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beethovenguy (The back of beyond)

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J Strauss: Die Fledermaus
J Strauss: Die Fledermaus
Price: £16.52

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hilarious, side-splitting!!, 21 Sept. 2007
This recording of Strauss' masterwork of comedy, Die Fledermaus, is just wonderful. Joan Sutherland is just SO funny! People who say she can't act are sadly deluded...Maria Callas could never be so funny, not if she tried her hardest! Joan has such an intuitive understanding of the layers of humour and timing, delivery and quipping are second to none. She also lends her humoungous high notes to the ends of the ensembles which are often left out by sopranos like Te Kanawa who can't get up there, which is a shame as it seems a bit of an anti-climax to go down at the end. Overall, Joan Sutherland's performance is supreme, no-one sings the Czardas like her! Who else pulls off the coloratura passages in the Friscka section at the end, sounds so rich in the low lying opening and gives the whole piece such a sentimental and exciting air where needed?? Also a nice touch that she sings it in Hungarian (read the liner notes for a funny story about this :-D).

Although Joan steals the show, the rest of the cast are wonderful. Judith Blegen's Adele is also hilarious. She is just over-the-top enough to make it funny, but not distastefully so. Her Audition Song is wonderful, and her violin solo is very impressive! She makes the Laughing Song her own and really is fantastic, making the "Ha, ha, ha" actually sound like she is laughing, a rare achievement among rare that no-one else I have heard has in fact managed without actually laughing instead of singing the notes! Huguette Tourangeau nails it as Orlovsky, being OTT enough without over-doing it.

The male members of the cast are also very strong, but it is Joan Sutherland's night! The cast all really work well together, bouncing off each other to create a wonderful experience!

Mozart: Die Zauberflöte
Mozart: Die Zauberflöte

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars WOW!!...Almost!, 11 Aug. 2006
I think this recording of Die Zauberflote is just fantastic! There is not a single weak link in the cast except Frick as Sarastro who in my opinion is not quite convincing and a little shaky on the sonorous low notes required for the part, but oh well, you can't have everything in life! The cast bond well and you can believe the emotions resulting from the events between the characters. My one and only major qualm with this recording is the tempo of "Der Holle Rache," which is the Queen's famous Vengeance Aria. This aria is probably among my top 5 favourite arias and in this set it is just TOO SLOW!! I don't know what Klemperer was thinking as he goes at a snail's pace at best. As a result, Popp, who I think is an amazing singer of immense ability, just sounds too much in control of her temper and emotions. Nevertheless, she is technically perfect, not a wrong note to be heard anywhere, unlike a lot of people's interpretations, but I think she could go a whole lot faster without sacrificing intonation.

Janowicz and Gedda really sound like a couple when together and interpret their parts beautifully throughout. Berry sounds great as Papageno, really fun and jolly and Popp's coloratura is just effortless as she tosses out high note after high note, thinking nothing of going above top C. The three boys and three ladies are fantastic, each group melding together as a trio sounding really effective.

Overall, this set is worth the money and is an essential for any opera fan out there.

Puccini: Turandot
Puccini: Turandot
Price: £22.25

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sheer power!!, 28 May 2006
This review is from: Puccini: Turandot (Audio CD)
This recording of Turandot is really fantastic. Nilsson and Corelli match each other vocally. Nilsson comes across as very cold and callous and Corelli is very intense vocally (sometimes too much so in some recit passages). Renata Scotto, though, steals the show as Liu, the slave girl of Timur, Calaf's son. My only qualms on this recording are that Nilsson doesn't "melt" towards the end of the third act as she falls in love with Calaf and that Corelli is a little too powerful in places such as tender moments with Liu. Also, in Nessun Dorma, he slides up to his high A's and the top B at the end, which annoys me but probably wouldn't bother most people. Apart from these minor details this recording is fantastic quality and is great value for money. A must for all opera fans!!

Second Nature
Second Nature
Offered by Quality Media Supplies Ltd.
Price: £10.01

33 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars WOW!! What a voice!, 28 May 2006
This review is from: Second Nature (Audio CD)
Having heard Katherine Jenkins on the radio many times, I decided to finally buy her CD. I was certainly not disappointed. Her voice has a wonderfully rich and full sound inherent of a mezzo voice but has a large enough range to tackle some of the soprano repertoire, such as "Song to the Moon" from Dvorak's "Rusalka". The richness of her voice adds a third dimension to her performances of soprano repertoire that most sopranos (Renée Fleming being a noted exception) cannot achieve. Her choice of songs is impeccable and she conveys the necessary emotion in each to perfection. Although her voice has a great operatic quality, she doesn't overdo the vibrato and slide lethargically up to higher notes like some opera singers. Some may say that Jenkins is in fact copying Sarah Brightman in her performing and repertoire. Although Jenkins is singing some songs done by Brightman (and why not?) she certainly does not imitate her voice by any stretch of the imagination and has her own style. Overall I think this CD is amazing and the best track in my opinion is "Song to the Moon" which is sung with such yearning and passion that it is worth buying "Second Nature" merely for this interpretation.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 10, 2010 7:31 PM BST

Star Trek Day of Honor: "Ancient Blood, "Armageddon Sky", "Treaty's Law", "Her Klingon Soul"
Star Trek Day of Honor: "Ancient Blood, "Armageddon Sky", "Treaty's Law", "Her Klingon Soul"
by Diane Carey
Edition: Paperback

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Go Klingons!!!!!!, 30 Nov. 2003
This book is so cool!!!If you're into Trek then read this!All four books are well written and good examples of Trek literature. Book 1 was a wonderful offering by Diane Carey and I really enjoyed reading it. The regular Enterprise-D characters are realistically portrayed and the story's plot is very original and every aspect of the story was clearly thought out in meticulous detail. Book 2 by L.A. Graf is really good and I thought that it was well founded on a sturdy plot and the twists in the tale were so unexpected I was amazed, totally taken aback by how both members of L.A Graf concealed the story's big secret so skillfully. Book 3 by M.J. Friedman conveys the feelings of the characters in such a profound way that I was taken aback by how strong B'Elanna's and Harry's suffering was communicated by the author. Book 4 was again well written and the descriptive language used by DWS and KKR is phenomenal and to be envied by all literary geniuses of the Modern Age. Overall, reading this quadrilogy was an exhiliarating experience to be coveted by each and every person on our planet! (and Vulcan, Tellar, Andoria, Ba'ku, So'na, Unamatrix 01, Qo'nos, Romulus etc)

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