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Armida [Live]

Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Markus Schafer Audio CD
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
Price: 19.99
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Product details

  • Audio CD (6 Nov 2000)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: Live
  • Label: Teldec
  • ASIN: B00004YSFQ
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 80,827 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Disc: 1
1. Sinfonia - Concentus Musicus Wien/Nikolaus Harnoncourt
2. Recitativo - Amici, il fiero Marte - Oliver Widmer/Cecilia Bartoli
3. Aria - Vado a pugnar contento - Christoph Pregardien
4. Recitativo - Armida, ebben, che pansi? - Christoph Pregardien
5. Aria - Se dal suo braccio oppresso - Oliver Widmer/Cecilia Bartoli
6. Recitativo accompagnato - Patri Rinaldo - Cecilia Bartoli
7. Aria - Se pietade avete, oh Numi - Cecilia Bartoli
8. Marcia - Concentus Musicus Wien/Nikolaus Harnoncourt
9. Recitativo accompagnato - Valorosi compagni - Scot Weir
10. Aria - Dove son? Che miro itorno?; Recitativo accompagnato - Qual turbamento ignoto; Recitativo - Signor, ingombro e il monte - Scot Weir/Markus Schafer
See all 15 tracks on this disc
Disc: 2
1. Recitativo - Odi, e serba il segreto - Oliver Widmer/Patricia Petibon
2. Aria - Tu mi sprezzi, e mi deridi - Patricia Petibon
3. Recitativo - No, non mi pento - Oliver Widmer/Markus Schafer
4. Aria - Ah, si plachi il fiero Nume - Markus Schafer
5. Recitativo - Va pur, folle - Oliver Widmer/Scot Weir
6. Aria - Teco lo guida al campo - Oliver Widmer
7. Recitativo - Ben simulati io credo - Scot Weir/Christoph Pregardien/Cecilia Bartoli
8. Recitativo accompagnato - Armida... Oh affanno! - Christoph Pregardien/Scot Weir
9. Aria - Cara, e vero, io son tiranno - Christoph Pregardien
10. Recitativo accompagnato - Barbaro! E ardisci ancor - Cecilia Bartoli
See all 25 tracks on this disc

Product Description


There are many reasons to buy this recording--to hear the amazingly varied riches of Cecilia Bartoli's voice, for example, or listen to the dramatic wildness of Harnoncourt's conducting, or the gorgeously crisp string playing--but don't expect anything resembling tension in the plot. The story is simple and repetitive; each time the warrior Rinaldo remembers his military duties, Armida, the sorceress, calls him back to a life of love. Haydn has nothing of Mozart's psychological insight, and fails to invest the conventions of opera seria with the genius of his contemporary. That said, the conventions are still well observed, and the work could hardly be performed better than it is here: Bartoli is simply superb, the delicious coloratura Patricia Petibon gives Zelmira a wonderful heroic edge, and Harnoncourt keeps everything crackling along. And if Christoph Prégardien is less secure in the coloratura passagework than in the lyrical sections, his is still a gorgeous tenor voice worth catching on disc. --Warwick Thompson

Product Description


Customer Reviews

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4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Haydn at his sparkling best! 19 July 2009
Format:Audio CD
This is quite lovely...the Amazon review is spot on. Much better than Orlando Pallando! Bartoli is fabulous but so are the rest, no problems listening to this in my hobby room - or the car, the ultimate test for me! Haven't bothered to read the text suggest you ignore it too and just listen - superb vocal Haydn!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Stunned 27 Feb 2012
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
That's how I feel every time I listen to this Armida; stunning, I wouldn't listen to any other version for the world! it's not just the Concentus musicus sounding superb, as good as ever - and bravo to the Teldec boys - but also Bartoli and Petibon, the latter making her way up to fame, plus greats Widmer and Pregardien: wow!
This is the best Haydn, the one Mozart looked up to. You'll fall in love with Haydn's operas if you take the plunge.
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2 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Haydn is no Mozart when writing opera 18 Jun 2008
By Aquinas
Format:Audio CD
Haydn who reaches celestial heights in his string quartets and symphonies is average in his opera writing, at least, compared with Mozart. The sound of this recording is lovely and Bartoli with her vocal gymnastics is always a joy to listen to. But, we are firmly on terra firma here - no soaring to the heavens. I have struggled to even get to the end of these CDs.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  15 reviews
50 of 51 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A treasure... 26 Nov 2000
By Izolda - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Haydn's operas became dear to me when I discovered the wonderful, now about 20 years old Philips set of the Eszterhaza cycle recorded by Dorati. By some caprice of fate these marvelous performances never really caught the attention of opera lovers and became known only to Haydn's most ardent devotees. I joined this circle only about a year ago and immediately immersed myself in these utterly delightful works. I never seemed to have enough of them, each listening was bringing new treasures and often the impression of `deja entendu'. Yes, these works were so `Mozartian' (though composed long before Mozart started writing his masterpieces) that I couldn't understand how such great musical achievements could have been deemed as not quite successful. Haydn's operas are marvelously orchestrated, studded with surprising little details which Haydn seemed to produce effortlessly; one has the impression that the composer is not interested in following the beaten musical path, that he teases both the musicians and the listener. Apart from the delightful orchestration, two other features deserve a special mention: magnificent accompanied recitativi, many of them as fine as Donna Elvira's "In quali eccessi" for example and fantastic, elaborate ensembles. Haydn's operas contain a great number of beautiful arias which certainly deserve to be more popular than they are now (for samples I can refer the readers to Anne Sofie von Otter's recital of Gluck's, Haydn's and Mozart's arias on DG Archiv, tracks #7 and 8 and above all #13 for an example of a "Mozartian" aria with a lovely horn obligato).
Dorati's cycle is a marvel, really one of the treasures of recorded opera. Conducting, singing and the overall atmosphere are of the highest order. These performances are indeed sheer delight: there is a feeling of genuine joy of music making, something that I find more and more absent in many recordings of our days. It's a pity that the set is no longer in the catalogue (it is, however, still available in Europe) - how long it will take for Philips to reissue these splendid performances at mid-price remains an open question, but it will happen one day, I am sure. In the meantime we have three serious attempts at resuscitating Haydn's operatic output. Just a few years ago Christopher Hogwood (with Cecilia Bartoli) recorded Haydn's last opera "Orfeo ed Euridice", then came "L'isola disabitata" under David Golub and now we have Harnoncourt's "Armida" which may finally, I hope, bring about a real revival of Haydn's operas.
"Armida" is hailed as the best of Haydn's operatic works and even if I don't totally share this view, I am closer to understanding its popularity now, after having heard Harnoncourt's recording than when I heard it first on the Dorati set. Today, after hours and hours spent with recordings of this great Hungarian conductor, I can say that "Armida" was probably the weakest link in his Eszterhaza cycle. I will go even further and put the blame on Jessye Norman's bland and uncharacteristic Armida. Norman's isn't a kind of voice I find suitable for this repertoire; even if she tries to give her Armida some personal touches, not a single moment in her singing brings us closer to the fact that we are dealing with a terrifying sorceress; she also never quite conveys her heroine's feelings, love and passion for Rinaldo and her great torment. That's a pity, because almost everything else in this recording (save some of the recitativi secci which seem to drag; incidentally - most of the recitativi secci on the Harnoncourt set are abridged, some even substantially. The booklet doesn't explain if these are Haydn's own changes or simply adaptations made by Harnoncourt for the purpose of this concert performance) works very well. Bartoli's Armida is quite a different story, a story that really doesn't need to be talked about but simply listened to - Cecilia is in her element and gives her heroine a real human dimension. Don't bother to follow the printed libretto or brush up your Italian - you don't need to understand a single word to be able to make some sense of what is going on. That's what a great performance is about and this one will leave you under a spell for long, long time.
Harnoncourt's "Armida" is a real theater of passion. How far from (or close to) Haydn's intentions or Haydnesque spirit this performance is I don't know and I don't care. All the delights of the score are beautifully rendered by Concentus Musicus, although those who know the Dorati set may be initially shocked by some of Harnoncourt's tempi. They don't bother me, I even find them convincing as they are flexible, not monotonously on the hectic side which has become a bad habit nowadays. Here and there a gentler touch wouldn't hurt, but generally it`s a great performance and great musical theater. Patricia Petibon is an excellent Zelmira, even if she doesn't completely outshine Norma Burrowes on Philips. Christoph Pregardien (Rinaldo) has occasionally some vocal problems, but they are really marginal (it is worth remembering that it's a LIVE recording, though all audience noises and the final applause have been suppressed) - his voice is heroic enough, yet still gives the desirable impression of vulnerability. The remaining three supporting characters, Idreno, Clotarco and Ubaldo are well taken by Oliver Widmer, Marcus Schaefer and Scot Weir respectively, the latter convincingly adding some humor to his hero's portrait.
I could go on and on, far beyond these 1000 words given to me here. This release of "Armida" is really a great event for all opera lovers and we can only wish that Harnoncourt will record more of Haydn's unjustly neglected masterpieces in the nearest future. I only hope that the packaging will be a little more user- and CD-friendly!
29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Period instruments do make a difference 26 Dec 2000
By Isabella Channel - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Like almost everyone else, I have treasured for over 20 years the Antal Dorati Haydn opera cycle in Philips. At that time, when Philips was run by smart and competent people, we could expect Haydn recordings with the likes of Jessye Norman, Frederica von Stade, Ileana Cotrubas and Luigi Alva; these days we are damned with Bocelli in La Boheme and the Verdi Requiem. Anyway, even if it took more than 20 years for the next recording of Haydn's Armida to appear, it was worth the long wait. The most important contribution is the use of period instruments which help to clarify the textures and the orchestral balance. The excellent Concentus Musicus Wien has Haydn in its blood and plays superbly for Harnoncourt, who next to Frans Bruggen is probably the finest Haydn conductor ever. Cecilia Bartoli covers herself with glory, singing with total command and understanding her difficult character. Jessye Norman was also superb, and it is obvious that both prima donnas understand what a great opera this is. It is true that Claes H. Ahnsjo was more exciting for Dorati than Pregardien is for Harnoncourt, but then he is singing live a terribly difficult and demanding role. Pregardien is more cautious but very good too. The rest of the cast is excellent, and I can recommend this Armida next to William Christie's Alcina and Antonio Pappano's Manon as the three finest operatic recordings of year 2000.
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the finest recordings of the year 29 Nov 2000
By Erick - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
I can only congratulate Cecilia Bartoli for choosing this marvelous opera instead of recording another "Barbiere". Smart as she is, she found in Armida a perfect role for her. Christoph Pregardien, a most eloquent Lieder and oratorio singer perhaps lacks the operatic brilliance of Claes H. Ahnsjo in the Dorati recording, but considering how difficult his role is, he also deserves a standing ovation. Harnoncourt conducts with white hot passion, and his formidable orchestra is infinetely superior in every department to Dorati's good, but old fashioned modern instrument band. Can I enter a plea for "Il Mondo della Luna" and "La Fedelta Premiata" ?
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best dramatic performance to date for Bartoli 25 Nov 2000
By Tom Williams - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Cecilia Bartoli has, for years, been berated by some of the less-than-honest in the world of opera criticism for her supposed lack of dramatic acting ability. (Of course, when every performance is compared to those of Callas, few have any dramatic talent!) While Haydn won't challenge actors in the same way that Puccini or Verdi do, he DOES challenge his singers, and here, few can match Bartoli. Only a few years ago, a competent reading of Armida might have seemed beyond her; today, her treatment of this seductress becomes the standard. Typically lush, if sometimes unfocused, Concentus Musicus Wien provide the perfect period-sounding backdrop to a very fine (with one or two exceptions) cast in an interesting performance. Their playing here is markedly better than on, for instance, Lucio Silla and the record is much more enjoyable for their efforts. But, still in all, Cecilia Bartoli is the reason I purchased this recording, the reason I listen to it so often, and why I can't wait to see her sing Armida live. She conveys a new sense of maturity and her typical (for her, at least) understanding of the role which makes her performance on this set one of her most pleasing and satisfying to date. All Haydn/Bartoli lovers please note: Your collection is incomplete without this set.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sometimes aggressive leadership 14 Dec 2004
By Stephan Fay - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
This recording stunned me.

Cecilia Bartoli can sing softly and less affected as this recording shows one.

All the performers are up to their tasks and they show no fear of Harnoncourt's sometimes aggressive leadership and the Concentus Musicus Wien sounds perfect.

Teldec's recording quality is top notch.
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