OP0389. EDGAR (Puccini), recorded 1978, Live Performance, Carnegie Hall, 1977, w. Eve Queler Cond. Opera Orchestra of New York & New York City Opera Children's Chorus, Schola Cantorum Of New York; Renata Scotto, Carlo Bergonzi , Gwendolyn Killebrew, Vicente Sardinero, Mark Munkittrick, etc. 2-CBS M2K 34584, Boxed Set w.Elaborate 16pp Libretto Brochure w.Liner Notes by B. L. Scherer. Long out-of-print, Final Sealed Copy! - 074643458429
“EDGAR is an operatic dramma lirico in three acts by Giacomo Puccini to an Italian libretto by Ferdinando Fontana, freely based on the play in verse LA COUPE ET LES LÈVRES (The Cup and the Lips) by Alfred de Musset. The first performance was given at the Teatro alla Scala in Milan on 21 April 1889. The opera was not a success. Puccini repeatedly revised it, before eventually giving up in frustration, declaring the work irredeemable.
In EDGAR, one can hear Puccini growing in mastery and confidence. Each of the three acts is better than the one that preceded it, and Act Three is wonderful indeed. As a matter of fact, I don't think EDGAR is significantly inferior to MANON LESCAUT, which is commonly regarded as the composer's first ‘great’ opera. There's lots of juicy music here, and lots of drama too. The last act's moving prelude was played at Puccini's funeral. Surely there's more gold here than dross.
This reference recording of EDGAR has been the one recorded live in Carnegie Hall with conductor Eve Queler, Carlo Bergonzi as Edgar, and soprano Renata Scotto as Fidelia (CBS Masterworks M2K 34584). Both the tenor and the soprano were in vocal decline by then, but they were not shy about wringing out all of the music's passion in an authentically and excitingly Italianate manner. They were complemented by a fine Tigrana (Gwendolyn Killebrew) and Frank (Vicente Sardinero), and Queler was no wilting violet either.”
- Raymond Tuttle, ClassicalNet
"I was truly amazed at the depth and breath of this early work which is already way above his first attempt, LE VILLI. Puccini's true genius show through clearly in many of the passages, especially various arias, duets and ensembles. This is a live performance recording but you would never know it until the end when the audience applause is included. The cast is outstanding with Scotto in great voice and Bergonzi matching her. He does have one very high note that is a bit strained but it is forgivable with such an amazing talent. This is an opera that needs to be staged more frequently to bring it into the public notice. I feel it, like LA RONDINE, is a lost gem and needs to be polished up and shown more often."
- Joseph Erdeljac