A wonderful recording - sadly, likely to be overlooked.
email@example.com | Scotland | 08/07/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is a full-blooded, but also insightful, recording of an opera that has been done to death. Sadly, performances usually attract singers better known for their volume than their musical sensitivites. I fear that this is near the truth for Eva Marton, but nothing could be further from it as far as Heppner and Price are concerned. Heppner sings Calaf with true heroic scale, but also with great beauty of tone and respect for the composer's intention. Aside from his interpretation, there were two other pleasant surprises for me. Roberto Abbado easily convinces, on this recording, that he is a conductor in the front rank. He is excellent at pacing the music, and especially in building towards the climax -- and there are SO many climaxes in this score that it can give you earache. The other great surprsie, and it was a delight, was the Liu of Dame Margaret Price. Astonishing that a singer best known for lieder, for her Mozart, Verdi and Strauss, should turn her hand to Puccini at this stage in her career. Nonetheless, she is ravishing in the role and exposes the extraordinary beauty and vulnerability in the role, and character, of Liu. Wonderful!"
A Turandot past her prime
J. Russ | 01/29/2000
(2 out of 5 stars)
"While Ben Heppner makes an excellent Calaf, the Turandot of Eva Marton is disappointing. She cares more about decibels than anything and is well past her prime. The orchestral playing is average."
Give it a chance...you might really like it
J. Russ | 07/18/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"It seems to me that Marton is attacked for singly "badly", or at least, not "as beautifully" as Sutherland or Nilsson. I admit, that her voice can't hardly be called beautiful; but neither can Calla's. I admit, that her singing shows signs of stretching; but so does Ricciarelli's. But both Callas and Ricciarelli recorded enjoyable Turandot and gave me many hours of listening pleasure. I agree that both Sutherland and Nilsson sang effortlessly; but that's precisely why I don't care much for their recordings. It's too easy. Turandot is not a pretty-pretty lamb-like princess. She is a predator, a sick woman who craves for revenge. I think in this aspect Marton protrays the princess perfectly. Marton does seem to have trouble maintain a smooth vocal line; and therefore after a while, her signing sounds very weighty, even throaty at times. Then again, doesn't Franco Corelli's singing sound like that too? No one seems to mind because---there's so much passion and glory in his singing, people tend to ignore that aspect. I think Marton should be given the same consideration. I really think she does a great job singing the role. Give this recording a chance, you might really like it!
As so many people mentioned above, Ben Heppner does a wonderful job singing Calaf; if not at times being a bit uncreative. Margaret Price doesn't seem like the right fit for the role of Liu, but she sings beautifully. Roberto Abbado's conducting is passionate and engaging. I give this recording four stars.