In the second half of the the '70s, the Venetian composer/keyboardist LUCIANO BASSO recorded a series of albums, which represent an interesting mix of progressive music with classical influences and avant-garde. Trained as a pianist and composer at the music academy (Conservatorio) of his birthplace, he is currently a music teacher in the city of Padova. He has also contributed soundtracks to several documentary films produced by RAI, the Italian broadcasting company.
In continuing the great tradition of Decca's magnificent Met Opera DVDs, Giordano's Andrea Chénier is captured here in excellent quality, showcasing Luciano Pavarotti, the premiere opera star of his day in one his most memorable performances, alongside Maria Guleghina and Juan Pons, with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and Chorus, conducted by James Levine. One of the great verismo operatic dramas, Andrea Chénier is notable for the title role's two great solo arias, 'Un di all'azzurro spazio' (also known as 'L'improvviso') and 'Come un bel di di maggio', as well as the overwhelming final duet, 'Vicino a te'. Truly a legendary and unique performance from the great tenor.
Those who know Zeffirelli's style won't be surprised by the conventionally lavish production, but it effectively evokes the atmosphere of religious oppression and personal antagonisms Verdi so unerringly depicts. The dark-hued, threatening setting fits Muti's energetic, rhythmically vital conception. He quickens the emotions in a peculiarly Italianate way, and throughout evinces a feeling for the colouring of the score. His reading is in turn a good background for some thoughtful and idiomatic singing.