OP3414. LA JUIVE, recorded 1986, w.Almeida Cond. Julia Varady, June Anderson, Dalmacio Gonzalez, José Carreras, Ferruccio Furlanetto, etc. 3-Philips 420 190, Slipcase Edition w.Elaborate 212pp. Libretto-brochure. Very long out-of-print, Final Copy! - 028942019027
“The main credit for this success must go to the conductor, Antonio de Almeida, whose assured leadership maintains a clear and balanced view over the diversified elements of this oversized but - in the right hands - colorfully effective score. The Philharmonia Orchestra and the Ambrosian Opera Chorus perform in exemplary fashion.
One sorrowfully notes the absence of French principals in a French opera, but the cast is generally good. Outstanding is the word for Julia Varady, a versatile and constantly dependable soprano who thrives in Europe but enjoys little recognition on this side of the ocean. Her limpid, flawlessly tuned singing is enlivened by a dramatic thrust, though some reservations may be voiced about her somewhat coolly classical (or modern) approach to such an old-fashioned Romantic heroine as Rachel, the only sympathetic character in this gruesome tale of religious persecution, fanaticism, revenge and martyrdom. There are two roles - Leopold and Eudoxie - written for high and acrobatic tenor and soprano, and both are executed with expertise by Dalmacio Gonzalez and June Anderson. Miss Anderson's enunciation is cloudy at best, but her duet with Miss Varady (‘Ah! que ma voix plaintive’ in Act IV) is one of the set's highlights. Ferruccio Furlanetto presents a creditable Cardinal Brogni, though the part calls for a weightier basso sound.
Eleazar, the fanatical Jew who repays his humiliation with an evil scheme of his own, was Caruso's last role. All other famous Eleazars (Leo Slezak, Giovanni Martinelli, Leon Escalais and Tucker) were ringing spintos. The contribution of Jose Carreras in the role is never less than respectable, but it is stressful and lacks tonal richness. It is a heroic effort, though, in part accomplished before the tenor's hospitalization in 1986, and in part after his return to activity in early 1989.
Reservations aside, this is a dedicated effort that serves an interesting opera with honors.”
- George Jellinek, THE NEW YORK TIMES, 14 Jan., 1990