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Donizetti: Lucia di Lammermoor

Gaetano Donizetti Audio CD
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
Price: £10.62
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Product details

  • Performer: Montserrat Caballé, José Carreras, Vicente Sardinero, Samuel Ramey
  • Orchestra: Ambrosian Opera Chorus, New Philharmonia Orchestra
  • Conductor: Jésus López-Cobos
  • Composer: Gaetano Donizetti
  • Audio CD (27 Oct 1995)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Duo
  • ASIN: B0000041D1
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 80,930 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Disc: 1
1. Lucia di Lammermoor: Lucia di Lammermoor - Act 1: preludio
2. Lucia di Lammermoor: Lucia di Lammermoor - Act 1: Scena e Cavatina: Tu sei turbato
3. Lucia di Lammermoor: Lucia di Lammermoor -- Act 1: Scena e Cavatina: Cruda, funesta smania
4. Lucia di Lammermoor: Lucia di Lammermoor - Act 1: Scena e Cavatina: Il tuo dubbio
5. Lucia di Lammermoor: Lucia di Lammermoor - Act 1: Scena e Cavatina: Ancor non giunse
6. Lucia di Lammermoor: Lucia di Lammermoor - Act 1: Scena e Cavatina: Regnava nel silenzio
7. Lucia di Lammermoor: Lucia di Lammermoor - Act 1: Scena e Cavatina: Quando, rapito in estasi
8. Lucia di Lammermoor: Lucia di Lammermoor - Act 1: Scena e duetto Finale 1: Egli s'avanza
9. Lucia di Lammermoor: Lucia di Lammermoor - Act 1: Scena e duetto Finale 1: Sulla tomba che rinserra
10. Lucia di Lammermoor: Lucia di Lammermoor - Act 1: Scena e duetto Finale 1: Verranno a te sull'aure
See all 18 tracks on this disc
Disc: 2
1. Lucia di Lammermoor: Lucia di Lammermoor - Act 2: Finale II
2. Lucia di Lammermoor: Lucia di Lammermoor - Act 2: Scena e quartetto
3. Lucia di Lammermoor: Lucia di Lammermoor - Act 2: Scena e quartetto
4. Lucia di Lammermoor: Lucia di Lammermoor - Act 2: Scena e quartetto
5. Lucia di Lammermoor: Lucia di Lammermoor - Act 2: Seguito e stretta del finale II
6. Lucia di Lammermoor: Lucia di Lammermoor - Act 2: Seguito e stretta del finale II
7. Lucia di Lammermoor: Lucia di Lammermoor - Act 2: Seguito e stretta del finale II
8. Lucia di Lammermoor: Lucia di Lammermoor - Act 3: Uragano, Scena e duetto
9. Lucia di Lammermoor: Lucia di Lammermoor - Act 3: Coro
10. Lucia di Lammermoor: Lucia di Lammermoor - Act 3: Gran scena con cori
See all 19 tracks on this disc

Product Description

PHI 446551 2; PHILIPS; Classica Lirica

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By Luca
Format:Audio CD
This is one of the numerous reissues on CD of the London 1976 studio recording.
At that time, Casa Ricordi had commissioned Jesús López-Cobos (b. 1940) to produce a new score of the opera, reproducing, as accurately as possible, the original one by Cammarano and Donizetti.
Thanks to the in-depth López-Cobos' survey, about one hundred differences between the original score and the commonly used ones were found out.

This performance follows the "new" score elaborated by López-Cobos. The problem was that, strangely, Philips, issuing the original LP-set, did not minimally underscored this important feature.
Misunderstandings arose, in particular concerning Montserrat Caballé's performance.
Many of the buyers of the LPs arrived at thinking that Lucia's part had been adapted for "covering" some, supposed, Caballé's belcanto limitations (!).

As a matter of fact, many arbitrary (or so supposed) embellishments were cut off; among them, some of the most famous from the "scena della pazzia" (Lucia's vocalizations imitating the flute included).
All the scene is transposed one whole step above; other passages in the opera are transposed one half-step above, etc.. As a consequence, many tonality changes occur, and, obviously, the general colour and mood of the opera become different.

The first consequence is that a strict comparison with other performances, in particular in Lucia's part, becomes inappropriate.

A second consideration, even more important, is that this "Lucia di Lammermoor" is given unusual and very interesting dimensions: its tragical impact is enormously improved, also because the listener remains more focused on the essence of the dramaturgical and musical narration.
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5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A highly riesumazione performance of Lucia 25 July 2001
By A Customer
Format:Audio CD
This is a very interesting Lucia. Lopez-Cobos apparently decided to record the opera come scritto, i.e. with no added high notes, but also with the Wolfcrag scene and some other sequences restored. This means not only that there are no E-flats in the Mad scene, but there is no flute cadenza at all. Otherwise, the conducting is very impressive. It is dark and slow but very alert, and the orchestra is superb. Carreras is wonderful, he was in great voice for this recording, and although his characterization is maybe a bit flat, the voice is just perfect. Sardinero is an average Enrico, not particularly beautiful nor nasty, but Ramey sings Raimondo with a vibrant voice and a lot of imagination, although his voice sounds too young for the role. This leaves us with Caballe. This opera depends so much on the soprano and I must say that Caballe can't really compare with Sutherland or Callas. The coloratura is not all that great, and all the trills are faked. More importantly, the voice sounds really strained above high A, and one is really glad there are no additional high notes. On the plus side, she is sensitive, although a bit dull and the middle register is very beautiful. So, overall, I would go for Sutherlands first recording or Callas' Berlin recording. This one is mostly for the purists or Carreras' fans.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Why ? 7 Dec 2012
By Michel
Format:Audio CD
With all the wonderful Donizetti operas for dramatic soprano why Philips offered Montserrat Caballé Lucia is mind-boggling ! Though there is some beautiful singing she is hopelessly miscast, firstly she doesn't begin to sound like a young girl and secondly she is severely taxed by the high tessitura even without any interpolation. It's all the sadder for the rest of the cast is excellent, foremost the young José Carreras singing superbly as Edgardo. Vicente Sardinero (Enrico) and Samuel Ramey (Raimondo) offer strong support. Jesus Lopes-Cobos paces the opera very well and the sound is great but Lucia without a Lucia is certainly not what Donizetti intended.
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Amazon.com: 3.8 out of 5 stars  18 reviews
15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Caballe makes a truly wonderful Lucia and Carreras! 14 Mar 2000
By Rod Tierman - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
This recording is truly delightful, however it is a rather unusual performance in some ways. One is accustomed to hearing the title role of Lucia being sung by a coloratura soprano. Madame Caballe was not a coloratura, but she handles her role exquisitely. Some of the coloratura passages are not there (imitating the flute passages in the "Mad Scene" for example), but Mdme Caballe offers here a thoroughly compelling portrayal of the tragic and disturbed heroine, realizing some emotional nuances one does not hear in some of the other recordings. Caballe's singing on top is pretty effortless, to say the least. The real surprise I found here was in the singing of Jose Carreras. This, along with the Tosca once again with Caballe has got to be Carreras' greatest recording. Carreras IS probably the greatest Edgardo on record, singing even the written, but always not sung, optional High E flat in the first act duet with Lucia. And Carreras sings the E flat exceptionally well. The final Tomb scene of Edgardo's is also magnificently sung by Maestro Carreras. This is the type of singing that got Carreras ranked amongst the greats of today. Even if you don't normally like the singing of Jose Carreras, you will probably LOVE his singing on this recording. Samuel Ramey sings the principal basso role here and hands in his customary great performance. The Enrico is performed by a very verile sounding Vincente Sardinero. The sextett is wonderfully sung. Even the secondary Tenor role of Arturo is magnificently sung by Charles H. Ahnsjo. Lopez-Corbos' conducting is excellent here and the sonics on the recording are superb! I'm not saying that this performance blows Sutherland, Callas, or Moffo out of the saddle, but this recording has many wonderful things to recommend it, namely the singing of Caballe, Carreras, Sardinero, and Ramey. This recording definitely DOES rank up there with the best. I just can't begin to tell you how much I love this recording of Lucia (and I own all the others with Moffo, Sutherland, and Callas etal). BUY THIS RECORDING, IT'S TERRIFIC and at the SUPER bargain price of under $20.00, you can't miss.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A philologically restored "Lucia", superbly performed in all its original tragical powerfulness. 28 Feb 2013
By Luca - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
This is one of the numerous reissues on CD of the London 1976 studio recording.
At that time, Casa Ricordi had commissioned Jesús López-Cobos (b. 1940) to produce a new score of the opera, reproducing, as accurately as possible, the original one by Cammarano and Donizetti.
Thanks to the in-depth López-Cobos' survey, about one hundred differences between the original score and the commonly used ones were found out.

This performance follows the "new" score elaborated by López-Cobos. The problem was that, strangely, Philips, issuing the original LP-set, did not minimally underscored this important feature.
Misunderstandings arose, in particular concerning Montserrat Caballé's performance.
Many of the buyers of the LPs arrived at thinking that Lucia's part had been adapted for "covering" some, supposed, Caballé's belcanto limitations (!).

As a matter of fact, many arbitrary (or so supposed) embellishments were cut off; among them, some of the most famous from the "scena della pazzia" (Lucia's vocalizations imitating the flute included).
All the scene is transposed one whole step above; other passages in the opera are transposed one half-step above, etc.. As a consequence, many tonality changes occur, and, obviously, the general colour and mood of the opera become different.

The first consequence is that a strict comparison with other performances, in particular in Lucia's part, becomes inappropriate.

A second consideration, even more important, is that this "Lucia di Lammermoor" is given unusual and very interesting dimensions: its tragical impact is enormously improved, also because the listener remains more focused on the essence of the dramaturgical and musical narration.
It is a pleasant surprise to find ourselves as "pressed" by the new and unexpected tragical powerfulness of the work, which, nevertheless, remains rich of belcanto features and details.
The opera does not lose its genuine imprinting, but, showing a sort of Verdian vocation, in this version it puts in evidence some neglected aspects of Donizetti's musical recherche.

Now it will be clear that Jesús López-Cobos deeply knows and masters "his" score; his performance is therefore highly refined, characterized by a vivid dramaturgical and musical attention, a perfect choice of paces and it is enriched by new tragical nuances.

The New Philharmonia Orchestra is attentive and involved and it supports the conductor with precision and warmness. As usual, the Ambrosian Opera Chorus and John McCarthy are simply perfect.
A real "plus" is the magical touch of the great and unforgotten Ubaldo Gardini, as Language Coach.

Montserrat Caballé (b. 1933), in general terms, is not my preferred soprano; here, in spite of every reservation, she is particularly well suited to the "new" score.
The result is an outstanding interpretation, absolutely convincing and involving, and, in many passages, really sublime (you can also verify in the Gramophone Archive how, during the time, the judgement concerning her performance has greatly improved, finally placing it among the three or four interpretations deserving the maximum consensus).
In the "scena della pazzia", the virtuosic "flute vocalizations" (they are really beautiful, but, from a dramaturgical point of view, are they actually context-sensitive?) are substituted by some high notes, executed by Caballé forcing her voice - intentionally, and unusually in comparison with her general stylistic approach - resulting, here and there, in a nearly shrill vocal emission, absolutely consistent with madness typical way of expression.
Maybe Caballé does not manage to convey to Lucia all the freshness of her very young age, but this problem, in my opinion, affects also Callas, Sutherland and Sills. On disc, only Anna Moffo, in her prime, and, even more, Lina Pagliughi managed to completely achieve also that feature.

On the contrary, the wonderful 1970s' José Carreras (b. 1946), immediately, and without reservations, convinced everybody: many critics consider his Edgardo possibly the best of ever (on disc) and one of Carreras' sublime interpretations.
As a matter of fact, his performance is really outstanding, in terms of technique, vocal quality, expressive subtlety and intensity, interpretative involvement.
In many passages, Carreras manages to sing with a sole breath what all the others have to sing using two breaths: this ability results in marvelous singing lines, extremely effective not only on the virtuoso side, but, what is more, on the expressive one, generating astonishing musical moments: not to miss!

Enrico is played by the expert Vincente Sardinero (1937-2002). He excellently manages the role, maybe with a not particularly beautiful voice (but, does Enrico really deserve a nice timbre?), anyway well rounded and full.
He is particularly well suited to opposing Carreras in their duets. From a mere musical point of view, here we can also enjoy them in the "Tower of Wolferang" scene, even if, in my opinion, it has no narrative sequel and, dramaturgically, it appears useless and not convincing.

Rodrigo is none other than the "young" Samuel Ramey (b. 1942), who conveys to the whole the already warm and beautiful colors of his nice voice. His performance is excellent, even if Ramey, here, obviously, had not yet reached the zenith of his interpretative maturity.

Claes H. Ansjö (b. 1942), very well and attentively, sings a convincing Arturo.

Alisa is played by another singer who will enjoy a good career, that is the here young, but already brava, Ann Murray (b. 1949).

Vincenzo Bello, a very reliable artist, is Normanno.

The solidity of this cast produces also an outstanding performance of the famous sextet, which, very often, is hampered by one or two feebler voices.

In conclusion, here we meet a different, nevertheless anything but arbitrary - on the contrary! -, "Lucia di Lammermoor", not necessarily better or worse than the "traditional" ones, with their pleasant embellishments or enrichments (like the famous "glassarmonica" in Sills' version).
Finally, I prefer the edition here presented, so robust, direct and compact in its tragical vocation.
Nevertheless, I will continue to like, in their different approaches, also Callas, Sills, Moffo and the ineffable 1939 Pagliughi's recording.

The sound is excellent, warm and detailed and it features an optimal balance between voices and music, joined to a good separation of sound layers.

This issue is presented in a cheap packaging and it does not include the libretto.
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Underrated.....and a bargain! 19 Aug 2001
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
First off, let me assert that it doesn't matter one bit whether Callas' Lucia was more dramatic or Sutherland's Lucia had a prettier voice. Caballe gives, I beleve, a more well-rounded performance here than either of the other two did in their recordings, and one that is different, somewhat unorthodox, and as another reviewer said, refeshing. I find Caballe darker and less "frivolous" (for lack of a better word) than Sutherland, and I find her voice much more palatable that Callas. Whereas I have no trouble taking Callas seriously in a role (perhaps too seriously sometimes, e.g., Tosca), I find it impossible to listen to her voice for more than 10 minutes at a time. Sutherland is exactly the opposite - I could listen for days, but she'd never fool me into thinking she's anything but a songbird on display (and maybe after few days I could figure out what words she was singing). Here Caballe manages a happy medium without compromising too much. Now, it's true she's not a coloratura, and you won't find as many of the spine-tingling fireworks you get with Moffo, Gruberova, or Sutherland, but I think the opera as a whole benefits from having lucia as a more lyric-dramatic role.
OK, enough about Lucia - the real treat is Jose Carreras as Edgardo. Jose Carreras is the absolute best Edgardo ever. Period. This may very well be Carreras' best recording. Carreras' sweet, yet heroic lyric tenor is perfect for the part, and like Caballe's Lucia, it is darker than most others in the role (e.g., Pavarotti). Lets face it, no one can phrase an aria as beautifully as Carreras can. His final two solos are heavenly (epecially the last solo in the graveyard). He is also great in the duet and enseble pieces, e.g., the Edgardo/Enrico duet in Act III (which is often cut), the Act II sextet, and the duet with Caballe/Lucia in Act I. Carreras alone is worth the price of the CD.
The supporting cast is quite strong with Ann Murray as Alisa, Vicente Sardinero as Enrico and Sam Ramey as an awesome (as usual), authoritative Raimondo. All three always carry their own weight at the least, and occasionally grab you by the throat (Ramey/Raimondo's "Dalla Stanze..", Sardinero/Enrico in the duets with Caballe/Lucia and Carreras/Edgardo).
Jesus Lopez Cobos' Conducting is something I can't comment on other than to say that everything sounds appropriatly paced. IMO, It's hard to really go wrong with Donizetti unless somthing is blatantly too fast or slow (as opposed to the sophisticated orchestrators who are easy to screw up, e.g., Wagner, Bizet, Strauss, Mozart, Rossini).
So, in all, although the recording is somewhat unusual (Darker, heavier voices for the leads), and not what Callas' or Sutherland's detractors call an "essential" recording, I find it extremely well-balanced and likeable. If prior experience with Callas and Sutherland has caused you look for a third alternative to Lucia, this is IT - look no further. Or, if you (like me) like your opera as a whole, with a well-rounded performance from a well-rounded cast, this one is tough to beat.
One final note - It's cheap because there's no libretto, but you almost don't need one. The plot is so clear, with just the synopsis in the inside cover, it's really, very easy to follow; In Lucia, Donizetti suceeded in a producing an effective union of music and storyline more so than for any of his other operas -It is true masterpiece. 4 stars + 1 star for the price = 5 stars.
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A unique take on "Lucia" 9 Dec 2000
By Matteo - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Hmmmmmm. This "Lucia" takes a thankfully new look at this warhorse with the casting of Caballe in the title role. As someone who enjoys her voice I am a bit partial to her singing, so I should say that this version is not for everyone; and those looking for the traditional Lucia type (Sutherland, Moffo, Gruberova)should not purchase this set.
But for those who have a scholarly interest in the piece, this could prove a fascinating account of Donizetti's most famous work. The main reason for my purchase of this disk was to hear Caballe and I was not disappointed. While at this point in her career her voice started to become more dramatic and heavy, she lavishes some of her most fluid, sure singing on this character. Compared to a Joan Sutherland or Anna Moffo, Caballe will sound a bit abrasive, but that quality seems to stem from an admirable sense of committment to notes and to character. Her duets with Ann Murray and Jose Carreras, while not always "pretty" are some of the most powerful I have ever heard.
The Mad Scene, while a bit heavy on the histrionics, is at least interesting. Again, the delicacy (and even the preciousness) found in most accounts is missing hear, but I prefer Caballe's more forthright account. That it is transposed upward means that the scene does not end with the customary high note, but ends well nevertheless. I actually think the omission of the tippy-top note at the end, and the adjustment conductor Jesus Lopez-Cobos makes ensures a wonderfully theatrical finish to the scene.
Technically speaking Caballe fares well throughout; the coloratura is very sure, the voice light and youthful (in comparison to other recordings), and she is less shy than normal about going into the higher reaches of her voice. Again, that doesn't always mean that what comes out is "pretty" but, as I said earlier it sure is powerful and committed. A breath of fresh air in that respect when compared to other versions.
Elsewhere, Carreras is perfectly cast as the heroic bel canto tenor and uses his fluid lyric tenor to great effect here. He truly shines in the Lucia/Edgardo duet and this set shows him off at his vocal prime. Jesus Lopez-Cobos' conducting is generally quite good if a bit on the slow side (which may be an attempt to allow Caballe enough "space" to let her voice work, as the vibrato is a bit wider than many sopranos who attempt the role).
Overall an interesting take on the opera and one that true fans of either the singers or the opera could find interesting.
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The True Lucia 13 Oct 2000
By Goodwin Deacon - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
No one can deny that this or any other disc of Lucia will ever replace the major Callas recordings. Her performance, both vocally and dramatically, has no equal. Nonetheless, this recording is a worthy document, both musicologically and vocally.

First of all is its completeness. All the extant Callas recordings are cut, sometimes heavily so. Lucia, to be fully appreciated, must be heard without cuts or embellishments. True, no glass harmonica in the Mad Scene -- only Sills' set includes that marvelously wierd effect. That aside, this edition give's Cameranno's exciting structure its full due.

Caballe may not be the most fluid in her coloratura, but she does give the poor mad girl's character poise and exquisite fragility. Above all there can be no arguement about Carreras. This is one of his finest albums.

At the budget price, this set can be added as an affordable suppliment to any of the Callas performances.
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