Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Gaetano Donizetti, American Opera Society Orchestra, Beverly Sills|
Donizetti: La fille du Regiment
Listen to Samples
William S. Levison | Valdosta, GA United States | 01/26/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I've owned the disc version of this performance on a pirated recording since a few months after the actual performance date (1969), and for me it's always been the epitome of what made any Sills role exciting--stunning coloratura, beautiful legato, and humor. Here her singing is much more exciting than on the VHS tape of a production in English, and her French is exquisite. Corena is a classic Sulpice, Hirst sings all of the high C's without strain, and Greenspon hams it to the hilt. A very minor drawback is the low-tech but pefectly listenable sound, without which this wonderful souvenir of Sills in her prime would not exist."
M. Ramos | 08/01/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This CD has probably the most perfect interpretation of Marie ever. Perfection is the only word that can be used for Beverly Sills' performance of this charming Donizetti opéra-comique. The soprano is during the whole performance in perfect command of her voice. Her coloratura is simply spectacular: perfects scales, a contant display of tight trills and luminous high notes. Also her command of legato singing is admirable in slow arias like "Il faut partir" and "Par le rang et par l'opulance. Her ornamentation is daring and virtousistic, always connected with the music and style. Besides all this, there is the marvel of hearing a complete involvement with the character and a great command of the French language. All this skill is displayed over all the opera, but the great highlight of Sills' greatness is the singing lesson on Act 2. Here the soprano displays her great sense of fun united to incredible scales, trills and brilliant high notes, ending the scene with a dazzling high E. A true display of belcanto singing. But Ms. Sills is not alone in bringing delight: her supporting cast, even when not as brilliant, is very good in both vocalism and comic timing. Grayson Hirst as Tonio displays easy high C's in "Ah mes amis" and interacts charmingly with Sills. Fernando Corena and Corena Muriel Greenspon are simply irresistible as Sulpice and La Marquise. Roland Gagnon conducts with verve and skill the orchestra and the excellent chorus of the American Opera Society, apart from being the creative force behind Sill's virtousistic variations. The fact that this is a live performance makes it even more commendable. This CD is a glorious testament of what great operatic singing is about."
Fine performance at bargain price
L. E. Cantrell | Vancouver, British Columbia Canada | 03/23/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Source: 1969 live performance before an audience of hacking coughers in serious need of medication.
Sound: Overall sound is really not bad. Sills is generally well-captured. Other singers from time to time wander away from the microphones (one of which must have been directly over the piano) and suffer noticeable changes in volume. All coughs, premature applause and exasperating bravi are reproduced in tip-top fidelity.
Documentation: Opera D'Oro's documentation is as deplorable as ever. No libretto. No description of track contents except for a few initial words. No comments on the singers or the production. There is a short and not very helpful summary of the plot.
Sills sounds to me to be in very good voice. Her high notes are very much in place and her vocal agility in the more than usually ornamented passages is impressive. She displays more than enough brilliance, playfullness, drive and presence to show why she was a real star. Her French sounds as convincing to me as that of any non-native speaker and it does not clash with that of Corena, born a French-speaking Swiss. Purely as a matter of personal taste, I would prefer a slightly warmer voice and a less ornamented line, but I can certainly understand and even endorse the raves given to her by fans writing some of the previous Amazon reviews.
Fernando Corena is very good, and quite at home with the role of the rascally / fatherly Sergeant Sulpice, although I think his voice is a bit thinner than it would have been a few years earlier. Muriel Greenspoon is effective in the sometimes thankless role of the Marquise.
Grayson Hirst as Tonio is the hardest of the four principals to assess. I gather that this is his only significant, commercially-distributed recording. From this one performance in this one opera it seems to me that his voice was pleasant, clear, agile, full of nice top notes and of no great size. Taking the part of Tonio as a demonstration of singing, I have no significant criticism of Mr. Hirst. Taking Tonio as a character in a (comic) drama, I have serious reservations. It is my impression that Mr. Hirst, the singer, has placed himself at one step away from Tonio, the character. While his every note is carefully sculpted and artfully turned to produce a sweetness of tone, nowhere does Mr. Hirst just get on with it and give us the love-sick loon who joins the army to get the girl. Very likely time and experience would have wiped away this objection but, as here recorded, Mr. Hirst gives us a concert while everyone else is offering a performance.
The conducting is appropriately brisk and intelligent. The orchestra sounds fine when not being drowned out by the on-lookers.
On the whole, this is a fine performance--despite small reservations about the tenor--only partially spoiled by an obnoxious audience: four stars."