OP0559. SIMON BOCCANEGRA, Live Performance, 8 Jan., 1972, w.Abbado Cond. La Scala Ensemble; Piero Cappuccilli, Nicolai Ghiaurov, Gianni Raimondi, Mirella Freni, etc. (Italy) 2-Myto 044.296. Long out-of-print, final copies! - 608974502966
“Though Piero Cappuccilli never achieved international stardom, he was enormously admired within the field of opera for his rich and abundant voice, fine vocal technique and exceptional breath control. In the great Italian tradition he fused words and music into elegant phrases. He focused on Italian repertory, particularly the operas of Verdi, singing 17 major rôles. Some critics found his full-voiced singing blunt and burly. And in striving for expressive restraint, he could sometimes come across as stiff. But at his best, with his handsome physique and vocal authority, he made a powerful impact onstage.
In 1960, just three years into his professional career, he was tapped by the producer Walter Legge to sing the rôle of Enrico in a recording of LUCIA DI LAMMERMOOR, starring Maria Callas and conducted by Tullio Serafin. That EMI work remains a classic. In the mid-1970's, Claudio Abbado chose him for the title rôles in Verdi's SIMON BOCCANEGRA and MACBETH at La Scala. These productions led to studio recordings that remain prized by opera buffs.”
- Anthony Tommasini, THE NEW YORK TIMES, 21 July, 2005
“Claudio Abbado was named music director of La Scala in 1968 and held the position until 1986, when he became music director of the Vienna State Opera. He also made débuts at Covent Garden and the Metropolitan Opera in 1968, both in productions of DON CARLOS. His repertory included Mozart and Wagner as well, but his real specialties were Rossini and Verdi, whose music he performed with respect for the artistry they embody rather than the showmanship they allow. Mr. Abbado was known for the directness and musicality of his performances. He almost always conducted from memory, insisting that using the score meant that he did not know the work adequately.
Mr. Abbado disdained the trappings of a modern, media-driven conducting career. As communicative as his podium manner was, he seemed slightly awkward coming on and off the stage. Explaining this in a 1973 interview, he compared himself to the conductor Hans Knappertsbusch, whose habit was to refuse curtain calls. ‘I used to be somewhat like that’, he said. ‘Now I take the time to be polite. Look, I like the reaction of the audience. I’m not sincere if I don’t say that, but it still embarrasses me to take bows. I’m not a showman’.”
- Allan Kozinn, THE NEW YORK TIMES, 20 Jan., 2014