La generala (Vives)
Ana María Olaria, Alfredo
Kraus, Elsa del Campo. Coros de Radio Nacional de España, Orquesta de
Cámara de Madrid, c. Enrique Estela
Zafiro 50603037 / or / Novoson Z-563
Pilar Lorengar, Conchita Balparda,
Mary Carmen Ramírez, Ginés Torrano, Joaquín Portillo,
Coros Cantores de Madrid, Gran Orquesta Sinfónica, c. Odón
BMG RCA 82876
Jerónimo Vilardell, Lolita Torrento. Coro Capilla Clásica
Polifónica del F.A.D. de Barcelona, Orquesta Sinfónica
Española, c. Fafael Ferrer
Matilde Rossy, Emilio Vendrell,
Mercedes Casas. Gran Orquesta y Coro, c. Antonio Capdevila
Blue Moon BMCD 7523 [highlights]
Dúo: "Mi dulce
sueño". Montserrat Caballé, Bernabé Martí,
c. Eugenio Marco.
RCA Gold Seal
None of the three "modern" recordings is ideal. The
EMI is hampered by a shrill and wobbly Espinalt, well past her
best in the title role. Vilardell, a poor man's Ginés Torrano,
makes a workmanlike if plebeian impression as Prince Pío, and
Torrento's Olga is mostly easy on the ear. The chorus and comedy
characters are good, Ferrer conducts con brio, the recording is
robust but clear.
BMG have finally released the long-absent
Alhambra version on CD. Lorengar's supremely agile and
crystal-clear soprano is thrilling, especially in her solo numbers, but the the
romantically emphatic Pío of Torrano lacks voice and technique to
match her. The supporting cast are admirable enough, though, and the recording
is much nearer complete than the EMI. BMG's orchestral contribution is also
brighter and more forward, with Alonso directing in sprightly fashion;
but there is an unpleasantly hard edge to the sound in this CD transfer.
Zafiro's even poorer presentation does not run to
notes, the recording is cloudy and one-dimensional, the chorus inadequate.
Kraus is a supremely graceful and lyrical Prince; he and his soprano
principals easily outpoint most rivals for style and execution, with
Olaria's creamy-toned Canción del Arlequín
providing a notable highspot. Most of the score is included, more of Vives'
elegant poetry comes across with conductor Estela sensitive to every
nuance, and on balance the Zafiro does Vives better justice than its two ex-LP
However, a sweeter still sampler of delights can be had on
Blue Moon - about half the score, with libretto - recorded in 1931 under
Capdevila, with Vendrell at his most charming as the Prince.
Caballé with her husband on their RCA compilation sets the
standard in the famous dúo, and should be heard.