During the 1950s, 60s and 70s, Decca recorded a number of albums with some of its key conductors of Overtures. Many of these were singled out by the press for their terrific sound quality (the fabled ‘Decca Sound’) and for their often adventurous programming. Some of them also included entr’actes and intermezzi. Prized as collectors’ items, many of the original LPs exchange hands at high prices. And most of these reissues, in Decca Eloquence’s ‘Romantic Overtures’ series appear in CD, in part or whole, for the first time.
Romantic Overtures – Volume 5 is a collection of Overtures and Intermezzi from grand Italian opera. Thugs drowning blind women, a mountain lass buried in an avalanche, a cup of poison for two… this is the stuff of this highly entertaining CD conducted by Gianandrea Gavazzeni, who conducted several recordings of Italian opera for Decca. Mascagni is represented by his little known operas Le maschere and Guglielmo Ratcliff; the operas La Wally and Norma not by their single ‘big’ arias, but by Preludes. And to round off the original – and extremely rare – 1956 LP (entitled ‘Great Moments from Italian Opera’), we have the Prelude and ‘Dance of the Hours’ from La Gioconda.