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Reviews Written by
S. J. Crowley (Sussex, UK)
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Richard Wagner - Great Recordings
Richard Wagner - Great Recordings
Offered by A2Z Entertains
Price: £27.85

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An amazing bargain, 5 Jan. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Even if you want only one of these recordings compiled here you are quids in. I imported one of the recording recently, before this compilation appeared and paid more than twice the price of the whole set. It would be surprising if you liked all of the offerings but amongst these dics there are gems which I didn't know existed. This could be considered an introduction to Wagner's music, no-one claims it is the definitive introduction but at the price it is marketed it must be considered a steal and worthy of its place in any collection.


Encanto Del Mar - Mediterranean Songs
Encanto Del Mar - Mediterranean Songs
Offered by skyvo-direct
Price: £7.10

2 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Caveat Empor, 26 Nov. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This really is a case of "Buyer Beware"! I don't like to tell prospective purchasers what they will or will not like, but I strongly advise you to try to listen to this before you buy it. I must admit that I coulld not liisten to this CD all the way through.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 30, 2015 12:00 PM GMT


A Fool For Love (Various Tenor Arias) (Delos: DE3414)
A Fool For Love (Various Tenor Arias) (Delos: DE3414)
Price: £14.63

4.0 out of 5 stars Spyres attempts to scale the heights, 16 Jan. 2014
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Michael Spyres has a most interesting voice, I would say quite unique amongst today's tenors. His top tenor notes are quite in keeping with a Rossini tenore di grazia but as he descends the scale so his voice picks up more resonance. What this means is that at the moment he can probably sing any tenor aria written which might be the reason why he has chosen to make this album which certainly covers a wide range of arias and moods. He is show casing himself showing us what he is capable of doing. Some arias work extremely well and others perhaps not so well but all are interesting and pleasant. Whether you like one aria more than another is largely down to personal taste and how you would like to hear the aria sung.
I decided to buy this album after I heard him in the theatre and I can tell you that from where I was sitting his voice is not small.
It will be interesting to see how his voice develops over the next few years.


The Zarzuela Companion
The Zarzuela Companion
by Christopher Webber
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £65.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "The" introduction to Zarzuela, 23 July 2013
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This review is from: The Zarzuela Companion (Hardcover)
Zarzuela is a relatively obscure art form akin to opera and operetta, and known to few outside of Spain and Latin America. However, considering the cross over of opera singers to Zarzuela and vice versa one would expect that everyone interested in opera would come across it at some stage and would develop an interest in it. To that end this book is a marvellous introduction and contains all the essentials the a newly interested party would want to know. The majority of the book is devoted to the story lines of the works, but there is a section on famous Zarzuela singers past and present and also a selected discography. The selected discography is vital for anyone starting out on this interest in that you are guided to good recordings of the works.
The book does lack pictures, but I don't think that it was intended to be an art book. It is the sort of book I would have written if I had embarked upon writing an introduction to Zarzuela.


Passion: The Love Album
Passion: The Love Album
Price: £7.72

3.0 out of 5 stars Echoes of Domingo, 27 Feb. 2012
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This review is from: Passion: The Love Album (Audio CD)
There is a nice selection of songs on this album and Domingo sounds absolutely in his element. The problem is with the first cd where there is excessive reverberation. I can only assume that this cannot be removed.


Donizetti: Lucrezia Borgia [IMPORT]
Donizetti: Lucrezia Borgia [IMPORT]

5.0 out of 5 stars Lucrezia Borgia with Caballe and Vanzo, 3 Feb. 2012
This recording was taken from a live performance in New York April 20th 1965, and so is not in Hi-Fi sound, but the sound quality is good enough and quite enjoyable, the recording must have been made for broadcasting. Caballe was but 32 and Vanzo 37 and they are heard here in their prime, with Jonel Perlea conducting. Vanzo never recorded this opera commercially, and so it is a must for any Vanzo fan, when RCA recorded the opera later they substituted Alfredo Kraus for Vanzo and when you listen to Vanzo's performance you will wonder why.
It was Caballe's portrayal of Lucrezia in 1965 that launched her international career and brought her into public awareness and listening to this performance you can quite hear why.
This recording is a must for anyone with an interest in these singers or this opera.


The Verdi Recordings
The Verdi Recordings
Offered by rareclassicalcds
Price: £44.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nice set, shame about the booklet., 31 Jan. 2010
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This review is from: The Verdi Recordings (Audio CD)
This set is truly amazing. There are no bad recordingds here. You might remember the Black and White RCA single Verdi opera recordings that have been around for many years? Well this set is the collection of them all. The recordings were made in the 40's and this might put you off the purchase, as it did me buying the indidvidual operas years ago...but don't let it. All the recordings were made between 1942 and 1952 and were NBC studio recordings or broadcasts with the pre-eminent opera singers of the day. But the sound quality of these recordings belie their age. Most of the singers are at their very prime, Di Stefano 1951 before his voice went, Peerce, Tucker, Ramon Vinay a convincing Otello. Albanese a most affecting Violetta,Barbieri,Nelli, Merriman, Merrill, Valdengo, to single out just some of the first rate singers. There are moments contained here that I have never heard in other recordings. The conducting is incisive and although whether you like it or not is purely a matter of musical taste,it is a different and valid perspective especially when one considers that Toscanini knew Verdi, had met him many times and must have discussed his works with him and how he(Verdi) considered they should be played.

As everyone has already said this set is a bargain and an historic document, a must have for the enthusiast. However the fact that the notes are so disjointed beggars belief. Is it because this is a bargain box that the cast information is located at the back of the booklet, a sort of punishment for buying the set at a bargain price? This is my only criticism of the set, but for me at least this aspect is inconvenient and annoying.


Silvano
Silvano

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Silvano, 25 Jun. 2007
This review is from: Silvano (Audio CD)
This is an unfairly neglected opera.

It could be described as Cavalleria by the sea, being an opera by Mascagni, and having a similar story line to its more famous sister opera, but set in a fishing village. Though this opera seems somehow less complete, this is only a minor criticism, to my mind Silvano is a great little opera in its own right. The music is lyrical and inventive and flows to a satisfying conclusion.

No lover of verismo opera will be disappointed with it.

It is well recorded and Joseph Wolverton shows himself to be a first rate tenor, reminiscent of a young Pavorotti, and well able to cope with the demands of the high tessitura of Silvano's part.

I have owned this recording for about 11 years and cannot recommend it more highly.


Paintings In Venice
Paintings In Venice
by Augusto Gentili
Edition: Hardcover

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Paintings in Venice, 16 May 2007
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This review is from: Paintings In Venice (Hardcover)
This is a quality art book which contains representations of most of the important paintings to be found in Venice, both those which you have seen and remember and those which you have missed, as such it is a great momento of a visit and planner for further visits.
The essays it contains are accessible and informative explaining the interactions and development of the artists within their historical context.
There is something here for both the generally interested and the art student, also the book forms a good reference for anyone with a more in depth knowledge.
I almost gave this book 4 stars, I did not because although one important Tintoretto is diplayed across two pages and the crux of the painting is on the spine, the author has taken great care to put this one painting almost in the centre of the book thus reducing any loss of visual impact. This is but one example of the degree of care and attention which has been lavished on this book, which is why it comes highly recommended and richly deserves 5 stars.


Francesco's Venice : Complete BBC Series [DVD]
Francesco's Venice : Complete BBC Series [DVD]
Dvd ~ Francesco Da Mosto
Price: £6.39

173 of 174 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Francesco's Venice, 16 May 2007
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These DVDs are a must for anyone plannng to visit Venice. They would form a basis of interest and direction for anyone's first visit. There is a historical thread from beginning to end starting with the birth of Venice and finishing with a dicussion on how Venice will fair in the future. The main historical figures are mentioned, the artists, architectects, sculptures, musicians etc and how they fitted into the fabric of Venice. This is not a stuffy historical guide, instead Da Mosto has laced the narrative with anecdotes and interesting stories, with gossip and scandal. His love for his home and birth place is infectious.

The DVDs are well shot and Da Mosto's story is well illustrated.

It is difficult to imagine how these 4 programmes could have been improved because although details are occasionally a little scant I am sure that it was never the intention to make this the definitive guide to Venice.

Francesco's Venice is a general interest guide full of facts spontaneity and humour and certainly gives anyone with the slightest interest in Venice a good idea of what the place is all about.


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