|Georges Bizet, Giuseppe Verdi, Giacomo Puccini|
The Ultimate Aria Collection ~ A Passion for Opera
Put together in evident haste, this collection is nevertheless a surefire, appetite-whetting starter kit both for the budding operaphile and for the simply intimidated. The samplings include some of the greatest voices fro... more »
Put together in evident haste, this collection is nevertheless a surefire, appetite-whetting starter kit both for the budding operaphile and for the simply intimidated. The samplings include some of the greatest voices from EMI's vaults: here you'll find the polar opposites Callas and Caballe, the golden wonder of Wunderlich and early Carreras, and a host of other singers who've made their stamp on this century. Emphasis is on the soprano and tenor range, while the lower voices are given short shrift, and the selections cleave predictably to standard Italian and French repertory (with an occasional surprise, such as an aria from Lalo's Le Roi d'Ys). Still, the nearly three and a half hours of music represented will make a ready convert of anyone who hasn't experienced the specially heightened, time-stopping expressivity--beyond the power of mere song--that is the aria's function and will likely spark a desire to explore the larger operatic context in several cases. And though the lack of a booklet with texts or at least bios of the artists is frustrating, this is a good place to begin for an overview of the mesmeric power extraordinary voices can wield. --Thomas May
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Mr JB | Karlskrona Sweden | 08/02/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If you don't like the idea of buying whole operas, or if you're a newcomer to opera - this is an extremely good collection / introduction, worth every single cent. The collection features many of the worlds greatest singers, giving their interpretations of some of the world's greatest arias. The compilation itself is very tasteful and covers a wide range from Handel to early 20th century composers. You won't miss any important stuff from the history of opera, except maybe Wagner and the most modern operas - I'll come back to that fact later. The compilers have actually put some lesser known, although no less beautiful, arias here, that oftenly are neglected on ordinary opera-collections, why the name `ultimate collection' is more than correct in that aspect. EMI have a enormous archive to pick their recordings from, and that of course makes it easy to find first rate interpretations of all the arias included in this collection, and I do think that almost all of the arias are wonderfully sung here. It may be possible to find better performances of single numbers here and there, but I've not yet heard a more complete, wellmatched, and so thrillingly sung collection. Well then, is there nothing wrong with this compilation? You might find it a little odd that there are so many soloarias and so few duets, terzettos a.s.o, especially since the drama in operas oftenly is greater in numbers with more than one singer. You might also wish that some of the recordings had been a little more modern (most of these recordings were made during the 50's, 60's & 70's) giving place to younger performers that still are singing on the stages, but those are minor objections when the over all quality is so high.The maybe strongest objection to this collection is that there is not one single part from any of Wagner's operas, and not any number sung in german, nor is there any parts from modern or russian operas. That may be a miss if you're interested in Wagner, russian and modern opera - on the other hand I think you should watch Wagners, russian and modern operas before listening to recordings of them - and if you've seen them and liked them you will probably buy the whole opera anyway. Therefor I still think that this is a extremely strong and complete compilation - the best I've run into so far. Easy to listen to, yet never banal."
Ralph A. Hassman | Bumpus Mills, Tennessee | 08/03/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"In my small operetic mind, this set of Cd's has completely captured me for the Opera. I was a young and upcoming musician in my youth. I'v been around the block "as it were" with the Classics. This collection is indeed, the benchmark upon which all others would hope to aspire.Congradulations EMI for an incredible vision of the greatest opeatic moments recorded.Gosh what's next?Ralph Hassman"
Incredibly Beautiful . . .
Ralph A. Hassman | 10/26/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If you love opera - this collection of some of the lovliest arias ever sung by artists from Caballe to Freni, from Delibes to Puccini - will inspire you. It is a wonderful gift for friends or for yourself."