Tullio Serafin

Serafin conducts Verdi, Bellini, Rossini and Donizetti

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Serafin conducts Verdi, Bellini, Rossini and Donizetti Review

by Mike D. Brownell

Although conductor Tullio Serafin never received the popular stardom that some of his contemporaries did, he nonetheless held some of the world's most important operatic posts, re-introduced Italians to bel canto opera, and was in great part responsible for the promotion of vocalists such as Maria Callas and Joan Sutherland. This album provides listeners with only opera overtures and preludes; it's a little disappointing not to hear him also lead some of the singing portions of these operas for which he was so widely respected. Still, even in his leadership of these overtures, listeners are able to glean some of the nuance and subtlety Serafin infused into the opera as a whole. The introduction to Act III of La Traviata, for example, is remarkably refined and controlled while never falling into the trap of being overindulgent. Likewise in the overtures of Bellini, Rossini, and Donizetti, listeners can hear the energy and precision Serafin demands of the orchestra and can immediately understand how his similar leadership of the vocalists aided his revival of the bel canto style. Although three different orchestras are featured on this album, sound quality is very consistent. Overtures are an adequate way to be introduced to Serafin and this album is a fine example of his artistry, but it should certainly be followed by a more complete example of his work.

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