Buy, buy, buy, absolutely amazing!
Marten Velthuijsen | Maarssen, Utrecht, The Netherlands | 02/28/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I had allready seen this box a few times before I bought it and I had always planned to buy it, never having looked at the price, so when I came to the shop yesterday I saw it again and I checked the price aswell: 15 euros only (about fifteen dollars aswell)!!!
So I bought it and I don't regret it! As a beginning Puccini-fan I don't have so many of his operas on CD at home, like this I have pieces of five of his great operas for 15 euros (one hour per opera!!!!)
Now one might think: so much for so little money, it must be bad, unknown singers. They're not!
La Boheme is with beatifull Mirella Freni, Nicolai Gedda and Mario Sereni, and ooooh how well a Mimì is Freni. How sweet, how shy and also how funny!
Madama Butterfly is with Victoria de los Angeles, Jussi Bjorling and Mario Sereni again. And allthough De los Angeles is not such a young Cio-cio-san in the first act (she's still AMAZING!!!) she makes up (and how??!!) in the second act. She is very good! That's the only word. And ofcourse the great Jussi Bjorling with his understanding of the music, the text and his smooth toning is absolutely amazing. In Madama Butterfly there's an aria from Cio-cio-san in the second act called: Che tua madre dovra. Ofcourse I had heard it before, but the way De los Angeles portrays the character here, is from unknown beauty!
Turandot is good. Montserrat Caballé is very good at portraying this character and sings it nice, not as good as Sutherland, but still good. José Carreras is very beautifull in this recording, allthough I'm not a particular fan of his, having Mirella Freni as Líu is pure luxery, but ooh so touching!
Manon Lescaut I had never heard before. So this was a big treat for me. With Montserrat Caballé in the title-role (she's one of my favorite sopranos) and Placido Domingo as De Grieux (I'm not really into Domingo, but he's good in this role). The pure and innocent pianissimos of Caballé are so beatiful that it almost seems inhuman.
There were two parts that I liked particularly: first the famous intermezzo and second the song of the small mezzo part in this opera. Absolutely a great opera from wich I would like to hear more.
The last opera this box containes is Tosca. It's not my first Tosca, but it is my second. The first I heard was with Angela Gheorghiu, Roberto Alagna and Ruggero Raimondi. It was good for a while, but I didn't really like the singers (except for Raimondi) so I quit listening to it. Then I heard this and discovered how beautiful Tosca can be.
Renata Scotto sing a Tosca only definable as magnificent. Because that's what it is, with her huge Puccini-voice she tackles the part as if it's nothing. Her acting is great and with a lot of stile.
Domingo as Cavaradossi is nice, but he's not the right tenor for this part. Renato Bruson is great as Scarpia.
From Tosca the parts I like the most are the dialoges between Tosca and Scarpia in the second act and the very end of the opera, when Tosca waits for the executioners to shoot, then discovers Mario is dead and then jumps. The music with that is so gripping!
This box is worth it's five stars, because of the dazzling singers in every opera and the price of the box!!! Buy, you won't regret it.
For heaven's sake, don't confuse this with opera!
L. E. Cantrell | Vancouver, British Columbia Canada | 11/21/2005
(1 out of 5 stars)
"Sheesh, the marketing mavens are at it AGAIN!
With all due respect to the admirable enthusiasm of the previous reviewer, EMI has effectively shortchanged him with this collection of highlights. Let's be absolutely clear about this: an opera is more than an assemblage of bleeding hunks. An opera is (or should be) a large-scale work with both a dramatic and a musical arc. Both of these arcs are undercut and mangled in the process of selecting highlights, thus providing a falsified picture of what the composer, librettist(s), conductor and cast intended."