Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Gioachino Rossini, Daniele Gatti, Renée Fleming|
Rossini - Armida / Fleming, Kunde, Francis, Kaasch, Fowler, D'Arcangelo, Gatti
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adam,lorenzetti | Rome,Italy | 04/13/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"In August 1992 I was working at the Rossini Opera Festival and I was very excited to meet Anna Caterina Antonacci who was supposed to sing Armida,one of my favourite operas.On August 1 around 12:00 pm. I receive a phone call from Antonacci's agent,cancelling the preformances. i was so disappointed I felt like crying,but we did have a double,her name was Renée Fleming a young and almost unknown american soprano.She was there the next day and rehearsed the aria "D'amor al dolce impero" at the piano. I must confess that loving Antonacci so much I had a prejudice against this young soprano,but when she opened her mouth it was like listening to a miracle, the beauty of her voice,her incredible technique and her amazing grasp of the Rossini style left me speechless and astonished. Needless to say she was wonderfull throughout the hole score and the preformances were flabbergasting,it was fortunate that they decided to record one of them so that everybody can enjoy this masterfull interpretation. After Callas' preformances in Florence in 1952 it seamed as though we had lost the real Armida voice,Christine Deutekom sang the part in the sixties,June Anderson in the eighties and Cecilia Gasdia recorded it in 1987 but each of these singers failed in recreating the true Rossini style.Armida is Rossini's third neapolitan opera wrote for his future wife Isabella Colbran one of the greatest opera divas of her time; born a contralto she gradually turned into a soprano and this switch left her with a very large vocal range and an incredible vocal agility. This particular vocal organization was to influence every opera wrote for her(10 all together,9 for the "Teatro San Carlo" in Naples and Semiramide wrote for the "teatro la Fenice" in Venice. Armida is probably one of the most difficult roles in opera history,the soprano is the only female role in the opera,she's almost always on stage and her voice is asked to run up and down the scale constantly with terrifying two octave jumps. The results achieved by Fleming in this live recording are astonishing excpecially considering she was at the beginning of her career,if you love Rossini and female voices you can't miss this Armida,pain,anguish,fury,cruelty,every emotion is portrayed with such artistry that the listener is thrown into a magical exceperience that will leave him speechless.If there is anybody who hasn't heard it yet I hope that this review will convince him. The rest of the cast is outstanding,Kunde is a valid partner for Fleming and Giorgio Gatti always finds the right tempos and the right atmosphere. Enjoy,enjoy,enjoy!!!!!
Mr T.Dennis | 02/17/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I attended these Pesaro performances, and wish to inform potential buyers that the set preserves in fine sound really remarkable performances from all the principals of one of Rossini's most demanding and individual Neapolitan operas. On buying the CD's I wondered if my memories of the live performances had been true to form, and all I have to add is that they were thrillingly confirmed! When the vocal demands of this work are considered, the beauty, virtuosity and stylish panache of the singers deserve all the bravos they can get!"
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Mr T.Dennis | 11/07/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The story of Armida was very popular. As I remember there are something like 20 full length opera based on the plot. Rossini's was almost the last of them. There is of course the famous Armida by Haydn another by Lully, Gluck and Dvorak.The Rossini version is also famous because it supposedly requires five tenors. In fact the tenors in the first act can come back as other newly introduced tenor characters in the last act. This is how it was originally done. Strangely at the premier the bass was sick and they had to substitute - you guessed it - another tenor. In this recording from the Pesaro festival there is no part doubling. Lots of tenors.So did they find enough good tenors? In a word yes.Gergory Kunde is a real find. It isn't a real big voice. He's sort of like a good not great Mozart tenor - say Kurt Streit - for most of his voice. Then there's the top. He has a sort of turbo charger above the break. This is of course nothing at all like the voice that Rossini was writing for. We know that Andrea Nozzari - the first Rinaldo - had great low notes and we suspect that the top was some kind of head voice. Maybe Nozzari sounded like Chris Merritt on the bottom nad Stanford Olsen on the top. This is exactly the opposite of Kunde. Not much at the bottom but a top like Vesuvius. No matter, Kunde makes it work.Strangely Rinaldo has no aria but don't worry he gets lots of duets and of course the famous trio for tenors.The opera starts off with a giant scene for tenor and crusaders - recit, aria, and a cabaletta ending on a C. For anyone else this would be the climax of the show in the third act finale with the star tenor. In Armida its a curtain openner for a character who disappears shortly therafter. Donald Katsch is very good in this scene but we would like to hear Kunde.The eponymous role was written for Rossini's squezze. She sings a lot. Many duets and the big aria 'Di Dolce Amor'. Fleming is worth a trip as they used to say in the travel business. Until I heard this recording I had consideredher a Puccini singer. I and the world now know, she is an everything singer. I like her better than Caballe in the aria. Her duet with Kunde in the first act is one of the excerpts I always play for friend, especially those who think Rossini is all patter and coloratura. That duet always reminds me of the similar duet in Les Troyans.The sound is good but sometimes a little hollow. The tenor trio sadly is badly captured. The conducting and the musical preparation are all first class."