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Puccini: La fanciulla del West
Giacomo Puccini, Franco Capuana, Accademia di Santa Cecilia Orchestra
Puccini: La fanciulla del West
Genre: Classical
  •  Track Listings (22) - Disc #1
  •  Track Listings (23) - Disc #2


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Armindo | Greece | 09/22/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This is the landmark recording of Puccini's less popular La Fanciulla del West. It is quite different (more theatrical) from the other Puccini operas and it is in my opinion, experienced better live, in an opera house. The role of Minnie is arguably one of the most difficult roles to cast and especially to perform. It requires a powerful, firm voice but since it's a Puccini role, the voice must be beautiful as well. Renata Tebaldi's success in this role is legendary and she repeated the role on stage many times in the `60s. Here in 1958, she is caught in her absolute prime! The voice is glorious, hitting the high notes with amazing precision but always remaining warm and enchanting. As for acting skills, just purchase this set and listen to her... at any moment (the poker game for example!). In fact, most Tebaldi fans regard this as her best studio performance.But is it just Tebaldi that makes this set a miracle? Mario del Monaco here proves once again that he is one of the greatest tenors ever! His stentorian voice might not be suitable for other Puccini roles (Pinkerton or Rodolfo for example) but as Johnson he is superb. His handsome low and electrifying high notes shine in this recording. Cornell MacNeil's beautiful baritone voice is another asset of this set. In fact, EVERYONE in the cast is great but what truly amazes, is the chemistry between the performers! It is among the most "live" studio recordings I have ever listened to! The opera's closing scene (last two tracks) is one of Puccini's grandest achievements and these legendary singers make the best out of it. Maestro Capuana conducting is in the same league as his sublime soloists, which definitely helps us enjoy Puccini's magic! The sound quality, by the way, is excellent. A lot of people in the US were looking for this recording and Amazon finally releases it. Enjoy it!!"
A major milestone in Tebaldi's distinguished career
Armando Garcia | 02/21/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"No words can describe the pleasure of listening to Renata Tebaldi in this opera, perhaps Puccini's most original work. It belongs in any Puccini-lover's shelf. This is a wonderful recording, sounding astonishingly vivid and clear for its age. Tebaldi is in excellent form, portraying an idiomatic and believable Fanciulla and a very Italian one at that too, gracing the score with her sumptuous voice, like a torrent of molten gold, to suit the demands of this Wagnerian-like rôle. Her aristocratic phrasing and perfect diction are a lesson for any singer. Tebaldi delivers deep dramatic intensity in a spinto rôle that, in my opinion, fitted her like a glove. This is a recording I keep coming back to very often. We ought to be eternally indebted to Decca for recording Tebaldi in this rôle in her absolute prime. The rest of the cast is first-rate. Mario del Monaco, boasting a clarion-sounding, virile voice and electrifying phrasing, is a delight. Cornell McNeill too is in excellent voice and his singing is idiomatic and coloured. The orchestra at times seems to be a character in the opera in its own right. A wonderful set. I would give it 10 stars if I could."
bob turnley | birmingham,al,usa | 12/22/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Face it. All the best opera recordings were made between the mid 50s and early 70s. Fortunate for us that the final golden age of opera singing coincided with the onset of high fidelity stereo recording. This Fanciulla is a golden age performance. Sure, Carol Neblett had better high notes but the rest of the Tebaldi performance is a treasure. The role of Dick Johnson seems like it was written precisely for the voice of Del Monaco. His miraculous high notes are among the wonders of recorded opera. Cornell MacNeil's brief vocal prime was captured in this recording. This Fanciulla easily deserves a place alongside the Callas Tosca, the Bjoerling Boheme and the Caballe Manon Lescaut as the best Puccini recordings ever made."