"Nevermind the technical merit and attention to detail that a review should have, this is purely and simply a rave review. Nothing more, nothing less. I love opera, am hard to please, and generally don't like albums of arias, preferring the complete works to the fancy bits. But, God in heaven, what a voice. I've listened to it twice in the first day, and I can still hardly believe it's true. Don't wait. For heaven's sake, buy the thing NOW! THIS MINUTE! MOVE! Now I'm going to lie down to recover... Thank you."
A music lover | Princeton, NJ | 02/12/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"What a joy! A shining example of great singing. This is dramatic singing at its finest. The voice is a phenomenon - I only wish I heard her live in the opera house. A voice of breadth, power and beauty, like a doric column - even from top to bottom, a true soprano dramitica agilita. (This is a woman that sang Bach cantata arias constantly as a member of the famous Bach Aria Group as well as the great dramatic parts).
I feel there are several definitive interpretations here, 'Ozean der Ungerheur' - the cantilena and coloratura are mind boggling for a voice of this size - Nilsson cannot even compare in this regard. Also the Menotti aria, what drama, what sound, what DICTION!
This recording is a document against which every serious, professional singer should test their 'mettle'. The collaboration with Thomas Schippers is very fine."
A magnificent artist
A music lover | 01/09/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Eileen Farrell sings amazingly on this CD. She is superb in the opera arias; I especially like her in "Suicidio!", "Adieu, forêts!", Il est doux, il est bon", and "L'année en vain-Azaël! pourquoi mas-tu quittée". In the "La Gioconda", she sings with much passion and pours out glorious torrents of sound. Her singing of the phrase "un dì leggiadre volavan l'ore" is exquisite. She shows remarkable delicacy in the French opera arias, as well as her huge sound during the climaxes. I really am not as impressed with her "Ozean, du Ungeheuer". She doesn't do it for me in this aria the way Birgit Nilsson does. Also, the engineers scale back the sound during the cabaletta. This lessens the impact of Farrell's immense voice, which is really an incredible instrument. I love her singing of the aria from "The Consul", "To this we've come". She displays extraordinary emotion and fire in this aria, all the while singing in very clear English.
In the English-language songs, she sings with emotional warmth, sincerity, and great restraint. Her voice displays a timeless beauty in the song "Down by the Sally Gardens". Her rendition of "Danny Boy" is heartfelt and very touching. Her English diction is exemplary, every word clearly enunciated with care and clarity.
One thing I admire tremendously about Eileen Farrell is her seemingly natural way with any type of music she sings. She always adapts her voice to the demands of the piece. Also, her sincerity and utter guilelessness is very refreshing to hear. She never fakes emotions, overemotes, or wallows in her own sound. Listen up, Renée Fleming!
Farrell demonstrates on this CD why she is such a legendary singer."
A music lover | 02/26/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This recital is a great tribute to a sadly underrated singer. Some of the less familiar items are stunningly sung (e.g. the Debussy and Massenet arias), but the highlight for me is the "Suicidio." This just might be the best recording of this area ever (with nods to Ponselle, Callas, Tebaldi, et al). I think it blows the sox off the competition, much the same way the "In questa reggia" from the Puccini album does. Hopefully, Columbia will see fit to reissue the Puccini someday."