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Classical - Released January 1, 2014 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
There is no lack of stellar, gripping versions of La bohème on disc, and by most reckonings, this one stands toward the front of the pack. Having a cast of superstars is no guarantee that an opera recording is going to have the chemistry to knock you off your feet, but the performers here live up to the expectations that their fame raises. Luciano Pavarotti is an ardent Rodolfo; his youthful impetuosity is completely convincing, and he sings with the passionate but unforced creaminess that characterized his performances at the height of his career. Mirella Freni is also vocally in top form. Her Mimi is deeply felt and her voice is sweet, pure, and soaringly lyrical. Rolando Panerai was into middle age when he made this recording, but he is persuasively youthful and he sings with warmth and vigor as Marcello. Elizabeth Harwood is more effective in Musetta's serious moments than in her fiery ones, but she has a very lovely floating top. The smaller roles are exceptionally well taken; it's real luxury casting to have an artist of Nicolai Ghiaurov's caliber as Colline, and Michel Sénéchal is marvelously funny as Benoit and Alcindoro. The Chorus of the Deutschen Oper, Berlin, sings with a great sense of character, and the Berlin Philharmonic plays as if this quintessentially Italianate music was in its blood. Herbert von Karajan leads an extraordinarily nuanced and expressive reading of the score. Felicitous details of orchestration that are frequently lost are clearly audible here, often to revelatory effect. Decca's sound is exemplary in its clarity and depth. Its engineers are scrupulous in their stereo separation; the stage movement is so precisely calibrated that it's easy to tell the spatial relationship between characters. This altogether exceptional version has much to recommend it to fans of the opera, and listeners coming to it for the first time could hardly find a more compelling introduction. © TiVo
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Opera - Released January 1, 2014 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
Decca's 1972 recording of Turandot features an all-star cast led by Joan Sutherland and Luciano Pavarotti. Turandot doesn't seem like the most natural role for Sutherland and she never sang it on-stage, but she adapts to its requirements with panache, delivering a performance with an impressive dramatic range and dazzling vocal mastery. Pavarotti was close to the height of his powers when he made the recording and he sings with his characteristic passion and warmth. Montserrat Caballé, who had also sung the title role, is fabulous as Liù, creating a vivid characterization and singing with exceptional purity. It's real luxury casting to have singers of the reputation of Nicolai Ghiaurov, Peter Pears, and Tom Krause in the roles of Timur, the Emperor, and Ping, and they each bring great artistry to these small roles. The London Philharmonic Orchestra plays the score with sparkle and spirit, and the John Alldis Choir is terrific in the crucial choral parts. Zubin Mehta captures the Romantic sweep and the colorful strangeness of the opera and gives it a convincing, dramatic shape. The sound is mostly good, but doesn't quite have the depth or presence typical of Decca's best opera recordings. © TiVo
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Classical - Released January 1, 2014 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

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Opera - Released September 19, 2014 | Warner Classics

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Classical - Released September 11, 2015 | Sony Classical

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Choc de Classica - 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik
The most German of tenors, Jonas Kaufmann, tackles a new Italian recital, following 2013's The Verdi Album, which was released to mark the composer's bicentenary. Today, Kaufmanndedicates an entire disc to the operas of Puccini. The all-important pieces are naturally found in the form of the "Recondita armonia" from Tosca, and "O soave Fanciulla" from La Bohème. Also of note are "No piangere, Liù!", from Turandot, and some special moments on less-performed works such as Le Villi ("Ei giunge!") and Edgar ("Orgia, chimera dall'occhio vitreo").Kaufmann does not seek, in any way, to copy Italian tenors or the Italianate mode of singing. Instead he yearns for a fidelity and purity of expression, as well as an absolute respect for the original works. This tenor moves us subtly away from what we are used to; which will delight some, and astonish the rest. Is this how Puccini really meant for his work to sound?
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Opera - Released November 20, 2020 | PentaTone

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After their acclaimed Cavalleria rusticana recording, Marek Janowski and the Dresdner Philharmonie now present Puccini’s Il Tabarro. Puccini composed this piece as the first panel of his Trittico (1918), a novel work combining three one-act operas, and also containing Suor Angelica and Gianni Schicchi. The explosive story about illicit love and revenge on the banks of the Seine recalls the Verismo of Mascagni’s Cavalleria rusticana. Beneath the Verismo surface, however, Il Tabarro is a highly modern piece, full of Impressionist harmonies, allusions to Stravinsky and dramatically significant self-borrowings. In this recording, Janowski and the orchestra particularly showcase the symphonic quality of Puccini’s music. They are supported by an outstanding cast of soloists, including Melody Moore as Giorgetta, Brian Jagde as Luigi and Lester Lynch as Michele, as well as the MDR Leipzig Radio Choir. © Pentatone
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Classical - Released September 1, 1963 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

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Opera - Released September 19, 2014 | Warner Classics

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Opera - Released January 1, 1967 | Warner Classics

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Full Operas - Released August 25, 2017 | La discothèque idéale de Diapason

Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or
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Opera - Released September 19, 2014 | Warner Classics

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Classical - Released September 1, 2008 | Warner Classics

EMI's 1976 release of Il Trittico consisted of separate recording projects of the three operas made in the late '50s. The common element in the set is the Orchestra of the Rome Opera, even though each opera is led by a different conductor. All of the conductors, Vincenzo Bellezza, Tullio Serafin, and Gabriele Santini, were seasoned veterans in the Italian repertoire (with Serafin having far broader expertise, leading operas as diverse as Wozzeck and Peter Grimes), and their performances document an unbroken performance tradition that reaches back to the operas' premiere less than 40 years earlier, so these recordings have the ring of verismo authenticity. The set also features the luminaries baritone Tito Gobbi and Victoria de los Angeles, each of them in two of the operas. Gobbi's performance as Michele in Il Tabarro stands out among the other prinicipals. Margaret Mas as Giorgetta and Giacinto Prandelli as Luigi are not in his league vocally, but they are never less than adequate. Mas sounds mature for the role, and her vibrato is occasionally extreme, but she's a compelling singing actress. Prandelli doesn't have the vocal weight and youthful impetuosity to make a fully satisfying Luigi. Gobbi's tortured Michele is vocally splendid and dramatically wrenching, and it's his performance that makes this recording a real contender. Bellezza's reading brings out the grittiness of the score without stinting on its moments of surging lyricism. Set between the vivid drama of Il Tabarro and the sly humor of Gianni Schicchi, Suor Angelica, in spite of many lovely passages, seems pale in comparison. Serafin makes the most of the opera's more subtle contrasts and gives fully expression to its poignancy without letting its potential for sentimental religiosity hijack it. He shapes the score beautifully, building to a credible and moving climax. De los Angeles is a model of youthful gentleness and goodness, and the purity of her delivery and her emotional directness keep her from ever being cloying. Fedora Barbieri is icily effective as La Principessa. All the smaller roles are taken, with fine attention to details of characterizations that effectively differentiate the Sisters. Both Gobbi and de los Angeles are featured in Santini's zippy and genuinely funny reading of Gianni Schicchi. Each of the small roles is sung and filled out with individuality. Gobbi is a natural comedian, delightfully rascally in the title role, and he brings a remarkably colorful range of shadings to his voice. De los Angeles is angelic-sounding as Lauretta, and Carlo del Monte is a full-voiced and heroic Rinuccio. The sound for all the operas is good for studio recordings of the era, clean, and nicely defined. The first two operas are mono, and the third is stereo. The collective strengths of this set make it Trittico that should be of interest to any Puccini fans. © TiVo
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Full Operas - Released September 19, 2014 | Warner Classics

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Classical - Released January 1, 1992 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

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Full Operas - Released July 17, 2009 | Sony Classical

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Opera - Released September 20, 2019 | Opera Rara

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In Slavic mythology, willis (or vily) are fantastical creatures comparable to Greek nymphs. They are often linked to ballet (Giselle) and to Romantic opera. It is this theme that the young Puccini chose for his entry in a competition organised by the music publisher Sonzogno in Milan. This first opera is set in the Black Forest: we see women who have died on the eve of their weddings, who meet at midnight to find the young man whom they will force to dance until he dies.First performed in 1884, the work met with lively success, and the press were swift to call it a "masterpiece", underlining, correctly, that the young writer was "the composer that Italy has awaited for a long time". While Le Villi seems a little weak in hindsight, and seen alongside Puccini's later masterpieces, it is still strange that it should be so little-known. This trial run is already a masterly work, and Puccini's skill and language leap out at us.At the head of a star cast, Sir Mark Edler recreates an opera which has not been heard since its first outings. His version takes on board the two-act revision made by Puccinia and published in a new critical edition of Ricordi. A very successful recording which may give opera directors some ideas for a stage performance. © François Hudry/Qobuz
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Classical - Released September 7, 2018 | Sony Classical

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Classical - Released March 6, 2009 | Sony Classical

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Opera - Released September 18, 2020 | Dynamic

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Classical - Released January 31, 2020 | Sony Classical

Composer

Giacomo Puccini in the magazine