"The other review here ONLY focuses on the unreleased material on this set, which was NOT included in it's original release in 1969. The reason Tebaldi had these "out of character" arias suppressed was that she wanted them released on her 75th birthday, and they were. I STILL think her "Casta Diva" surpasses Sutherland, who is an exquisite singer, but almost completely lacking emotion. The WHOLE of this CD set however is the ORIGINAL album, which was made for her fans. Her "swansong" of sorts, if you will. The Wagner arias could not be more beautifully sung in ANY language, Same for the Samson arias. Also the "encore" arias, including a tremendous "Grenada", how many times have you heard a woman sing this? "If I Loved You" is the most beautiful rendition I have EVER heard, and would make Rogers and Hammerstein even MORE proud of their composition. All of my friends who have bought this set agree, it's wonderful. The 5 other tracks are "bonus" ones, and should NOT be confused with the album as originally released. In the original album's context, her voice is incredible, doing such magical things, that even the orchestra applauded after a "take." Take my word, or ask a friend; this won't be off your player for a LONG time. Tebali-ites MUST have this in their collection, as it proves, to everyone, that her voice had risen to incredible heights, even this late in her career. Even Tebaldi said, "I want to be remembered for THIS singing." I could recommend lots of others, however this 2CD set is unique, and unlike any other Renata Tebaldi put out. Her CARMEN arias are superb, no matter WHAT the language."
A new side of a great singer
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Tebaldi is my favortie singer and this is one of my favorite of her recordings. I had the original release when it came out and enjoyed if very much . . . particularly playing the "Liebestod" and challenging someone to identify the voice. However, when the CD came out, I was surprised and delighted to find other "goodies" on it that I had not recalled from the LP's. They are WONDERFUL -- particularly the "Casta Diva" and "O Don Fatale" -- wouldn't it be great to hear a mezzo sing that with such blazing high notes! The Nabucco aria is not a favorite and is not what I would judge the set by but the other "new" material is well worth having and enjoying . . . and of course the original material is likewise."
Tebaldian all the way!
Andrew Coffill | Chicago, Il. USA | 09/29/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"A lot of peolpe I talk to about this album are skeptical about it, saying that she shouldn't have made it, but then my response usually is, "Well where else are you going to hear her sing some of these selctions, which I think are better than other singers' interpretations?!!" You will not be able to hear her do the mad scene from Puritani, Casta Diva, or anything from Nabucco on any other CD of hers-end of story!! True, she may have been past her prime, but so was the "rival"(Callas)which didn't seem to stop her for the next 20 years, and seeing as how Tebaldi lasted for 30 years+ by being careful not to damage her instrument, as opposed to Callas' 13 years of complete misuse...well, need I say more? Enjoy!"
primo_divo_assoluto | Middlesex, NJ, USA | 03/27/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"There is nothing on this collection of arias/songs that I dislike. All are sung beautifully, with utmost artistry and dramatic emotion. Tebaldi never had the severe vocal crisis of Maria Callas, so even in these last years there isn't even a semblance of a wobble. That is not an attack on La Callas it is simply the truth. Throughout her life, Tebaldi had a good, solid technique and a lush velvety tone only exemplified by the acquisition of full, chest tones towards the end of her career. There are, of course, some things that Tebaldi should not have sung. The scenes before and after Casta Diva (including the aria) are very good, with the exception of the little bits of coloratura between verses. She should not have ventured into "Ah! bello a me ritorna" because she could not handle the coloratura. Not because of poor training, but her voice was not one that could move as easily as others. It was a huge instrument. Her scena ed aria from "Puritani" while lacking, once again, in the coloratura passages, can still be appreciated for it's warmth and innocence. The scene from Nabucco, I believe, is immaculate. I cannot help but listen to it. It's full of the fiery passion of Abigaille, the deceit, the anguish, the angry, the loneliness. It's also there. We can certainly forgive the lacking florid passages. Her O don fatale is my favorite. Even the aria from La Sonnambula is amazing. I don't care if it's bel canto. This is something that Tebaldi could've sung at any time in her career. That is not to say that she could've handled Amina. Certainly not. "Ah! non giunge!" would've been suicide for Tebaldi.
Yes, there are better recordings of nearly everything on this disc, whether by Tebaldi, or by another artist. But the title of the album is correct...it's a Tebaldi Festival! It's comparable to a carnival. You can listen and just have fun with Mme. Tebaldi.
I won't ignore, of course, the first disc. Some stuck up opera whores will say that Tebaldi singing Wagner/Massenet/Saint-Saens in Italian is heinous. Have we forgotten that until recently most operas were sung in the language of the audience or in the language of the interpreter? I would rather here an emotionally present "liebestod" in Italian than a weak, distracted, stumbling one in German.
It's good stuff, people!"
Tebaldi's swan song?
Armando Garcia | 11/01/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"It wasn't without some reservation that I purchased this recording, which I later came to cherish dearly. I was intrigued by the fact that Tebaldi wanted to give a try to a Fach that did not suit her otherwise manifolded talent. I am referring to the bel canto heroines such as Norma and Elvira, along with the veristic Carmen and sensous Dalila. While Carmen and Dalila fare much better, given Tebaldi's stunning arsenal of dark chest notes, the dramatic coloratura parts of Norma and Elvira are below par, as Tebaldi never was a coloratura soprano (she was a spinto soprano) and must therefore negotiate the difficult fioriture with evident great effort. Nevertheless, it is a pleasure to listen to her in these pieces. The first part of Norma's grande entrée showstopper, "Sediziose voci..", and the ensuing recitative are sung with rich detail and plenty of bravura. This recording however is a well of surprises. I was totally swept off my feet by Tebaldi's rendition of Wagner's Liebestod. I remember saying to myself: "brava, Renata!", when I first listened to this piece. Later, I read in the liner notes that the members of the orchestra had stood up for an improvised ovation of the diva after the recording of Liebestod. I can now understand why. My surprise continued for the whole of the German repertoire on this recording (albeit in Italian) and for the velvety excerpts from Sonnambula and Manon, where Tebaldi brings a lovely touch of melancholic vulnerabiltiy."