Choosing between this recording and the Decca Chailly (currently available only as a download), it might seem sensible to start with the tenor in the title-role, and here a strong inclination... — Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010
Giordano, U: Andrea Chénier
Work length1:54:10 Sherrill Milnes (baritone), Renata Scotto (soprano), Nigel Beavan (bass baritone), Plácido Domingo (tenor), Michel Sénéchal (tenor), Gwendolyn Killebrew (mezzo-soprano), David Brand (soprano), Enzo Dara (baritone), Jean Kraft (mezzo-soprano), Allan Monk (baritone), Terence Sharpe (bass), Isser Bushkin (bass), Maria Ewing (mezzo-soprano), Piero de Palma (tenor), Stuart Harling (bass), National Philharmonic Orchestra, Malcolm King (bass), John Alldis Choir, John Alldis (chorus master) James Levine
Act I: Questo azzurro sofà là collochiam
Act I: Compiacente á colloquii
Act I: Son sessant'anni, o vecchio
Track length2:29 Show 36 remaining tracks for Giordano, U: Andrea Chénier
Act I: Il giorno intorno già s'insera lentamente!
Act I: L'orribile gonnella
Act I: Commososo ... lusingato
Act I: Debole è il Re ...
Act I: O pastorelle, addio!
Act I: Al mio dire perdono ed al mio ardire!
Act I: Un dì all'azzurro spazio
Act I: La notte il giorno
Act II: Per ex l'inferno!
Act II: Temer? ... Perchè? Perchè temer dovrò?
Act II: No, non m'inganno!
Act II: Credo a una possanza arcana
Act II: Calliagrafia in vero femminil!
Act II: Viva Robespierre! Evviva!
Act II: Ora soave, sublime ora d'amore!
Act II: Maddalena di Coigny!
Doumouriez traditore e girondino
Lacrime e sangue dà la Francia!
Prendi! É un ricordo (Son la vecchia Madelon)
Amici, ancor cantiam, beviam
Act III: Nemico della patria?
Se ancor di me vi sovvenite non so!
Act III: Udiamo i testimoni!
Act IV: Cittadino, men duol, ma è tardi assai
Act IV: Come un bel di di maggio
Act IV: Viene a costei concesso
Act IV: Vicino a te s'acqueta
Track length3:32 Hide 36 tracks for Giordano, U: Andrea Chénier
Choosing between this recording and the Decca Chailly (currently available only as a download), it might seem sensible to start with the tenor in the title-role, and here a strong inclination would be to plump for RCA and Domingo: he's in splendid voice, with a touch of nobility to his manner that makes for a convincing portrayal of a poet. Pavarotti (Chailly) begins with a rather leather-lunged Improvviso, but he later finds poetry in the role as well, especially when responding to his soprano, Caballé, who's rather stretched by the more exhausting reaches of her role and sounds audibly grateful for the occasional opportunities he gives her to float rather than belt a high-lying phrase. However, Pavarotti is an Italian tenor, and his Italianate sense of line adds one per cent or so of elegance to some phrases that even Domingo can't match. Caballé does many things beautifully, and her fine-spun pianissimos and subtle shadings only occasionally sound mannered, but the role is undeniably half a size too big for her. So it's for Scotto, you might say, and a hint of strain is audible once or twice, in her timbre rather than her phrasing.
It's her phrasing that tips the balance back to RCA: Scotto is as subtle a vocalist as Caballé, but she gives meaning and eloquence to every phrase without ever breaking the long line, which one can't always say of the Spanish soprano. Matters are about even as far as the baritones are concerned: Milnes acts admirably, but refrains from over-acting, and the voice is rich and characterful. In the supporting cast, but RCA's striking Bersi, vividly characterised Incredible, and their Roucher, too, aren't outmatched (only their Madelon, both fruity and acid – a grapefruit of a voice – is disappointing).
A lot of people will enjoy the huge energy and bustle of Levine's direction. It's vividly characterful, but a shade exhausting and overassertive.
The flow of the music seems more natural in Chailly's hands, and orchestral detail is clearer.
The Decca recording, too, is warmer.