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Famous Opera Duets

Jennifer Larmore Audio CD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
Price: £12.91
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Product details

  • Performer: Hei-Kyung Hong, Jennifer Larmore
  • Orchestra: Munich Radio Orchestra
  • Conductor: Jésus López-Cobos
  • Composer: Vincenzo Bellini, Gaetano Donizetti, Léo Delibes, George Frideric Handel
  • Audio CD (15 Mar 1999)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Teldec
  • ASIN: B00000IWR5
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 249,414 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Listen to Samples and Buy MP3s

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

Samples
Song TitleArtist Time Price
Listen  1. Les contes d'Hoffman : Act 4 "Belle nuit, ô nuit d'amour" [Giulietta, Niklausse]Jennifer Larmore 3:34£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  2. Der Rosenkavalier : Act 2 "Mir ist die Ehre widerfahren" [Sophie, Octavian]Jennifer Larmore 6:26£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  3. Giulio Cesare : Act 3 "Caro... Bella" [Cleopatra, Cesare]Jennifer Larmore 5:05£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  4. L'incoronazione di Poppea : Act 3 "Signor, hoggi rinasco" [Poppea, Nerone]Jennifer Larmore 6:33£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  5. La clemenza di Tito : Act 1 "Non ci pentiam... Ah perdona al primo affeto" [Servilia, Annio]Jennifer Larmore 4:31£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  6. Lakmé : Act 1 "Viens, Mallika" [Lakmé, Mallika]Jennifer Larmore 5:35£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  7. Norma : Act 2 "Mira, o Norma" [Norma, Adalgisa]Jennifer Larmore 6:52£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  8. Anna Bolena : Act 2 "Dio, che mi vedi in core... Al par del mio... Va, infelice, e teco reca" [Anna Bolena, Giovanna Seymour]Jennifer Larmore15:20£1.29  Buy MP3 
Listen  9. Madama Butterfly : Act 2 "Una nave da guerra" [Butterfly, Suzuki]Jennifer Larmore 7:33£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen10. Tancredi : Act 2 "Fiero incontro!... Lascami - non t'ascolto" [Amenaide, Tancredi]Jennifer Larmore10:41£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen11. Hänsel und Gretel : Act 2 "Sandmann war da!... Abends will ich schlafen gehn" [Gretel, Hänsel]Jennifer Larmore 2:52£0.79  Buy MP3 


Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent duet album!!! 15 Feb 2003
By V. Chau
Format:Audio CD
I was astounded by the quality of the singing and the absolutely gorgeous music that was sung on this album. The two singers sing like goddesses and are very committed to the drama of the music.
The sound is excellent, both spacious and crystal-clear. Teldec sure knows how to capture voices and operatic music on CD. Many thanks to Teldec for recording this exquisitely sung duet album. If only they were around to record a duet album featuring Joan Sutherland and Marilyn Horne. Now that would have been great!
The soprano, Hei-Kyung Hong, has an excellent coloratura technique. Her trills vary from mediocre to very good. Overall, her fioritura is first-rate. Her diction is crystal clear. Her Italian is exquisite. Almost every "r" is rolled. Her French is generally excellent. Her German is quite good. I love the sound of her voice. It is bright and silvery-toned with a brilliant top. The mezzo-soprano is Jennifer Larmore. She has a gorgeous voice, rich and dark. Her voice reminded me of the voice of that great coloratura mezzo, Marilyn Horne. Her coloratura may be a bit below that of the soprano's but it is more than passable. Her trills also range from mediocre to very good. Her diction is sometimes obscured by her rich tone but it is generally excellent. Her track record with rolling the "r's" is not as good as the soprano's but it is more than passable.
The first duet is the Barcarolle from Offenbach's "Les Contes d'Hoffman". I had never heard it before. The simple yet exquisite quality of the music is just wonderful. Both singers acquit themselves admirably in this duet. Their voices blend together beautifully in this love duet.
The second duet is the wonderful duet from Strauss' "Der Rosenkavalier". I had never heard this duet before.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  17 reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just beautiful 29 Jan 2000
By Leina R. Mojica - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
I bought this cd three weeks ago and felt that I had to give it like forty listenings before writing a review...and I am please to say that I thoroughly enjoyed all forty listenings of this cd. Ms. Hong's delicate high voice contrasted perfectly with Ms. Larmore's powerful low voice. This a wonderful example of the way duets written for soprano and mezzo are supposed to sound. "Barcarolle" is definitely my pick of the compilation---it's sung so peacefully and calmly. And I really enjoyed the Hansel und Gretel lullaby. Mozart fans out there will not be disappointed by "Non ci pentiam...Ah perdona al primo affetto" from La clemenza di Tito... Ah, just wonderful, just beautiful.
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Two great artists-pure pleasure! 4 Feb 2000
By Sasha Castel - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Boy did they name this album correctly! Hei-Kyung Hong has long been a favorite with Metropolitan Opera audiences, but unfortunately she doesn't sing much outside NY. This album shows what an exquisite artist she is. Jennifer Larmore is more of a known quantity, and she is phenomenal as well. I am such a jaded operagoer (and I'm 26!) that I was shocked to find tears come to my eyes during a couple of the selections--most notably the Butterfly and the Hansel & Gretel. I bought this album when it came out and it has taken up permanent residence inside my Discman. If you are bored with the "cookie-cutter" sameness of many of today's singers, BUY THIS NOW. I promise you won't regret it.
14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Vocal Duet Album in 48 Years 14 Oct 1999
By madamemusico - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
I echo all of the positive comments in Robert Levine's review, but would add three more. First, Hong's soprano is an absolute revelation. Her bell-like, silvery high register reminded me of the legendary French soprano Gabrielle Ritter-Ciampi (there's a name unfamiliar to most people today!) and Larmore, as usual, is without peer in the modern era. Second, the consistently high quality of the singing makes this, in my mind, the most successful soprano-mezzo album ever made and possibly the best duet album since the Jussi Bjorling-Robert Merrill LP of 1951. Thirdly, the dramatic incisiveness of each and every track makes for tremendously exciting listening. If I could give this one 15 stars, I would!
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magnificent!! 5 stars do not suffice!! 19 Dec 2002
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
I was astounded by the quality of the singing and the absolutely gorgeous music that was sung on this album. The two singers sing like goddesses and are very committed to the drama of the music.
The sound is excellent, both spacious and crystal-clear. Teldec sure knows how to capture voices and operatic music on CD. Many thanks to Teldec for recording this exquisitely sung duet album. If only they were around to record a duet album featuring Joan Sutherland and Marilyn Horne. Now that would have been great!
The soprano, Hei-Kyung Hong, has an excellent coloratura technique. Her trills vary from mediocre to very good. Overall, her fioritura is first-rate. Her diction is crystal clear. Her Italian is exquisite. Almost every "r" is rolled. Her French is generally excellent. Her German is quite good. I love the sound of her voice. It is bright and silvery-toned with a brilliant top. The mezzo-soprano is Jennifer Larmore. She has a gorgeous voice, rich and dark. Her voice reminded me of the voice of that great coloratura mezzo, Marilyn Horne. Her coloratura may be a bit below that of the soprano's but it is more than passable. Her trills also range from mediocre to very good. Her diction is sometimes obscured by her rich tone but it is generally excellent. Her track record with rolling the "r's" is not as good as the soprano's but it is more than passable.
The first duet is the Barcarolle from Offenbach's "Les Contes d'Hoffman". I had never heard it before. The simple yet exquisite quality of the music is just wonderful. Both singers acquit themselves admirably in this duet. Their voices blend together beautifully in this love duet.
The second duet is the wonderful duet from Strauss' "Der Rosenkavalier". I had never heard this duet before. Strauss' music is sparkling and brilliant, an absolute joy to the ears. The two singers are wonderful in this duet.
The third duet is a fine love duet from Handel's "Giulio Cesare". The harp accompaniment is fantastic. It was the harpsichord's sounds that made this duet so enjoyable. Handel did a great job writing the music for this very fine opera. Hong is breathtaking in this duet. Larmore supports her wonderfully. I can't decide if I like this duet the most or the one from "L'incoronazione di Poppea". The notes in the booklet say that this duet comes at the end of the opera. This is incorrect. It comes well before the end of the opera.
The fourth duet is from Claudio Monteverdi's underperfomed and underappreciated masterpiece, "L'incoronazione di Poppea". It was an absolute delight to hear this exquisite duet with its fine Baroque music. From Hong's first note, the listener knows that he/she is in for a wonderful treat. The perfomance of this duet is so good that words do not do it justice.
The fifth duet is from Mozart's "La Clemenza di Tito". I didn't realize that Mozart could write such fine Baroque music. The music is beautiful and noble. The singing is excellent.
The sixth duet is the Flower Duet from Léo Delibes' "Lakmé". It is an exquisite piece of French music. I love this duet. No wonder it is considered by many to be the most beautiful operatic piece ever composed. The singing done by Hong and Larmore is transcendental. Mere words cannot describe the sounds that they make with their beautiful voices.
The seventh duet is from Bellini's "Norma". What you get is wonderful, vigorous bel canto music at its best and gorgeous singing by two very able singers. The coloratura is amazing! The staccati notes done in unison are wonderful. The high notes of both singers are powerful and clear. Larmore makes a powerful and convincing Adalgisa, but Hong is clearly not suited to Norma. She doesn't have the temperament to sing the role and her voice is too light to tackle the role's heavy dramatic demands.
The eighth duet is from Donizetti's masterpiece, "Anna Bolena". The bel canto melody found in this piece of music is very fine indeed. Hong tries her best to sound like Bolena, but this role does not show her in the best light. Her voice is too light for this heavy role and she doesn't have the queen's regal temperament. Larmore is very convincing as the repentent Jane Seymour. The singing is fabulous. So is the diction of the two singers. The high C done in unison that ends the duet is spectacular and breathtaking.
The ninth duet is from Puccini's "Madama Butterfly". This is the other Flower Duet on the album. The singing is magnificent. Larmore makes a very fine Suzuki. Hong's Cio-Cio San is excellent. She would make a fine recorded Butterfly. She is, after all, Asian. Some people say she is not good enough to be a Butterfly. I strongly disagree. If Freni and Scotto, two of the lightest-voiced sopranos to have sung the role, were allowed to record "Madama Butterfly", then Hong should be able to do so too.
The tenth duet is from Rossini's "Tancredi". This taxing piece of bel canto is handled superbly by Hong and Larmore. It is 10 minutes and 35 seconds of some of the most difficult coloratura ever written. I was astounded by the singers' amazing virtuosity in this piece. They show us why their coloratura techniques are world-class. The trills, runs over octaves, and roulades are tossed off expertly. Even though this music is very taxing, they still manage to characterize! Sutherland and Horne would be proud.
The eleventh and last duet is from Engelbert Humperdinck's "Hänsel und Gretel". The duet opens with beautiful music but I found this piece to be the weakest of the selections chosen for this album. The music doesn't rise to new heights after the opening notes. The singing is more than average but the piece is not a good showcase for the talent of these two singers. Really, another duet from a better opera should have been included that would have done justice to these singers' unique talent.
Finally, I have to comment on the superb conducting and orchestral playing on this album. Jesús López Cobos is an above average conductor, that's for sure. His conducting supports the singers very well and never intrudes upon their singing. The Münchner Rundfunkorchester provides excellent orchestral playing. They never play too loudly as to drown out the singers. Overall, this duet album is one of the finest ever made with two female singers.
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Double the pleasure 3 July 2000
By Ed Beveridge - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
This is a terrific recording, and a must for fans of these two singers. Larmore is well known in her native US and beyond as a Handel and Rossini specialist and appropriately these composers are represented here. Hong has a lovely, bright, creamy soprano, technically superb and musically intelligent. Tragically, she hasn't performed in the UK to my knowledge - if only Covent Garden would hire her for something - anything! - and our exposure to her is limited to recordings and Met broadcasts.
The duets recorded here don't hold many surprises, though two of the best numbers - from Anna Bolena and Tancredi - aren't from the top drawer of lollipops. Both have the technique to sing bel canto well and both have enough dramatic sense to make the extracts live. I could have done without Larmore's top Cs (Hong's are plenty good enough, thanks) and Hong sounds a shade too young to be a Norma. Their Octavian and Sophie and Caesar and Cleopatra are spot-on, and it's a treat to hear the Offenbach, Delibes and Humperdinck sung so well.
Lopez-Cobos accompanies artlessly - you hardly notice the orchestra are there. I wonder if, now I Capuletti has been released, an Anna Bolena may be on the cards? Even a Butterfly in a few years' time? There is lots of repertoire which would display the gifts of these two singers to great advantage. I look forward to it!
And please, please, please, Miss Hong - come across the pond to entertain your fans in London. The reception would be warm!
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