Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Jaques Offenbach, Richard Strauss, G. F. Handel|
Bellezza vocale ~ Beautiful Opera Duets
This generous disc of duets for soprano and mezzo-soprano offers a wonderful selection: from the very familiar "Barcarolle" of Tales of Hoffmann, the "Flower Duet" of Madama Butterfly, and the Presentation of the Rose in S... more »
This generous disc of duets for soprano and mezzo-soprano offers a wonderful selection: from the very familiar "Barcarolle" of Tales of Hoffmann, the "Flower Duet" of Madama Butterfly, and the Presentation of the Rose in Strauss's Der Rosenkavalier to the more exotic Anna Bolena-Giovanna Seymour duet from Donizetti's opera and Mozart's La Clemenza di Tito, there's not a bad piece of music or performance here. To be sure, these two singers do certain things better than others--Hei-Kyung Hong's silvery soprano is not ideal for the emotional outpourings (and low notes) of either Anna Bolena or Butterfly, but it's a perfect fit for Sophie in Rosenkavalier, Cleopatra ,and Poppea. Jennifer Larmore's creamy, agile mezzo is gloriously suave in the "Barcarolle," her Seymour is compelling, and her Adalgisa is stunning, but the voice lacks some of the color necessary for Octavian or Nero. But this is a very high-class, entertaining undertaking, and the program is nicely varied. Love good singing? Here you are. --Robert Levine
Best Vocal Duet Album in 48 Years
madamemusico | Cincinnati, Ohio USA | 10/13/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I echo all of the positive comments in Robert Levine's review, but would add three more. First, Hong's soprano is an absolute revelation. Her bell-like, silvery high register reminded me of the legendary French soprano Gabrielle Ritter-Ciampi (there's a name unfamiliar to most people today!) and Larmore, as usual, is without peer in the modern era. Second, the consistently high quality of the singing makes this, in my mind, the most successful soprano-mezzo album ever made and possibly the best duet album since the Jussi Bjorling-Robert Merrill LP of 1951. Thirdly, the dramatic incisiveness of each and every track makes for tremendously exciting listening. If I could give this one 15 stars, I would!"
Two great artists-pure pleasure!
Sasha Castel | Canberra, Australia, formerly of NY, NY, USA | 02/04/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Boy did they name this album correctly! Hei-Kyung Hong has long been a favorite with Metropolitan Opera audiences, but unfortunately she doesn't sing much outside NY. This album shows what an exquisite artist she is. Jennifer Larmore is more of a known quantity, and she is phenomenal as well. I am such a jaded operagoer (and I'm 26!) that I was shocked to find tears come to my eyes during a couple of the selections--most notably the Butterfly and the Hansel & Gretel. I bought this album when it came out and it has taken up permanent residence inside my Discman. If you are bored with the "cookie-cutter" sameness of many of today's singers, BUY THIS NOW. I promise you won't regret it."
Leina R. Mojica | San Jose, CA | 01/29/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I bought this cd three weeks ago and felt that I had to give it like forty listenings before writing a review...and I am please to say that I thoroughly enjoyed all forty listenings of this cd. Ms. Hong's delicate high voice contrasted perfectly with Ms. Larmore's powerful low voice. This a wonderful example of the way duets written for soprano and mezzo are supposed to sound. "Barcarolle" is definitely my pick of the compilation---it's sung so peacefully and calmly. And I really enjoyed the Hansel und Gretel lullaby. Mozart fans out there will not be disappointed by "Non ci pentiam...Ah perdona al primo affetto" from La clemenza di Tito... Ah, just wonderful, just beautiful."