You too will become "Mad About Sopranos"
Rachel Cruz | Madison, Wi | 08/29/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Mad about Sopranos, is a wonderful collection of fantastic voices singing outstanding and well known music. Not only is it's music selection diverse from Offenbach's "The Doll Song" to Wagner's Brunnhilde, but the complilation of different voice types is a real treat. This is a great album for an oprera lover at any level, but is also a excellent album to compliment the growing repertiore of a young singer studying opera. I loudly echo Robert Levine's review regarding this cd; "It's a feast for the ears"."
Divas Of More Recent Years
Rachel Cruz | 06/18/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"When I brought this album I assumed the sopranos featured in it would be more classic sopranos of decades past- Maria Callas, Renata Tebaldi, Birgit Nilsson, Leontyne Price, Montserrat Caballe, Joan Sutherland, Beverly Sills, etc. But instead we get a fine collection of soprano arias sung by divas of more recent years. The album feautes such artists as Edita Gruberova- an essentially lyric-coloratura soprano who sings one hell of a Doll Song from Tales of Hoffman is showcased here. Cheryl Struder as Violetta, Edith Mathis as Pamina, Karen Ott as the Queen as the Queen of the Night (Magic Flute) Kathleen Battle as Zerlina from Don Giovanni (Batti Batti)..I'm not thrilled about Miss Battle though her voice, a coloratura miracle, is good, she herself was an unprofessional and terrible diva drama queen with very bad manners. Mirella Freni is gloriously showcased her singing the emotionally moving Puccini heroines- Madame Butterfly and Manon Lescaut. Mirella Freni is a soprano I am very fond of. She had a voice that was flexible so she could sing not only fine Puccini roles as the ones previously mentioned (not to mention her Tosca) but Tatiana in Tchaikovsky's Russian opera Eugene Onegin and the French reperotire- she sings the best Micaela ever from Bizet's Carmen and Marguerite in Gounod's Faust as well as Juliette and Mirelle. It's fitting that Mirella Freni should be here in this album, for she is truly the last great "Italian" diva.
Anna Tomowa Sintow, a dramatic lyric soprano possessing a huge voice, is showcased here as Dona Ana in Don Giovanni singing "Or Sai Che L'onore" in a grand manner. She is also in the Trio with Agnes Baltsa for the richly layered cake of an opera that is Strauss' Der Rosenkavalier. Barbara Hendricks is here, as is Hildegard Behrens and Jessye Norman. These singers were making it big in the 80's and early 90's. I wish they could have made this album bigger. In the 80's there were many singers that were shining as brightly as any of these. For instance, the very neglected Ghena Dimitrova whose voice has to be without a doubt the most powerful ever!! Carol Vanness could have been featured as well, certainly she's a singer harkening to the best of Callas with a big voice as well as lyric subtle beauty.
I wish they could have just showcased sopranos of great allure from past and present. Kiri Te Kenawa as the Countess is fine but she did much more than Mozart- she sang Strauss extremely well. Callas is not here ? Whats' that all about ? She needs no introduction so I shan't comment on her. Anyone who knows opera will never avoid the mention of Callas. Katia Ricciarelli is here but she is singing Aida, something more fitting for the voice of Leontyne Price who did the best damn Aida ever. If only they could have featured her in this. Ricciarelli was much better as Tosca, Queen Elisabeth Valois in Don Carlo, Desdemona in Otello, or Luisa Miller- her voice is big but very lyric. And for an album of newer divas where is Renee Fleming ? Enough said. But not a bad album really."
Soprano Songbirds In All Their Glory
Rudy Avila | Lennox, Ca United States | 02/21/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This compilation album is a dazzling showcase of the multiple range and repertoire of the female singing voice in opera. It is a cd which fans of the opera and of sopranos should not be without. This "Mad About" series is a great way to get you into opera if you're not hooked into it already. Other titles in the "Mad" labels include "Mad About Puccini" "Mad About Wagner" "Mad About Italian Opera" etc. Look for them to add to you're collection. They're all very impressive. As the title indicates, this cd features the beauty and virtuosity of the soprano voice. The compilation album features some of the best singers of the last 30 years - among them Mirella Freni, Hildegard Behrens, Cheryl Struder, Kiri Te Kenawa and Agnes Baltsa. Of course, considering the total number of amazing sopranos who have graced the opera stage, this catalog of sopranos is very limited. Not showcased here is Maria Callas and her contribution to the opera world, Cecilia Bartoli whose mezzo-soprano style is dynamic, Beverly Sills whose coloratura ranks among the finest, Joan Sutherland, Shirley Verrett, Leontine Price, Elizabeth Schwartzkopff and Birgit Nilsson. These opera women have all been great artists throughout the 20th century and should have been featured on this cd.The album makes use of the coloratura richness of Cheryl Struder in her role as Violetta from Verdi's Traviata. "Sempre Libera" is a tour de force aria and Struder really delivers all the goods. On here is the art of Mirella Freni, who was quite skilled at singing various Puccini heroines, from Tosca to Madama Butterfly. Freni's arias on here are "Vissi D'arte" and "Un Bel Di" respectively. But something that should have been used is her Russian repertoire. Mirella Freni performed as Tatiana from Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin to great acclaim. Kiri Te Kenawa first achieved international recognition in her performance as The Countess in Mozart's Le Nozze Di Figaro. Her aria "Porgi Amor" is exquisite. Hildegard Behrens, a Wagnerian and German-singing soprano, was able to achieve equal success as Brunhilde and even as Tosca. The Immolation Scene from Gotterdammerung, Wagner's masterpiece, is featured on the last track and Behrens is sensational as the suicidal Valkyrie. There it is, folks. This is a must have for fans of the soprano voice in opera. Look also for "Mad About Tenors"."