onore has appeared on CD at least twice prior to surfacing in this cheap Italian version issued by the Milanese firm with the ex-American label name Urania.

The fully above-board re-release of Il trionfo dell'onore, made from Cetra masters, is found on the Warner Fonit label. The Urania version is not a knockoff, but a less-expensive vehicle derived from a transfer of the issued LP. However, it is no bargain. While the voices are clear, the orchestra suffers from a severe case of "CEDAR-itis," wobbly, full of flutter, and sounding like it is underwater. The booklet provides a full Italian libretto and a summary of the opera in English, but it too has serious problems. The back plate places the recording properly in 1950, but the booklet lists it as being from 1955. One may think that the table of contents on the first page of the booklet is published in Greek, but rather it's printed upside-down and backwards. Perhaps the problem could be addressed by placing the book to a mirror in order to facilitate reading of the track listing, but isn't that a bit too much trouble? There is barely enough interest in such an old recording of this rather exotic opera, if any, to justify the legitimate frontline reissue on Warner Fonit. So why did Urania even bother? You should not.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
Il trionfo dell'onore, opera
1
3:26
2
2:00
3
2:43
4
2:26
5
2:14
6
1:51
7
4:17
8
1:06
9
1:49
10
2:09
11
2:21
12
0:39
13
3:03
14
1:20
15
2:53
16
1:36
17
1:47
18
1:01
19
1:52
20
1:53
21
1:44
22
1:48
23
2:56
24
0:47
25
2:41
26
1:03
27
3:51
28
0:53
29
3:29
30
3:43
31
1:31
32
1:19
33
3:33
34
1:35
35
2:54
36
1:41
blue highlight denotes track pick