Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Giacomo Meyerbeer, David Parry, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra|
Meyerbeer - Il Crociato in Egitto / Y. Kenny · D. Jones · Montague · B. Ford · Benelli · Kitchen · Royal PO · D. Parry
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bd57 | New York, NY USA | 12/20/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This recording contains absolutely the most beautiful bel canto singing I've ever heard. There are no weak links in the cast. The conducting is excellent. And the music is outrageous--this is the opera where Meyerbeer out-Rossinied Rossini. If you love bel canto, you will love this recording. It is huge, it is gorgeous. Opera Rara, always perfect in presentation, has outdone itself with this recording, including appendices of many alternate arias, scenes, etc. Congratulations to all concened."
Opera Rara secures Meyerbeer's crown with this recording
Joseph A. Newsome | Burlington, NC United States | 05/29/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Opera Rara has done opera lovers many invaluable services throughout the past two decades by reviving forgotten yet beautiful works on records. This recording of Meyerbeer's "Il Crociato in Egitto" is another jewel in their crown. As always, David Parry conducts with just the right combination of musicianship and authority to ensure that the recording never lapses into dullness even when the music fails to impress with its inspiration. On the whole, however, "Il Crociato" is quite an accomplishment. Meyerbeer is sadly neglected, and apart from Dame Joan Sutherland's lovely recording of his "Les Huguenots" and Marilyn Horne's "Le Prophete" (not to mention Opera Rara's nicely-balanced "Dinorah"), Meyerbeer is poorly represented in the catalogue of recorded opera. The orchestra and chorus are excellent (although the stage bands are a bit blaring at moments). It is the soloists that make this set so rewarding, though. With Yvonne Kenny, Diana Montague, and Della Jones contributing, the recording cannot fail to impress. Each of these singers displays her customary technical prowess, and the excellent Ugo Benelli continues to impress with his bel canto instincts--just as he did decades ago on his recordings of Rossini's masterpieces. Truly, Meyerbeer's composition here resembles Rossini. Tenor Bruce Ford makes this recording indispensible. Although his arias and ensembles are vocally fiendish, he never seems strained or even challenged. The most amazing moment of the recording comes in Appendix, when Ford assays an alernative entrance aria Meyerbeer composed for Adriano. Bruce Ford proves that Donizetti's famous aria containing nine high C's in "La Fille du Regiment" is not the epitome of stratospheric writing for the tenor. Top C's explode with every repeat of Adriano's melodic line, and Ford reaches remarkable heights (even above the top C) in the coloratura. Released to celebrate the bicentenary of Meyerbeer's birth, this recording is not to be missed. An awe-inspiring achievement!"
Extremely excellent recording
John Cragg | 07/24/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"All the reviews so far have said basically the same things I would say about this recording: it is wonderful, and an excellent presentation of a very exciting work (and the great trio in the second act, in the garden later becomes a hymn in Christian hymnals, "Jesus, once of Humble Birth", so it you know that piece, then you can say you don't come to this opera unfamiliar with all the music). With this opera it doesn't matter if you are familiar with the music or not, there is simply not a single boring moment in it. Even the Recitatives are exciting! I think I would also say Meyerbeer did out Rossini even Rossini. He captured his style perfectly, which can be a drawback for some; after all, this isn't Rossini. The orchestra is lead in a very exciting way, and real life is breathed into the music. The delicate touches needed in places are simply as fine as spun lace. The singers actually bubble away with real enthusiasm for the work they are singing. Now, mind you, these singers never disappoint in anything they do. They may not be the biggest names around, but I have yet to find anything they have done (including concerts I have attended with them) where one was not impressed. I really doubt anyone will be disappointed in this work, even if you are not a real bel canto fan. As for using a female mezzo for the lead, well, I think it works out great. I simply couldn't imagine a countertenor doing that music justice. Now, you are not hearing Velluti or any of his embellishments, and really if one were to sing them, one would have had to use an Ewa Podles. Everyone concentrates on how "high " castrati must have sounded, basing everything on what boys sound like (the boy choir sound we are used to is very modern). We firstly have to look at the recordings of Moreschi. He has virtually no technique, so it is not that we are looking at. However, the voice is not like a boy at all. It has body, strength, and a very strong lower register. He floats his upper notes, as was the old way of singing, very focused so they carry, but not that loud. When one reads the reviews of this opera when Velluti sang it in London, one sees something about his way of singing, and combining that with his embellishments, one sees quite a different singer than we expect. He hardly ever ventured above the staff, and then only touched the notes. He also was want to descend as low as E and D below middle C and sustain those tones (he also transposed much of the music down, even as much as a third). Critics found his performance "Lifeless", as they did the lead female singer who was one of his pupils. The reasons are interesting. Both singers sang in a very old style, where the lower tones and middle tones were the strongest, and the upper tones weak, though penetrating. Times were changing, and singers like Pasta and Malibran were starting to sing more full-voiced high notes (though since both women were really mezzos or contraltos who forced their voices to sing soprano, the volume was probably more from forcing than a free volume we are used to today). The public were not greatly impressed with Velluti or his performance. However, when Malibran sang in it, the opera pleased. So the entire thing is academic. We don't train singers the way they used to be trained. We don't train big contralto low notes into our sopranos as was done in the past, and we sing high notes with far more volume than was ever imagined in earlier times. We don't have castrati either. So since in many ways we are not authentic anyway, why worry about it. The work speaks for itself, and that is enough. Great excitement is shared by the performers, and it is obvious they enjoy this work. That is the key to enjoying this work, just sitting back and drinking it in. And as was stated by another reviewer, this is one of the finest renditions of bel canto singing you will find on record."