Viva Verdi: Overtures & Preludes

4 February 2013, 15:16

Shining examples of Verdi's orchestral writing from his mammoth operatic output, performed by the Philharmonic Orchestra of La Scala and Riccardo Chailly. Drive Featured Album, 4 February 2013.

Opera lovers will be familiar with Verdi's soaring soprano lines, rousing chorus numbers, and brooding arias - but there's much to be discovered in his opera overtures. From the mystery and intrigue in the shimmering Prelude from La traviata, to the stormy Overture to Macbeth, Verdi proves his operatic writing is just as suited to a full orchestra as it is a solo voice.

An intimate-sounding string section with tight-knit winds and brass brings the orchestral music to life: the Philharmonic Orchestra of La Scala is not unlike the original group of players used by Verdi in Milan's famous opera house when the music was first performed.

Granted, Verdi's orchestral tunes will never be as brilliant as his vocal works, but these crisp orchestral snippets of his larger works remind us of his best tunes, given a new lease of life by a truly authentic ensemble.