Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Gaetano Donizetti, John Pritchard, Saint Cecilia Academy Orchestra|
Gaetano Donizetti: Lucia di Lammermoor
The Queen of Opera
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I have 2 Callas Lucias, 4 Sutherland Lucias, Moffo's Lucia, Peter's Lucia, Caballe's Lucia, Sill's Lucia and a few others. So I cosider myself a good critic when it comes to this opera.
The best Lucias are the ones with Callas, Sutherland, and Sills.I would not want to be without any of these. Although the Roberta Peter's and Anna Moffo's are also very interesting and lovely.
Here, I'll take on Sutherland's most spectacular Lucia, her 1960 Decca recording(and that surpasses her 1959 live version with Serafin in my opinion).
In 1960, Sutherland's voice was huge and clear as it was in her "Art of the Prima Donna" best seller. And sorry to say she will never sing like that again. Saying who was the most spectacular Lucia of our time is a personal thing. But I dare say that most knowledgeable Lucia fans will say that either this or the 1959 live Lucia are the most breathtaking.
The voice. It is so clear, the squillo so dramatic, the tone quality so girlish and innocent and high notes so rocket like and precise. And that's just to start.
The trills are, of course legendary. Everyone knows that they are the spinning of two notes so fast yet you can still distinctively hear both notes. That is unique among even the most famous coloraturas. In our time, only Sills at her best could come close to it.
The staccato are fast, dartlike, loud, and dead on. No one in recent times can touch these in her mad scene. Only Tetrazzini or perhaps Galli-curci had the speed. But did they have the size? I think not. Sutherland's staccati are among her most unique and tremendous talents.
The fioratura is like a string of pearls. Always distinct from its neighbor, and each one as lovely as it's neighbor. Also, in this Lucia, her tempo for the runs are very precise. Which is not always the case for many of her later Lucias and other roles. The arpeggios in the mad scene are breath-taking to say the least. I know of no one else who can even attemp those. Well, perhaps Beverly Sills.
Now for the incandescence high notes. They are in a class of its own. No one in memory had high notes with such ring, clarity, immense size and squillo than Dame Joan's. But what makes it even more incredible is how precise and dependable they are. Since I've had the pleasure to hear her Met Lucia, I can safely say they are the best on this planet.
Now, to the highlights of this definitive Lucia...all Sutherland, of course.
Regnava nel silenzio is exquisite. She uses the most girlish of tones, almost cold, silvery, to chill the listener. Then comes the series of trills before Quanto repita that have to be heard to believe! The fast aria is joyous with gigantic high notes that are as effortless as you can get. And the voice! The fioratura! Spectacular is an understatement. She crowns the cabaletta with a perfect high D, although surprisingly, she did not hold it. ( We can't have everything ).
The duet with Edgardo is lovely and delicate. Sutherland didn't use a large sound. Instead, she sounds flowing, and effortless, with lots of ring and soared on all the high notes. I actually think that Decca undermiked her here...But nevertheless, the effect is lovely indeed.
The duet with Enrico is shere vintage Sutherland. She takes the optional series of fioratura flawlessly, all the time creating sounds that is both sad and ravishing. She crowns the duet with another flawless huge high D.
The sextet is another highlights that Sutherland has no rivals. She simply soars, and soars, and soars - above the orchestra, above the other singers, and above the orchestra. The repeating high B's are full of fire, ring, and they are so powerful that one has to gasp to wonder where the power of these mammoth high notes are coming from. AT the same time you also hear this innocently sounding girlish voice of the utmost clarity. She ends the great ensemble with another perfect high D flat, of course...no problem.
After a few more arguments with Enrico, the diva concludes act2 with a gigantic high D that she holds and holds. A phenomenal high D that actually convade feelings of extreme sorrow.
Finally, the mad scene from the 1960 Lucia. And it is the best thing that Joan Sutherland ever put on record. First of all, she was in powerful voice. Second, she was dead on. Thirdly, she hit every imaginable coloratura obstacle with complete precision and perfection that one can only drop their jaws in disbelieve. This mad scene put her 1971 mad scene seem to shame. We all know the cadenzas of her mad scene. And this one is the only one that has not one note out of place. It is so perfect that even the engineers can't use their tricks to make it better. Every trill, staccato, arpeggio, chromatic scales, and high notes textbook perfect. All sung with the most beautiful, silvery, and pure soprano sound of that era, or any era for that matter. It is the mad scene of a lifetime. And she concluded it with a trill on high B flat that no other coloratura soprano can do as perfectly as her even if they trilled it one octave lower. Yet the two notes of the trills are even more defined from its neighbor then Joan's lower trill. This is remarkable. Only Sutherland can produce high trills of this caliber. And then after that, she produce a titanic high E flat to end all high E flats. I have to admit she could have held this note a bit longer, but it is so perfect that it is not necessary.
Skipping to the final aria, Sutherland again was a singing machine again. The highlight of this famous aria are her trills. These trills are short and are low. Yet only Sutherland can produce them with great size, speed and accuracy. Again, the two notes of the trills are coordinated with its neighbor. Perfect, what can I say?
The last high E flat was again gigantic and she really holds this one. Ending her part of Lucia di Lammermoor in grand fashion.
So there it is, Sutherland's best Lucia. In my opinion, the best in the entire catalog, and quite possibly the best in the history of Donizetti's masterpiece."
Ignore 12 yo basher,she attackes all of Sutherland's Hits
Lin Lin | 07/02/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Everyone knows that Sutherland is the definitive Lucia.
She has sung this role hundreds of time, to overwhelming ovations that no other diva escept Callas ever received. Sutherland' Lucia is legendary. Her recording speaks for itself. It is the best..."
Simply the best sung lucia hands down
Lin Lin | USA | 07/14/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I am a big opera buff and love all the great divas of my time. I'm talking about Nilsson, Price, Callas and Tebaldi.
I love great singing and I love the theatre.It is generally agreed that Dame Joan Sutherland is the most famous Lucia of my time. No other sopranos can hold a candle to her. Her high notes are so breathtaking that it makes all other sopranos take up pottery. That, along with her perfect trill, accurate runs and staccato, and that glorious voice is why the Italians call her "La Stupenda".Here is the what famed Felix Werder's comments in the "Age" regarding Sutherland's celebrated Lucia on one occasion:"... Lucia is very much a heroine's opera full of prodigious vocal acrobatics, machinegun-like bravura effects and feats of virtuosity and not a few good tunes; in fact it is a score into which only a Sutherland could breathe life. She has a glorious voice which she promenades with easeful fioritura that soars like a lark above the ensemble to produce a heart-rending vocal characteristic of the fragile Lucia..."To spell it out again, in case you miss what was just said, quote"...only a Sutherland could breathe life. She has a glorious voice which she promenades with easeful fioritura that soars like a lark above the ensemble to produce a heart-rending vocal characteristic of the fragile Lucia...".Another famous music critic, John Sinclair, in the "Herald" wrote of her Lucia, "...It was for every opera lover in the theatre one of the great operatic experiences of a lifetime..."Hundreds of critics all over the world consider Sutherland the quintessential Lucia. The diva has sung this role hundreds of times. This 1961 recorded performance is justly famous, though it's overshadowed by the 1971 with Pavarotti, it showcases a younger Sutherland who is even more skillful in coloratura if that's possible. Cioni is not as good an Edgardo as Pavarotti in Sutherland's later effort. But then you can't have everything. You get a better Dame Joan, and you have to take a slightly lesser tenor.But you get Robert Merrill, who is the finest baritone of all , and he is thrilling. He takes all the optional highest notes like Sutherland. His famed duet with Lucia is thrilling. But Sutherland throws a big high d natural instead of an E in her later recording and Merrill holds a G. This is not as popular and famous Lucia as the 1971 Sutherland-Pavarotti, which is the industry standard. But as far as Dame Joan Sutherland goes, she is even much better in this Lucia. I know, if that's possible, and it is. She is the essence of what coloratura singing is all about. In the footsteps of Grisi, Malibran, and Jenny Lind. To be so highly rated since it was released in about 1960 ago speaks volumes for it's contents. Also it's recorded in the high fidelity. An important point because it's competitor's Sills and Callas are in either mono or poor stereo. I highly recommend this, and I recommend the 1971 Sutherland-Pavarotti-Milnes milestone as well.To have both would be a great pleasure.Thank you"