"After talking to many of my friends who are fellow Tebaldi-ites, they have shyed away from this CD set, as they figure it only contains excerpts from her stereo complete operas. This is true is some cases, but they are missing the boat, and YOU may be too. This set consists of almost ALL of her very famous "comeback' album, "Operatic Arias" from 1964, although this is not noted on the set, which is probably the problem. The aria "In questa reggia" from Turandot is enough to make your hair stand on end. Even a heavyweight such as Joan Sutherland used Tebaldi's recording of this as her base for her own recording of the opera. The two arias from "The Masked Ball" are vocally much superior than the set she recorded in 1970, plus "Selva opaca", not on ANY Tebaldi release, same with "Sogno di Doretta" and "Sempre all'alba" from Giovanna D'Arco. This set includes every track from her famous '64 album. This isn't a "greatest hits" by a long shot, as there are many tracks here you will not find on ANY complete recording. If I, as a HUGE Tebaldi fan, had one recommendation to make of hers, it would be "La Tebaldi". It won't be off your player for months."
A legacy for the ages!
Armindo | Greece | 02/22/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Perhaps the greatest spinto and certainly among the greatest sopranos of all times, with an extremely powerful, amazingly beautiful instrument, Renata Tebaldi on this set heard in some of her best moments! I will not repeat comments on her beautiful voice since it often overshadows the pathos with which she performed each role. To me, she knew exactly where to draw the line between acting and singing. Not too much to become annoying, not too little to become boring. This compilation also shows how versatile this soprano was, with repertoire ranging from Puccini and Verdi to Rossini and even Wagner (though no Wagner aria is heard on this particular double cd). In her early years she also performed Mozart roles!Her Puccini arias will make the most demanding listener cry. Her verdian heroines, enriched with her personal touch, are of exceptional value. Her Desdemona (Otello), Donna Leonora (Forza del destino) and Aida stand perhaps out. Her many verisimo roles sooo moving, full of sorrow and pain, exactly how they are supposed to sound. Just listen to "La mamma morta"! An unsurpassed shocking experience! A previous reviewer (F.W.Barton) correctly mentioned that not all moments are from her complete studio recordings, so this is a unique chance to enjoy alternative Tebaldi performances. Strongly recommended!!!!"
johnnyg316 | Chicago, IL | 01/11/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If you love the warmth and power of Renata Tebaldi then this collection is for you. This has Two CD's of her best works. My favorites are her "o mio babbino caro" her tosca which isnt as dramatic as callas but has a vocal warmth in that aria that makes her voice so perfect for the aria. Another soothing aria would be her Un del di from Butterfly what sweetness and amazing finish to that aria!!! Her amazing power was noticed in La mamma morta and In questa reggia ( which was sooo good that it made me wonder WHY DIDNT SHE SING THIS ROLE ON STAGE) oh and of course her Suicido was also very well done.....Renata Tebaldi was without a doubt one of the best of the century...and this collection proves it."
Tebaldi the Great
Steven A. Peterson | Hershey, PA (Born in Kewanee, IL) | 02/18/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Renata Tebaldi is one of the glorious voices of the past half century. Recordings here come from the 1950s and 1960s. She had a sumptuous spinto voice, clearly manifest on this 2 CD set. Here are some of her "greatest hits." As would be expected, the repertoire of Puccini and Verdi is heavily represented here.
She "leads off" with "Un bel di" from Puccini's "Madame Butterfly." Her voice brings life to this aria; her characterization is right on. At the point, where the volume of her voice increases, the sound remains lush; there is no bleating or ugliness in her singing.
There follow two more classic Puccini arias that Tebaldi does justice to. "Si, mi chiamano Mimi" from "La Boheme" is a wonderful version of this work. She captures the poignancy in Mimi's character. Her work here can probably justly be termed "iconic." In short, this is a ravishing turn by "La Tebaldi." So, too, is her take of "Vissi d'arte" from "Tosca." One can understand the enthusiasm of her claque at La Scala as one listens to her singing. Her rich voice fits these roles nicely; her characterization is well rendered. Her version of "Ritorna vincitor" from Verdi's "Aida" is also well done. Her voice richly captures the character and fits the music well.
Verdi and Puccini are not the only composers represented on this 2 CD set. Also recorded are her singing Boito ("Mefistofele"), Rossini ("William Tell"), Cilea ("Adriana Lecouvreur"), Giordano ("Andrea Chenier"), Catalani ("La Wally"), and so on. Once more, the selection of music in this set well represents her body of work.
All in all, a satisfying selection of "the greatest hits" of Renata Tebaldi. The "liner notes" conclude by referring to her as possessing "a perfect voice of bewitching beauty." I'm not sure that anyone can achieve perfection (the statement has a bit of hyperbole); nonetheless, her voice is ravishing as already noted. Those interested in her recorded oeuvre would be well rewarded by acquiring this work. The CDs serve well to introduce "La Tebaldi" to those who may not have heard her before. Such listeners will be richly rewarded by that introduction. "
A Wonderful Collection From A World-Class Voice
A Certain Bibliophile | 06/12/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"For 18 years, Renata Tebaldi was a permanent member of the ensemble of New York's Metropolitan Opera, along with La Scala of Milan, Covent Garden, and the Vienna State Opera, the most prestigious opera house of the post-war period. Today we think of her mainly in terms of her star status as the prima donna of the Met, mainly in the Italian Fach to which, with very few exceptions, she remained faithful throughout her life. Her big spinto voice, projected and placed with magnificent skill, was put to the service of all the great roles around which she built her repertoire; Sir Rudolph Bing, for many years the General Manager of the Met, is one of those who can tell a tale or two about her determined, iron resistance to all attempts to lure her into a different repertoire or into modern productions. Renata Tebaldi knew precisely what she wanted and always got her own way. Bing's memoirs contain amusing anecdotes about his efforts to obtain her co-operation on various occasions, which were always met by a smiling "Si"; but come the first night, she did precisely what she had always done in the past.
Tebaldi's principal roles have been recorded by DECCA, and a number of individual arias, collected in this recording, testify to her outstanding artistry. From the middle stage of her career onwards Puccini was important to her and the Butterfly, Mimi, Tosca, Angelica, and Lauretta which are recorded here she also sang on stage (but not Magda from "La rondine.") Verdi provided the second pillar on which her career rested. She often appeared as Aida and Desdemona (both recorded under Herbert von Karajan, excerpts of which are recorded here), and "La forza del destino" (the former in a complete recording under Alberto Erede, the latter with Francesco Molinari-Pradelli). Her Elisabetta in "Don Carlo" is captured in an enthralling complete recording of 1964 under Oliviero de Fabritiis, together with extracts from "Ballo" and "Giovanna d'Arco," another memento of the beginning of her career. A 1955 recording recalls her Matilde in Rossini's "Guglieimo Tell" and in the 1958 excerpt from Boito's "Mefistofele" she is already singing Margherita (which she also sang in a complete recording) rather than Elena. Madeleine was one of her most celebrated parts at La Scala, just as it was in New York or Vienna. Back in 1960, she sang in a radio performance of Catalani's "La Wally" and a complete recording was made by DECCA in 1968. "La Gioncanda" provided her, shortly before her departure from New York, with another brilliant part, of which DECCA also made a complete recording.
Tebaldi's Santuzza in "Cavalieria" is perhaps a bit too elegant for current tastes. Turandot's aria lies outside her normal repertoire, as does Rosa Mamai's aria from Cilea's "Ariesiana," a warhorse of the Italian spinto and mezzo repertoire. And why not? By 1964, when this recording was made, Tebaldi had sung virtually everything which at that time constituted the repertoire of her Fach. In the recording studio she showed more interest in novelties than on the stage, and very few famous singers apart from her have tackled Recife's fat-fetched miracle play "Cecilia." Renata Tebaldi not only sang the title part on stage, but also recorded her two great arias for DECCA in 1955. One may smile at the somewhat cloying plot, but what one hears is, as is always the case with Tebaldi, a perfect voice of bewitching beauty. "