Review by: Robert Levine
Artistic Quality: 8
Sound Quality: 7
Fiorilla was one of two comic roles in Maria Callas’ repertoire, the other being Rossini’s Rosina. Il Turco is a strange work, witty and wry rather than zany, and very literary. Most of the score’s highlights are ensembles, and you might imagine that Callas could overpower her co-stars in such a situation. But the opposite is true despite her unique timbre that always shines through. She’s in great voice in this 1954 recording, absolutely secure throughout her range, and her impeccable rhythmic sense makes her work in the tricky, sometimes off-the-beat ensembles ideal. She turns out to be a team player par excellence. The role is of a headstrong, sassy woman who loves the attention men give her, and she loves playing one off against the other. Callas uses a girlish tone when being seductive but puts some iron into it when she has to make a point. Bass Nicola Rossi-Lemeni plays the Turk Callas plays games with, and he’s as expressive and fluid as she is. The rest of the cast is equally good. There have been better (and more complete) recordings since, but Callas is in a class by herself, and this is utterly charming.
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Recording Details:Reference Recording: Sumi Jo/Marriner (Philips)
GIOACHINO ROSSINI - Il Turco in Italia