Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Gaetano Donizetti, Richard Bonynge, Welsh National Opera Chorus & Orchestra|
Donizetti: Anna Bolena / Sutherland, Ramey, Mentzer, Bonynge
Sutherland, never noted for dramatic intensity, seemed more at home in roles that appealed to sentimentality rather than the tragic emotions of pity and fear. She still had that appeal and a voice in prime condition whe... more »
Sutherland, never noted for dramatic intensity, seemed more at home in roles that appealed to sentimentality rather than the tragic emotions of pity and fear. She still had that appeal and a voice in prime condition when this, her second Sonnambula, was recorded. Her appealing, uncomplicated musical personality is just right for this simple, innocent little story of a peasant girl who sleepwalks into--and later out of--a compromising situation that temporarily endangers her impending marriage. She has been given a supporting cast that is (with occasional small lapses) a joy to the ears. --Joe McLellan
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A great recording................
Mr James Cole | London | 07/04/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This CD was recorded and released to coincide with Sutherland's performance as Anna Bolena in Covent Garden in 1988. These proved to be her last perfomances in a full operatic role in that House. I bought the recording on vinyl after attending the opening night in Covent Gardne and later replaced it with the CD version.
I have heard and concur with all those who write amount the many incredible qualities of the Sutherland voice in her earlier recordings, the voice and technique is unbelieveable. Anna Bolena for the heroine is a huge role and it suits the later Sutherland voice, what's lost in the ability to open her mouth and produce subliminal vocal pyrotechnics is compensated by an artist who portrays vunerabilty which is, for me is the main focus of the score.
The voice is totally Sutherland, the middle voice is rich and lucious, the (very) high notes ringing and clear but age brings a vibrato and slight beat to the tone that adds to the pathos and does not detract from the pleasure of listening to a mistress of her craft. The acting, phrasing, diction and artistry (which all got better as she got older) she produces far outweigh the loss of vocal power her age brings and produce for me a memorable and one of my favourite recordings. Her lack of acting abilit is often discussed, having seen her on stage in this role and listened to the recording she is as good as any actor or actress I have ever seen on an operatic stage (I am sure there are better, and may worse).Sutherland compared to what she could produce in the 1960's, 70's or early 80's may not be the same, but at this stage in her career she still commands a beauty of voice and technique that no one I have heard today can match."
Sutherland does a wonderful job in a great recording!
Ygor | Brazil | 06/02/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The other reviewers emphasized the comparison between Sutherland in her early days and in her late career. Here the question is not that, but what Joan Sutherland can do in this recording. Every singer and Sutherland herself in her late years will be nothing if we compare them with the young Sutherland, a vocal miracle which will never be heard again.
Joan Sutherland was 61 years old when this Anna Bolena was recorded. Her voice had darkened and lost some vocal power, but it's not unsufficient or terrible (!!) as some exagerated reviews said before. It would be wonderful if Sutherland had recorded it in the period between 1975 and 1980, but here she does a real wonderful job. Her dramatic skills are in her ultimate best, her diction is much better. Thus, we have a more moving and thrilling Anna Bolena than we could have ever had. Her high notes are still wonderful and she has gained an amazing low register, which emphasizes the dramatic parts of the opera. Her vibrato is really a bit too present, but it doesn't bother me when I hear so many qualities in her voice.
Susanne Mentzer does a wonderful performance here, with a youthful and beautiful voice. Samuel Ramey is known as one of the best interprets of Enrico VIII and Jerry Hadley could be considered the best Percy ever. Bonynge's conducting is amazing as always.
This recording is highly recommended, especially if you are looking for good interpretation and not simply good singing."
SUTHERLAND'S COMMANDING 'ANNA BOLENA"
Ygor | 06/11/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"It would have been wonderful if Sutherland would have put this role in her repertoire and recorded it ten years earlier. Her voice by the time of this recording (1987) had worn and taken on a gray quality, but after all, she was sixty at the time this recording took place. The technical command is still present, however, and she projects the text better and more clearly than she would have a decade earlier. All in all, an authorative performance from a great soprano at the end of her career. Sutherland is given excellent support from the other principals as well. Samuel Ramey sings a booming Henry VIII. and Jerry Hadley contributes a lyrical Percy, though he sounds a little stressed at the top. Suzanne Mentzer is a youthful Jane Seymour, contrasting well with Sutherland's mature timbre in their big duet. Richard Bonynge shapes the opera dramatically and keeps things moving. This is an excellent representation of Donizetti's "Anna Bolena" and is certainly worthy of a strong recommendation. It's only real competition is the EMI live recording with the Anna Bolena of Maria Callas, who, of course, sings the spots of the role, and who has an excellent Jane Seymour in Gulietta Simionato. But this La Scala performance is heavily cut, and the sound is typical 1957 radio transcription sound. If one is really interested in the opera, they might want to consider owning both versions, since they document the work of two of this operatic century's greatest divas in one of the most taxing roles in the bel canto repertoire."