Divinely Oriental

Verdi: Aida. Pappano/Orchestra e Coro dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia. Warner Classics, 2015   Critics have sometimes said the best recording of Giuseppe Verdi’s Egyptian opera Aida is by the Vienna Philharmonic under Herbert von Karajan, released by Decca in 1959 with Carlo Bergonzi as the Egyptian General Rademès and Renata Tebaldi as the eponymous imprisoned Ethiopian princess. It was a near-perfect combination of von Karajan at his Viennese height, Bergonzi and Tebaldi’s chemistry as the lovers, and producer John Culshaw’s studio mastery. Of course, there are also various recordings of Leontyne Price, who became the Aida du jour. The…

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