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A Date With the Devil [CD]

Samuel Ramey , Munchner Rundfunk Orchester , Julius Rudel Audio CD

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Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.

Song TitleArtist Time Price
Listen  1. La damnation de Faust, Op. 24: Marche de Rakoczi (Hungarian March)Samuel Ramey 4:500.69  Buy MP3 
Listen  2. La damnation de Faust, Op. 24: Une puce gentilleSamuel Ramey 2:580.69  Buy MP3 
Listen  3. La damnation de Faust, Op. 24: Devant la maisonSamuel Ramey 2:460.69  Buy MP3 
Listen  4. Robert le diable (Robert the Devil): Robert le diable (Robert the Devil): Nonnes qui reposezSamuel Ramey 4:100.69  Buy MP3 
Listen  5. Mephisto Waltz: Two Episodes from Lenau's - Mephisto WaltzJulius Rudel11:40Album Only
Listen  6. Mefistofele : Ave SignorSamuel Ramey 4:330.69  Buy MP3 
Listen  7. Mefistofele : Son lo Spirito che hega sempre tuttoSamuel Ramey 4:410.69  Buy MP3 
Listen  8. Mefistofele : Ecco il mondoSamuel Ramey 3:000.69  Buy MP3 
Listen  9. Les contes d'Hoffmann (The Tales of Hoffmann): Les Contes d'Hoffmann (The Tales of Hoffman): Scintille, diamant!Samuel Ramey 4:200.69  Buy MP3 
Listen10. Faust: Le veau d'or est toujours debout!Samuel Ramey 2:230.69  Buy MP3 
Listen11. Faust: Vous qui faites l'endormie ('Serenade')Samuel Ramey 3:230.69  Buy MP3 
Listen12. The Rake's Progress: I was never saner.Samuel Ramey 4:190.69  Buy MP3 
Listen13. The Rake's Progress: I burn! I freeze!Samuel Ramey 1:520.69  Buy MP3 

Product Description


It’s curious that Samuel Ramey has made such a speciality of diabolical roles, because his voice--although pure bass--has never had the jet-black timbre of a John Tomlinson or the threatening muscular attack of a Bryn Terfel. Indeed it seems most comfortable in lighter repertory: Rossini, Mozart, anything that calls for grace and flexibility. But he has learned to slip a note of menace into the most elegantly well-turned phrase. His devils are urbane, sophisticated: evil in a suit and tie. And for the past six years he’s turned a rather chic collection of them into a recital programme which has toured the world. This CD was recorded en route in Munich (it preserves an isolated fragment of audience applause, presumably to let you know). And here they all are: the Berlioz, Gounod and Boito takes on Faust, together with Meyerbeer’s Robert le Diable, Stravinsky’s Rake, and (stretching the definition of operatic devilry) Offenbach’s Dapertutto (Les Contes d’Hoffmann). This recording was made when Ramey was approaching 59 and starting to show his age: the voice is greying at the edges, sometimes noticeably thin of texture, and with a vibrato that rocks the poise of his slower, more lyrical numbers. But there’s still plenty of life in the singing, and an energy that never loses focus or coarsens into bluster. For that alone he’s still worth hearing.--Michael White

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars  6 reviews
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Almost extinct. 31 May 2003
By John bloggs - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Samuel Ramey is unique in the recorded history of opera. He is a bass- a true bass at that- with an intoxicatingly beautiful and resonant voice, possessing a phenomenal techniique with which he is able to lift his voice far above the limitations imposed on it by nature. He has sung Scarpia, one of the most demanding baritone roles in the italian repetoire- convincingly, and with an ease and elegance that any verdian baritone would envy. In fact, for a comparable technique among lower voices, one would have to go back to the great "virtuoso" basses of the early-middle of the 19th century such as tamburini, supposedly the greatest vocal genius among all operatic basses. No recordings exist of this extinct breed of singers who could challenge the castrati in the practise of florid singing and bel canto, but there are many detailed descriptions of their performances, vocal sound, and technique; as well as musical transcriptions of exactly what they sung.

Samuel Ramey is undoubtdedly such a singer. His combination of warmth, elegance, and sheer technical brilliance are unmatched among all basses in the history of recorded opera. His style has occasionaly been labelled as bland, pehaps by people who want to hear Chaliapin instead. But as great as the Russian bass was, Ramey posseses an altogether different mentality and represents a different method of schooling- indeed so unique among our time is his style that it is not difficult to understand why people sometimes don't "identify" with his characterisations. We all have ideas of how a certain piece should be performed after all.

By way of comparison, Giuseppe DeLuca was one of the great singers in the early years of the last century. He was a baritone, a great stylist and interpreter in the old belcanto tradition. In many ways his basic approach to singing resembled Rameys: poised, elegant, with an emphasis on restraint and a sort of "inner intensity" in his legato. He is one of the true geniuses among all baritones on record, and yet if one was to listen to him with inflexible modern ears his recordings may perhaps sound strange, maybe even dull and lacking in emotional fireworks. He is simply a different TYPE of singer than we generally hear nowadays, and so is Samuel Ramey.

So how does he sound on these recordings at the age of 60? His vibrato is noticably wider to be sure- so was Joan Sutherlands(among many) at that age, and as in Sutherlands case, it is more noticable on the longer, more legato passages. Be that as it may, his voice is larger, darker, and heavier because of his age, and with a tone as poised and resonant as rameys, a widening vibrato is both part and parcel. Do not mistake it for a wobble of the kind callas or carreras possesed- that is a result of forcing the voice, and Ramey never forces- wide it may be, but his vibrato is even and controlled.

His interpretations of all these characters (particularly the three mephistopheles' in Boito, Berlioz and gounod's operas) have gained tremendously over the years and have reached a peak on this cd. Added to that is the greater maturity of his voice, which raises these performances to a superlative level. In its best moments "A Date with the Devil" shows him to be an unparalleled virtuoso among basses, and still in possesion of the greatest basso-cantante of our time. The very well played and recorded orchestra led by Rudel, with whom Ramey has worked in the past, is a additional bonus.

In conclusion, Samuel Ramey may never eclipse memories of recordings from this repetoire by such singers as Boris Christoff, and George London, but certainly his intention is not to do so. As all of the very greatest singers have done, he is, with his highly unique style, carving out his own significant niche in operatic history.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Handsome Devil Of A Baritone 9 Nov 2005
By Rudy Avila - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
This recording finds the world famous bass Samuel Ramey at age 59, singing a collection of the "bass villain" repertory he gained fame for interpreting. His voice has darkened considerably and shows signs of aging, but still delivers. On this disc: Berlioz's operatic oratorio "La Damnation de Faust" is another account of the Goethe tale of Faust. Charles Gounod's opera is the more famous account. Samuel Ramey's pure bass voice was tailor-made for the role of the Devil. "Un Puce Gentile" is a more lyrical aria while "Devant La Maison" in which the Devil calls his spirits to bewitch Marguerite, is a coloratura, lively aria. Samuel Ramey once again sigs a Devil in the Meyerbeer grand opera Robert Le Diable, a masterpiece in its time but now an opera that has long fallen on the wayside. His French diction is superb, and his bel canto voice (and it is a bel canto voice) sounds golden, full, dark and rich. It is actually a good thing that he is 59 and singing roles that sound old, sinister and lecherous. Devils are normally regarded as old creatures and somehow Samuel Ramey makes them sound seductive and even beautiful to hear. He has a healing quality to his voice. Take for instance the dramatic-lyric Italian manner in which he sings Ecco Il Mondo from Arrigo Boito's Mefistofele. Mefistofele is a grand vehicle for the bass in the role of the Devil but again this opera was more popular in the old days. George London sang Mefistofele opposite Renata Tebaldi in an old 50's recording and that one is the best interpretation of them all, with grand Italian opera taking on flights of fancy. There is also another fine recording with Norman Treigle of the New York City Opera (he was Ramey's mentor) back in the 60's. The aria "Shine Diamond, shine" of the villainous magician in Offenbach's Tales of Hoffman is a specialty of Ramey's. I saw him performing the role on stage and have heard his full-length recording of all four villains in Hoffman. He makes the villains appropriately edgy and electrifying and suffuses the portrayals with a kind of Broadway musical theatricality mixed with rich lyricism. This is a great recording of Samuel Ramey's but not his best. This does not find him in his prime. To discover how magnetic his voice can be one has to listen to his earlier recordings, particularly those of his bel canto operas - Rossini and Verdi in particular- like Verdi's Attila, in which he sings the role of Attila the Hun, or Rossini's Iago in Otello. His voice was actually superb when he was not singing the lead baritone roles and instead singing minor bass roles like Angelotti in Tosca in the 1978 recording with Montserrat Caballe and Jose Carreras. He has also sung a fine bass role in Massenet's Manon wich starred Beverly Sills. His Robert Le Diable with June Anderson on studio recording is also excellent.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Let's forget about Ramey for a minute... 1 May 2006
By vmzfla - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Most of the previous reviewers are either lamenting Sam Ramey's decline or hailing him as a legend. Let's dwell on the inovative program NAXOS has given us. Many new to this music can use this disc as an introduction to the complete works. Some will only care to have it and go no further. The live concert takes done in a three day span are competently played and warmly recorded. Did anyone mention that Liszt's "Mephisto Waltz"(orchestral version)is included? Most other recordings include alot of duplicate repetoire. Though made at the twilight of his career(Rec. Oct. 2000, age 59), Mr. Ramey dose his devilish best to bring the whole thing off. After all these years he has made these roles special in a cool collective style. The informative program notes will guide you through. Add a star if your a die hard Ramey fan or if your inspired to run out and buy the complete sets.
5.0 out of 5 stars what a voice!! 13 Sep 2013
By democrat - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
No one today can sing like he could - and make the Devil so attractive. He can also make Scarpia in Tosca more fun than Mario.
5.0 out of 5 stars Samuel Ramey - A Date with the Devil 6 Nov 2012
By Bjorn Viberg - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Samuel Ramey - A Date with the Devil is a 2000 Naxos recording starring bass Samuel Ramey as he sings Berlioz, Liszt and Offebach to mention a few. The music notes have been written by Keith Anderson. Truly an amazing bass singer and I truly enjoyed this fine recording. Highly recommended. 5/5.
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