Homiski | 07/13/2000
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I saw a production of basically this cast at the Met (but with Levine conducting) and the singing is indeed TOP notch. If you do like Dawn Upshaw's voice (which I do), then by all means this is the recording of the Rake's to have. If you just want to hear Upshaw doing the "No Word from Tom/I go to him" cabaletta/aria then I would recommend her "knoxville CD" which has that combo w/ Zinman conducting. I would probably have a more favorable (higher starred) review of this particular recording if I had not purchased the new Gardiner one. If you are the 1st time customer wanting to listen to Neo-Classic Stravinsky at his best, then that is the one to go with: faster tempi, unbelievable diction, crisp strings, albeit no-Upshaw. Nagano gets a fantastic sound (as usual) but I would recommend the Gardiner."
This is a great Rake!
Justin Weaver | 01/11/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Kent Nagano leads the Lyon Opera Orchestra, Chorus and a cast of great soloists in one of the best Rake recordings ever.Nagano does all he can to emphasize the delightful grotesqueness of Stravinsky's late neoclassic style. The famous Act II, Scene 2 Finale where Baba unveils herself before the crowd comes off so well, you'll want to jump for joy!Dawn Upshaw gives a spotless performance end-to-end; her voice lends the appropriate innocence to Ann Trulove's character. Hadley's experience in music theater (cf. Bernstein's Candide) is evident in his fumbling, bumbling, somewhat bombastic Tom Rakewell... One surmises his intonation is not perfect, but probably shouldn't be for the part anyhow.Samuel Ramey can make you laugh and scare the daylights out of you with his deep, brooding Nick Shadow (the best rendering of this character ever, I think). Grace Bumbry is downright disgusting as Baba the Turk, playing up Baba's extravagent excess to a tee.This is not a 'serious' Rake, but the Rake is not a serious opera... just a seriously good opera. The cast bring the heavy-handed moral and often silly themes to the fore in high theatrical style... as Stravinsky doubtless intended.This is a great buy! - you won't be disappointed."
Another hit-or-miss Rake
Santa Fe Listener | Santa Fe, NM USA | 09/18/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This makes about four stereo recordings of The Rake's Progress, along with the Gardiner, Chailly, and Craft, that fall down seriously compared to the classic Sixties version on Sony with the composer and a host of perfectly cast singers. In this case, the dud is Hadley, who sings with mannered earnestness and a total lack of Stravinsky style...he is into himself every moment. The Nick Shadow is good but nothing speical, and even Dawn Uppshaw, who should have been a spectacular Anne, sounds underpowered and somewhat tentative emoitonally. This is a hrd opera to get right, and the only one that does so far is the composer's and a DVD from Glyndebourne under Haitink, with marvelous sets and costumes by David Hockney."