Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Gaetano Donizetti, Carlo Felice Cillario, Royal Opera House Covent Garden Orchestra|
Donizetti: Caterina Cornaro
Listen to Samples
Some electrifying singing
John Cragg | Delta(greater Vancouver), B.C Canada | 07/05/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Caterina Cornaro was one of the last two of Donizetti's operas. (Dom Sebastien, the other one, is no better known.) By that point the old (and sick) dog had few new tricks, but the old tricks still had a lot of magic. The opera in its initial staging in Naples was considered to be a fiasco. Whether this was due to poor quality of the music, a weak libretto, or the fact that the Neapolitan opera goers had been exposed to the much more innovative works of Mercadante may be an open question, but one can really eliminate the first reason. This opera is mature Donizetti, with much worthwhile in it even if it does not sound strikingly different from much else that he wrote.This recording (apparently from a "live" concert performance rather than a theatrical performance) features a very strong cast. Monserrat Caballe was at the height of her powers and produces some lovely singing, though her "trademark" failures are also evident. Some of these, however, do make the music more interestingly distinctive! Jose Carreras was also at the height of his powers and this music matches well the really fine aspects of his voice and the strengths of his musicianship. The choral singing (the chorus and orchestra are from the Royal Opera House Covent Garden) is impressive and the conducting sound.The recorded sound leaves much to be desired, and surprisingly for a concert performance is rather variable. At its best, it is acceptably clear and some of this features Caballe. At its worst it is very muddy and distorted. (Where does Opera d'Oro get its raw material - the booklet gives no indication?) Usually it is not bad enough to scrap the opera though there are parts where one reaches for the jump button. The booklet is the usual Opera d'Oro disgrace-a short essay by Bill Parker and a track index which only gives the first phrases of the tracks, with no indication of who might be singing or why. Similarly, it gives no indication of the provenance of the recording.We are not likely to get a major new production of this opera any time soon and at the price one can overlook the weaknesses for the star-quality of the singing and coherent conducting if one has more than a passing interest in Donizetti. I don't know the alternative listed at Amazon - but it may well be better - though its price is higher."
CABALLE DAZZLES IN DONIZETTI!
Armando Pazos | Fort Lauderdale, FL United States | 04/11/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Once again, Montserrat Caballe proves why she was the reigning queen of the bel canto repertoire, especially in this neglected Donizetti gem. Although there is an excellent recording of this opera with Gencer, Caballe's mastery in this performance really reveals the true shadings of the character. This is from the period when Caballe was truly in her vocal prime, and is well worth acquiring, especially given the quality of the recording for such a reasonable price. Also, this recording provides a rich insight into the treasure trove of fairly unfamiliar Donizetti operas which truly deserve to be heard by modern day listeners seeking a refreshing new glimpse into the golden age of bel canto."
Prime Caballe - Carreras delight!
Armindo | Greece | 08/18/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Not many recordings have both stars in their absolute prime. Caballe's top started loosing its freshness after 1973 although she kept her aristocratic phrasing and fine piano singing for many years. This is therefore an absolute must for bel canto lovers since both roles are very congenial for our stars.
For some reason I expected a lot from this rather rare Donizetti opera but it didn't thrill me as much as I hoped. It's still an interesting piece though and Caballe - Carreras really justify their fame. Their dreamy voices blend in beautifully and it's no wonder they were among the singers who ruled those years. Shame that this was a concert performance though since I believe they would have sounded even more involved in a fully staged production. Caballe's delivery of the entrance aria is by the way one of her finest moments EVER!
The rest of the cast sings well and there is enough music for low male voices too but they lack the star quality the soprano and tenor have. Still very good singing though! The sound is only adequate unfortunately. Lets hope a better copy will sometime surface. Cillario is experienced in bel canto and conducts with style and discreet, allowing the performers to do their best.
Because of the sound, I should give this one 4 stars but I enjoyed the singing so much so it deserves a 5 star rating.