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Bellini: I Puritani Box set

Price: £12.66 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £20. Details
Includes FREE MP3 version of this album.
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£12.66 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £20. Details Only 1 left in stock (more on the way). Dispatched from and sold by Amazon. Gift-wrap available.

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Product details

Disc: 1
1. Sinfonia
2. All'erte! All'erta! (Bruno/Coro)
3. O di Cromvel guerrieri (Bruno/Elvira/Arturo/Riccardo/Giorgio/Coro)
4. A festa! (Coro)
5. Or dove fuggo io mai? (Riccardo/Bruno)
6. Ah! per sempre io ti perdei (Riccardo)
See all 20 tracks on this disc
Disc: 2
1. Ah! dolor! ah terror ... (Coro)
2. Qual novella? (Coro/Giorgio)
3. Cinta di fiori e col ben crin disciolto (Giorgio/Coro)
4. E di morte lo stral non sarà lento (Riccardo/Coro/Giorgio)
5. O rendetemi la speme ... Qui la voce sua soave mi chiamava
6. Vien diletto, è in ciel la luna (Elvira/Riccardo/Giorgio)
See all 21 tracks on this disc
Disc: 3
1. Libretto
2. Synopsis

Product Description

EMI 4563752; EMI ITALIANA - Italia; Classica Lirica

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Amazon.com: 1 review
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
A classic - but buy the Pristine Audio issue 12 Jan. 2013
By Ralph Moore - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
By far the most important point of this review is to emphasise just how superior the latest Pristine re-mastering (unavailable on Amazon) is even to the excellent one by Mark Obert-Thorn for Naxos Historical and certainly to this EMI issue. It is like hearing this recording for the first time, so full and vivid is Andrew Rose's sound-engineering, instead of the crashing seaside-brass-band chords with which EMI's issue commences the "Sinfonietta", we hear a tutti from what is identifiably the fine orchestra of La Scala, Milan and then, especially, its euphonious horns. There is virtually no hiss, plenty of airy ambience around the voices and instruments and above all, a new depth now that the lower frequencies have been enhanced; the unpleasant metallic quality always previously present is gone. The result is that even the rather gritty, windy and unsteady bass of Rossi-Lemeni - for me always the weakest link in the cast - sounds better than I have ever heard it before. He remains too tremulous in "Cinta di fiori" but this may be construed as being the result of deep emotion; by and large he emerges as the singer who would be the most to be grateful to Pristine for its re-mastering were he able to hear it.

Panerai, too, divides opinion by virtue of the slight tremolo in his rapid vibrato and some occasional unsteadiness and inaudibility but he was only twenty-eight at the time of recording and some nervousness is understandable; otherwise, the musicality and intensity of his singing are admirable. Comparison with predecessors and successors such as Cappuccilli and Battistini reveals some deficiencies in his legato but the latter, for all his vocal supremacy, takes unpardonable liberties by modern standards and Cappuccilli, despite his long-breathed eloquence, is coarser of tone. Neither suggests much desperation in "Ah per sempre" but that most grateful of cantilena arias has always presented the conundrum to a baritone of how to sing it with the smooth assurance the melody requires while simultaneously conveying the emotional import of the thwarted lover. Alongside Panerai's rhythmic delicacy, Battistini's agogic distortions would sound almost comical were it not for the nobility of his voice. Best of all in that lovely music was Giuseppe de Luca, his baritone perfectly even and effortless; Panerai is meanwhile very acceptable, especially as this opera gives Riccardo so much music.

Callas's virtues are well known: superb diction, immaculate phrasing, top D's and E flats in place, magical downward portamenti especially over the interval of a fifth, lapidary coloratura runs through the octave and a pathos and vulnerability of utterance that remain unrivalled. The improved sound simply highlights her vocal prowess.

Di Stefano is nobody's ideal exponent of bel canto; there are strains and he has none of Pavarotti's grace, but the D flat is there and he delivers a virile, impassioned Arturo, full of ardour and animation.

Serafin exhibits empathy with both the idiom of the music and the needs of his singers; his rubato is beautifully judged and he is capable of whipping up excitement over a long span of music. In particular, the arresting opening of the opera is revealed in Serafin's hands to be masterly, the martial expectation segueing elegantly into the offstage hymn of praise; everything is so elegantly paced.

The traditional cuts - 33 in all amounting to 32 minutes less than Bonynge's full score recording - are distressing. The truncation of the ending is especially frustrating but there's nothing we can do about that and what remains is stunning.
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