The better of the Producers Showcase Festival of Music telecasts
That is not to say the first volume was not good, in fact it was, extremely. Even with artists like Milanov, Warren, Rubenstein, Bjorling and Tebaldi as amazing as they were in the other telecasts, I just preferred this one more. There may be fewer artists here, but the segments are longer. But there are two main reasons why I prefer this Festival of Music telecast.
The first one was Jose Ferrer, whereas I found Charles Laughton ill at ease and hesitant in volume 1 Ferrer in volume 2 is alert and firm, and he looks more interested and appreciative.Second, and especially so, is that this Festival of Music telecast features the single best segment of either telecast, the Death Scene from Boris Godunov, one of opera's most powerful and poignant final scenes. Nicola Moscona is a noble Pimen, and the young boy playing the Tsarovich comes across as very genuine in his reactions. But it is the performance of Boris Christoff in the title role that other than the music sticks long in the memory, he is simply magnificent in one of his finest roles.
His voice was to me the more resonant and firm type than the large and beautiful, but it was a wonderful voice nonetheless and he was a superb vocal actor, letting the character speak through the music. As well as his superlative artistry, it was his acting that made Christoff so unique, he not just made us think he WAS Boris(and his other roles) but he gave him a psychological depth that is second to none among other basses.
Christoff is not the only asset worth watching for this said, though he is the best thing by a mile in my opinion about this telecast. There are other great artists too, the best after Christoff being Artur Rubenstein returning again, this time playing a somewhat truncated but very musical and enigmatic interpretation of Rachmaninov's Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini. Marian Anderson also returns with more spiritual singing, the result being stylish and soulful, guitar virtuoso Andres Segovia beautifully plays works by Bach and Torroba and the La Traviata segment also delights.
Barry Morrell is at his best, and while Victoria DeLos Angeles isn't quite as good the voice is beautiful(if occasionally flat in pitch) and the interpretation is charming. All in all, a superb telecast. Both the Producers' Showcase Festival of Music telecasts are musts, with some of the best music and some of the best artists of the time, but I consider this the marginally better one for Christoff's towering Boris alone. 10/10 Bethany Cox
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