Larry D. Rodriguez | Houston, TX | 03/17/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This budget recording is an absolute steal. Unlike some other budget recordings, everything here is, in a word, quintessential Caballe. The first selections are from Il Pirata. Given that the studio recording is out of circulation, and thus very hard to find, the "Col Sorriso D'Innocenza" is not to be missed. Some fans complain that her recording in the studio doesn't reach the dizzying heights of her live performances of the role of Imogene (it doesn't), but if this is "second best", give me Caballe's second best any day of the week!The Bellini part of the set is rounded out by Qui la Voce/Vien, Diletto, from I Puritani. Being a Sutherland fan myself, I was curious to hear how Caballe would handle this aria and cabaletta. I have to admit that in the opening cavatina and aria, she very nearly matches Sutherland, note-for-note, in the level of bravura of the singing. However, the slight disappointment comes in the cabaletta, Vien Diletto. The conducting is just too slow, and this results in Caballe not being able to match Sutherland's sparkling recording. Of course, in terms of trills, Sutherland always had the edge. It's not that one was better than the other, just that they had different, wonderful vocal gifts. The Verdi set is equally as good. My favorites are Tu che le Vanita and the Sleepwalking Scene (from Macbeth). In the latter, she sings with a bite to her diction, and reserve the pianissimo for dramatic effect, instead of using it as a crutch (which she became notorious for in the late part of her career). Also, she gives a good delivery of O Patria Mia. She might not be Leontyne Price, but she definitely puts her stamp on the role of Aida.As far as the role of Desdemona, just about everyone else pales next to Mirella Freni, in my mind. But, that doesn't mean that Caballe doesn't give a worthy performance.All in all, for [a] wonderful price, you can have a splendid selection of Caballe's recordings, all done in her prime."
What a voice!
Larry D. Rodriguez | 01/27/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This CD shows yet again that Caballe has the most beautiful voice ever to issue from a human throat. It is a reissue of a compilation that was released in 1988 of older recordings."