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A. J. Valentine (London.UK)
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Sibelius: Symphonies [John Storgards, BBC Philharmonic] [Chandos: CHAN 10809(3)]
Sibelius: Symphonies [John Storgards, BBC Philharmonic] [Chandos: CHAN 10809(3)]
Price: £21.35

5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant Sibelius, 2 July 2014
Great recordings, brilliant sound. Highly recomended


Draper 69924 Tyre Pressure Gauge with Flexible Hose
Draper 69924 Tyre Pressure Gauge with Flexible Hose
Price: £9.10

5.0 out of 5 stars Ease of Use, 26 Jun 2014
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A very easy to use piece of equipment, so much easier than struggling in a car part forecourt to check your tyre pressure .


Leonie Rysanek: Opera Arias and Duets
Leonie Rysanek: Opera Arias and Duets
Offered by KAOZI168-CLASSICAL---*SHIPPED IN TIME *
Price: £25.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Great singing, 26 Jun 2014
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Great recordings by the late great Leonie Rysanek. This disc includes a rare excerpt of her sing from Richard Strauss Arabella. A disc that should be in every operatic CD collection.


Strauss - Four Last Songs 12 Orchestral Songs
Strauss - Four Last Songs 12 Orchestral Songs

5.0 out of 5 stars A classic, 14 Jun 2014
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There are many fine and beautiful performances of The Four Last Songs. This one however seems to have that extra special something. These autumnal songs are superbly captured by Schwarzkopf and Szell both at their greatest. This is a recording that one may play only on special occasions, maybe when one is on ones own, or you are in a quiet and pensive mood. This recording has a special magic about it.


Richard Strauss - Salome
Richard Strauss - Salome
Offered by skyvo-direct
Price: £8.90

2.0 out of 5 stars Fasten your seat bealts for a bumpy ride., 14 Jun 2014
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Salome has done well on CD and DVD with many great recordings. Unfortunately I cant say that this is one of them. With out a doubt Karl Bohm was one of the greatest of Richard Strauss conductors who probably new the Strauss scores better than anyone other than Strauss himself. Here however he does not have a cast that fulfils his vision. Things start of well with the beautiful voice of Wieslaw Ochmann (surely an under rated tenor) as Narraboth. With the arrival of the Princess of Judea herself things take a turn for the worse. I saw Gwyneth Jones in the majority of her roles over a number of years, and as always with this artist she gave a hundred and ten per cent of herself both to her audience and the role she was portraying. On stage her great acting abilities and total commitment could detract from a less than easy vocal production. Here however we just have her voice, and it seem that someone needed to whisper in her ear that less can be more. Her huge voice gives out such great waves of sound not always perfectly focused or in tune, that it can often be difficult to understand what she is saying. There is no doubt that she has the full range required for the role and had this been a DVD she would doubtless mesmerise her audience with her acting abilities. This is a live performance, and I wonder if it was recorded in a hurry as often there is a strange balance between stage and pit. Some critics dislike Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau in the role of Jochanaan. I cant understand why. As always he plays great attention to the text and presents a very credible prophet, in turn obsessed and horrified .The remainder of the cast are adequate Richard Cassilly does not make as much as some on Herods neurosis, and Mignon Dunn as Herodias is mercifully not an aged pensioned off Brunnhilde who wobbles and screams at every entry. Although I feel a little guilty in down grading the Salome of Gwyneth Jones, a singer who I admired immensely I feel that the recording engineers never really got to grips with recording her voice satisfactorily. Other sopranos with huge voices ie. Astrid Varnay,& Birgit Nilsson have a finer tone and took to the microphone more easily. If you want a live Salome conducted by Bohm I would recommend the Vienna live performance with Leonie Rysanek,(RCA) its also in much better balanced sound than the present issue. Also the live 1965 Buenos Aires recording with the phenomenal Birgit Nilsson in the title role, giving a more riveting performance than on the famous Decca Solti set. Another recording that needs to be re-issued is the Philips set under Rudolf Moralt (mono), with the little known Walburga Wegner as Salome, here is a soprano who really sounds about 16 and is one of the sexiest on disc. Listen to the way she seduces and flirts with Naraboth in her opening scene. This recording also has a tremendous Jochanaan in Josef Metternich, his cursing of Salome as he returns to the cistern is full of horror and disgust.


Interrupted Melody - The Story Of My Life by Lawrence. Marorie ( 2008 ) Hardcover
Interrupted Melody - The Story Of My Life by Lawrence. Marorie ( 2008 ) Hardcover
by Lawrence. Marorie
Edition: Hardcover

5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting story, 1 Jun 2014
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An interesting and moving story of one of the worlds greatest opera singers, who suffered from polio at the height of her career, but through strength and determination returned to the stages of the world to carry on singing. Nicely bound edition of the book, even though the publishers have spelt the name of Marjorie Lawrence incorrectly on the front of the book.


Carmen Ballet Suite
Carmen Ballet Suite

4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable recording., 29 April 2014
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This review is from: Carmen Ballet Suite (Audio CD)
Schtschedrin re-orchestrated and used some of Bizets music for a ballet score, from the opera Carmen by Bizet, for his wife the ballerina Maya Plissetskaya. The orchestration is not as subtle as the original, but with more percussion and bells, it is quite fun to listen to and conducted by the great Russian conductor Gennadij Roshdestwenskij. Recommended recording.


Donizetti: Maria Stuarda (Live at the Metropolitan Opera, 2013) [DVD] [2014]
Donizetti: Maria Stuarda (Live at the Metropolitan Opera, 2013) [DVD] [2014]
Dvd ~ Elza Van den Heever, Matthew Polenzani, Joshua Hopkins, Matthew Rose / Maurizio Benini , David McVicar Joyce DiDonato
Price: £10.94

15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tremendous performance, 22 April 2014
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I have always thought that of the three Donizetti Tudor operas, Maria Stuarda is the greatest. That was until I saw the ghastly produced and under sung performances offered up recently by Welsh National Opera. I thought may be my judgment on these works was wrong. It shows how poor performances can damage a works reputation. It was with great relief that after watching this DVD my original thoughts, that this is one of Donizetti's greatest works. I have been fortunate enough to hear many great Maria's ,Janet Baker, Joan Sutherland, Montserrat Caballe, Mara Zampieri , to name a few. Having seen Joyce DiDonato in a number of roles mostly comic or frivolous I wondered if she would have the dramatic weight both acting wise and vocally for this role. I need not have worried, she is quite superb.(Sorry Joyce for doubting you) My standard for the role of Mary has always been Janet Baker, whose performances at the English National Opera in 1973 and again in 1982 were quite magnificent. DiDonato runs her a close second, with her great technique and many colours in her voice she brings the character vividly to life, her final scene extremely moving. Elza Van den Heever is an excellent Elizabeth, she may not have the fullness and beauty of voice of Rosalind Plowright at her greatest, or the natural Italianate sound of Sonia Ganassi on the Dynamic DVD but her large well projected voice makes the scene between the two Queens very exciting. Matthew Polenzani as Leicester seems to force his tone in the first scene and the sound is a bit gritty, but he improves greatly later on, though my favourite Leicester is the young Joseph Calleja (also on Dynamic). Joshua Hopkins makes a very insidious Lord Cecil and its good to see the British singer Matthew Rose from the ROH young artist programme making his mark as Marys confidante and confessor Lord Talbot.. Maurizio Benini is well at home is this repertoire and conducts an exciting performance with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra on terrific form. What brings this performance together into a dramatic and believable whole is the production of David McVicar in magnificent sets by John Macfarlane. David McVicar tells the story clearly and succinctly in correct period. He cleverly shows the passing of time between each scene. What a relief to have a producer as servant to the composer, rather than some of the awful travesties that some opera producers foist on the public. I shall always keep my DVD of the ENO production, though sung in English it enshrines a truly magnificent performance from Dame Janet Baker. Some people reviewing this set complain that it is not Blu-ray. I have a large flat screen television and find the HD filming of this opera superbly clear and the surround sound natural and full, in fact the cannon shots in the final scene signifying the execution of Mary quite terrifying . I can fully recommend this great new performance.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 25, 2014 12:33 AM BST


Wagner: Gotterdammerung [Lance Ryan, Gerd Grochowski, Johannes Martin Kränzle] [Blu-ray] [2014]
Wagner: Gotterdammerung [Lance Ryan, Gerd Grochowski, Johannes Martin Kränzle] [Blu-ray] [2014]
Dvd ~ Lance Ryan
Price: £28.24

2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Interesting production "BUT", 8 April 2014
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The Scala production of The Ring is now complete on DVD. The production like so many today has interesting moments but is often weird and confusing. Some of the costumes have to be seen to be believed ! What on earth is Brunnhilde wearing ? An inappropriate gown with an eighteen foot train that she has to drag around the stage. The singing however is the main thing. Unfortunately Nina Stemme does not continue her terrific performance of Brunnhilde through into Gotterdammerung. It is taken over by Irene Theorin, she is a good Brunnhilde but not a great one. Her strongest asset is the top of her voice, but the lower register can be rather weak. The other singers are all very adequate, Waltraud Meier more than adequate. The blot on this recording is however the Siegfried of Lance Ryan. He may look the part, but his bawling out of tune singing is frankly terrible. He also rarely interacts with the other characters, constantly looking at the conductor or what I presume to be on stage monitors. He sang the "Young Siegfried" under Daniel Barenboim at the 2013 Albert Hall proms. He was pretty poor there, but I thought he was just having an off night. Seems not. He turns up on other DVDs and Cds in the same role. Wonder Why ? If you want a DVD of Gotterdammerung, go for the 1990s New York Met: production. It is VERY traditional and may to some be a bit too Disney like, but it is very well cast with the really enjoyable Siegfried of Siegfried Jerusalem and the sincerely committed Brunnhilde of Hildegard Behrens.


Sunset Boulevard
Sunset Boulevard

4.0 out of 5 stars Great Petula, 8 April 2014
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This review is from: Sunset Boulevard (Audio CD)
Having seen Petula Clark on stage in Sunset Blvd, it is great to have these three songs from the show to remember her great performance. Very recommended.


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