An important document
operalover | Australia | 02/24/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Comsidering that there are so many live recordings of great artists these days- it comes as a complete surprise that Te Kanawa is not featured more in them. As everyone knows- she is best in the theatre rather than in the recording studio where she can be considered 'dreary'. This compilation is by no means dreary- it is an important document of this great artists' greatest work in live opera. The Boheme is by far her best sung Mimi to date. Impassioned and vivid in potrayal- one can live through her happiness and sadness and the video, which is in private circulation is a grand testament of that. Her Marguerite was not well received in 1974 and it remains her only live stage performance to date but yet again reveals her voice at its prime- tender and absolutely lyrical from top to bottom-the love duets are especially beautiful. Lastly her London debut as Desdemona is full of golden moments and although not as vivid as her debut at the MET- it remains an outstanding performance full of vibrant tone that reminds one of the late de los angeles. It is true that the sound could be better but considering the importance of the work it is indeed a minor distraction. Highly recommended."
Recording quality sinks these disks.
Lanja Samsdottir | Utrecht, Holland | 02/05/2006
(2 out of 5 stars)
"La Boheme was recorded at the Paris Opera in December 1980, Faust and Otello at Covent Garden in 1974. I believe that at this time Te Kanawa had just begun to make international waves with her singing, so these recordings capture her voice early in her career. However, I'm not a real opera connoisseur so I don't feel qualified to judge the vocals - though it's probably worth mentioning that Placido Domingo sings Rodolfo in Boheme.
I would advise against buying this disk for the simple fact that the recording is dreadful, which is why I gave it only 2 stars. The microphones do not appear to have been placed at optimal places in the halls, so the sound has a distant quality that I would even venture to call amateurish. In several places, coughing in the audience is clearer than the singing! Overall, the recording could do with some filtering and compressing to eliminate the often intrusive audience as well as showcase the singers. As it is, the voices are somewhat muted and unclear.
I came away with the very distinct impression that this recording was not done professionally, so much so that I thought something was wrong with my CD player when I initially listened to the first disk. Very die-hard fans may want these disks to round out their collections, but quite frankly I don't think it's worth it."