|Giacomo Puccini, Herbert von Karajan, Riccardo Chailly|
The Ultimate Puccini Collection
Ordinarily, it pays to be wary of collections such as these, which often promise a lot but deliver a mishmash of disconnected excerpts. This disc, however, is something of an exception: you really do get just about all of ... more »
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Ordinarily, it pays to be wary of collections such as these, which often promise a lot but deliver a mishmash of disconnected excerpts. This disc, however, is something of an exception: you really do get just about all of Puccini's best arias, which is possible, because he didn't write so many operas that choosing the best moments becomes a matter of the producer's personal taste. Also, Puccini's operas are so popular that every major label has excellent complete recordings of all of them, so in making this compilation it was possible to cast from strength: all the singers here are fine. In fact, the only proviso that needs to be made before you rush out and add this disc to your collection is that it's wrong to assume that all of Puccini's best tunes lie in his arias. The opening 10 minutes of any one of his operas will tell you that's not true. So by all means enjoy this disc--then start sampling the operas complete. --David Hurwitz
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"Ultimate" only if you like your opera "al fresco"!
J. J. Conti | Alexandria VA | 06/13/2002
(3 out of 5 stars)
"The music is without question, among the most beautiful ever written. But the quality of the fidelity tells me that many of the selections were recorded live in concert in outdoor venues. I wish that was clear to me before I bought the disc. So, is the music the ultimate? YES! Is the recording the ultimate? NO!"
Wonderful Performance but Average Recording Quality
J. J. Conti | 02/18/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I love opera! I love Puccini! Not only is the vocalism important to me, but the quality of the recording as well. I enjoy my hi-tech sound system. I like to feel as if I am sitting in the front row of the first balcony when I listen to opera. This CD is excellent! The vocalists were well chosen. The technical performances are eloquent and emotional, as Puccini should be. However, the quality of the recording is not very good. No matter how you adjust your sound system, the recording is a bit tinny and as a result, the emotional high points of the arias are not as vibrant as they could be if the recording were of better quality. I would recommend this CD to anyone who loves Puccini and who is not as finicky as I!"
Only London Records could do it...
Valentin Lorien | 07/11/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I'd have to say that London Records has the best opera recordings overall, and it's no wonder why they were able to form such a magnificent compilation of Puccini's most listened to arias on this CD. I recommend it to any opera fan, whether novice or expert, because what London did is use the best singers for each aria. Your favorite singers might be Luciano Pavarotti, Renata Tebaldi, or Franco Corelli, and you might have complete operas sung by them, but this CD makes less-popular singers known, such as Pilar Lorengar, and demonstrate how well each singer sings the aria that they sing the best. For example, the song "Un bel dì vedremo" from Madama Butterfly has been sung by just about every famous soprano out there (Maria Callas, Renata Scotto, Renata Tebaldi, etc.) but one soprano whom I've never heard of sings this aria in the most enchanting way i've ever heard. More examples include Pilar Lorengar singing "Ch'il bel sogno di Doretta" from La Rondine, and Gianna D'Angelo singing "Musetta's Waltz" from La Boheme. And don't worry, the big stars sing their best arias, too: Luciano Pavarotti blows you away his "Nessun Dorma" from Turandot and Jussi Björling makes you want to cry with his "Ch'ella mi creda libero e lontano" from La Fanciulla del West.Finally, I just have to say that this CD is a must. London Records carefully chose each singer with their best arias to perform and this CD, and most importantly, EVERYONE is in their prime here. There isn't anything bad to say about this CD except that I wish there was more on here, but what can you expect from one CD? I also wish that a little bit of Maria Callas was on here, but then again, she is only on EMI CD's and this is a London Recording, oh well, just buy all of her recordings anyway :-)I hope this helped whoever is reading this. I'd also like to hear your comments, so email me."