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Bizet: The Pearl Fishers

Georges Pretre Audio CD
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Audio CD (22 Oct 1990)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: EMI
  • ASIN: B000026PJO
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 75,459 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. The Pearl Fishers - Over 30 tracks on 2 CDs - Georges Bizet

Customer Reviews

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4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By Ralph Moore TOP 50 REVIEWER
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This was the first recording to use the newly reconstructed edition of the original 1863 performance score; until then, the re-jigged version first performed in 1893 after Bizet's premature death was the one everyone heard. For some, the biggest casualty here will be the familiar climactic conclusion to the famous tenor-baritone duet in favour of the extended conclusion in which they vow their friendship at length. The excellent 1989 recording by Plasson offers both alternatives by the addition of an appendix. That remains my first choice by virtue of its superior sound, more sympathetic conducting and arguably more appealing cast.

For Prêtre, the sound is a bit dim and fuzzy and the conductor is characteristically brisk, not always permitting the languid beauty of Bizet's fairly uneventful score to emerge fully. Alain Vanzo is a little dry of voice by the time of this recording but still remarkably elegant and idiomatic, caressing his high, soft notes very effectively in the old French lyric style. His "Je crois entendre encore", in which Caruso made such an impact with his soft, rounded mezza voce and falsetto, is a thing of beauty. Guillermo Sarabia sings in good French and hasn't a bad voice, but it is too dark and charmless to be ideal as Zurga, who needs a lighter, more elegant baritone to suggest his being a credible rival suitor to Nadir for Leïla's love. Bass Roger Soyer is a bit woolly as baddy Nourabad. The star of the show is undoubtedly Ileana Cotrubas, her plaintive, immediately recognisable soprano exuding charm and vulnerability.

Of course, another possibility is the classic 1953 mono recording conducted by Fournet and starring golden French-Canadian couple Simoneau and Alarie but the limited sound will not appeal to some.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fine recording adhering to the original score 10 Jan 2014
Recorded in the Salle Wagram almost two decades after the Dervaux "definitive" recording, also on EMI. The bonus here is the limpid Leila of Ileana Cotrubas - better than Micheau - her tone is pristine and always beautifully measured and never pushed.

Alain Vanzo is sublime as Nadir. His voice is silvery and soft - classically French in tone and ideal for the role, though I do prefer Nicolai Gedda's dreamy rendition of the taxing aria "Je crois entendre encore". I like Guillermo Sarabia as Zurga though, be warned, the famous duet is the original scoring so the reprise of "Qui c'est elle..." is replaced by the original finale "Amitie sainte" which I rather like.

Pretre and the Paris Opera are pacey but it carries the drama along, and there are times when I believe this opera needs pushing. It's full of beautiful melody but the somewhat naive narrative makes one realise why it pales against Carmen.

All in all, a lovely recording and worth getting if you're looking for a stand-alone or alongside the classic Dervaux or Fournet.
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4 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's Worthy! 11 Dec 2010
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This album worthy me to buy it!

The conductor is classic for Bizet,but not so famous!
Because I have his" Carmen" ,therefore I would commend him as Bizet's perfect Interpretor!
I could hear the original motivation of "Carmen" from "The Pearl Fishers"!
Besides,could you feel similar theme as "The King and I"?

How I fun about the Tenor's poetic tone!!
This Tenor is not so famous but extraordinary!
The pity is ,he is a bit of weak,and I do wonder about his other performances!

Every song is short and dramatic,and I love the Living Power inside Bizet's Art!

Besides,everyone can accept the price of this album!
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