Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Giacomo Puccini, Jonel Perlea, Rome Opera House Orchestra|
Puccini: Manon Lescaut
This historic mono recording has long been considered one of the greatest ever made of Puccini?s first successful opera, but this is the first time it has ever been made available at budget price. This is simply some of th... more »
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This historic mono recording has long been considered one of the greatest ever made of Puccini?s first successful opera, but this is the first time it has ever been made available at budget price. This is simply some of the most beautiful singing you will ever hear. Rome Opera House, July 1954.
BEST RECORDING of MANON LESCAUT
Music lover | Philadelphia | 09/25/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
This recording is easily the best one of this work and the benchmark against which all others should be judged.
Perlea's conducting is superb. His tempi have a rightness about them as well as a definite pulse. There is forward momentum without any sense of rushing. He also has the long view in mind, clearly delineating the architecture of the work building the long arcs of each act to a shattering climax.
Albanese's Manon is definitive. The voice may not be to everyone's taste having that sweet/sour tang typical of mid-century Italian lyrics. It is also afflicted with some dryness and is weaker at the bottom. But the sound is intrinsically appealing and touching. A highly communicative singer, as well as a stylish one, this is a Manon to cherish. High C's are clean and strong, the phrasing patrician, the diction crystal clear within an easy legato. We hear a fully rounded, three dimensional woman who lives, loves, cheats, lies, exasperates, dazzles, enthralls, and finally dies. And this Manon really does die. Never have I heard such a realistic, heart-rending, or shattering death scene as this one. Unforgettable! This recording should be required listening of every aspiring singer to learn how to create and present an operatic portrait.
Bjoerling sings like a god and actually, perhaps inspired by his leading lady, acts the part of Des Grieux to perfection. The beauty of the voice, the control, style, phrasing, are to die for. The hair-raising high B in "Guardate, pazzo son!" just one example of the magnificence of his work.
Robert Merrill is a perfect Lescaut. The supporting cast, especially Mario Carlin, are great, and idiomatic. The chorus and orchestra have this music in their bones. The 1954 mono is highly acceptable, the transfer excellent. RCA needs to re-release this ASAP. Get a copy any way you can. Essential listening. A must have!!
One of the greatest opera recordings ever!!!
David Pennebaker | Chattanooga, TN | 06/27/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I owned this on RCA when it came out 50 years ago and loved it then. The intervening years have only convinced me of its worth. Albanese is not the most youthful or beautiful sounding
Manon but she could give lessons to any soprano currently befoe the public in acting with the voice in this kind of music. Perhaps more important she inspires Bjoerling (for my money THE tenor of the 20th century) to a passion and intensity unmatched in all his other work. Their duets leap off the disk with an immediacy and conviction that are thrilling.
Add to this the luxury casting of Merrill, the conducting of Perlea and the unbeatable price and it is a must have album. This is what us old timers mean about the "golden age" of opera.Buy it today."
Lets not go overboard . . .
Tommy | London | 02/15/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I feel I must warn anyone considering buying this set of a few reservations I have with it - especially considering the near hysterical approval that constitutes the other customer reviews.
Firstly, the sound has a strange tendency to break up in fortissimo sections, particularly when the choir is involved in Act 1. In quieter sections the voices are fairly well caught and placed prominently forward in typical 1950's manner. This is not a totally debilitating fault but it is a significantly worse recording than some other "classic" Puccini recordings of the era - e.g. the Beecham Boheme or the De Sabata Tosca are far superior in sonic terms.
Secondly, Albanese's soprano is often squawky, raw and plain out of tune. This is not just a matter of style; it is the vocal deficiency of an ageing singer. She does admittedly improve throughout the opera and her final death scene is powerful and movingly sung. But overall it is not a great Manon by any means - compare the vocally impeccable Caballe for instance.
Thirdly, and least importantly, there is no Libretto provided.
Having voiced my reservations I should finish by agreeing with the verdict on Bjoerling - divine indeed. Perlea's conducting is generally very good - well paced and dramatic. Robert Merril is also great.
There are many good things about this set, particularly Jussi's Tenor which is worth the price on its own. But it is going too far to consider this one of the great Puccini recordings given Albanese's shortcomings and the congested and blurting sound -particularly in the first act."