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Reviews Written by
M. Hayward "Dr Soil" (Hampshire, UK)
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Puccini: La Bohème
Puccini: La Bohème
Price: £7.25

5.0 out of 5 stars Where have you been all my life?, 23 Jun 2014
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This review is from: Puccini: La Bohème (Audio CD)
Opera has not been one of my musical loves, but I felt it was a dimension of classical music that I could become acquainted with now that prices are so low. I have listened to this set several times now and the melodies keep running through my head. Puccini is a good starting point because his melodies are irresistible and he avoids ancient gods and mythology. Reviews of this set are all positive, and who am I to disagree?


Puccini: Tosca
Puccini: Tosca
Price: £7.25

3.0 out of 5 stars A good Tosca, 23 Jun 2014
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This review is from: Puccini: Tosca (Audio CD)
Having "got into" Puccini via La Boheme, I tried this for contrast. It is beautifully sung, and the orchestra is on great form. The Scarpia lacks menace. I was not disappointed as the price is low, and while it lacks the gut-wrenching drama of Callas/Gobbi (since purchased) it is a good interpretation. No libretto, and the synopsis does not make links to the numbers.


Bizet: Carmen
Bizet: Carmen
Price: £16.84

4.0 out of 5 stars First opera CD set, 23 Jun 2014
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This review is from: Bizet: Carmen (Audio CD)
I have shunned opera, partly because of cost (multiple CDs) and time (when?). However, knowing the great tunes of this opera from the orchestral suites, I thought I would give this a go, It starts at a rollicking tempo, and all the great numbers occur, one after another with spoken dialogue in between. Heavy going it is not, and Berganza, although in her forties at the time (suspension of disbelief is important for opera!), sounds young and fresh and does not have horrible wide vibrato.I looked at reviews to find a bargain, and I was not disappointed with this.


Verdi: La Traviata
Verdi: La Traviata
Price: £7.25

4.0 out of 5 stars I know that tune..., 20 Jun 2014
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This review is from: Verdi: La Traviata (Audio CD)
I have listened to and loved classical music for years, but shunned opera...squally sopranos, silly stories etc. I have started with some famous works like this. I must have heard some of the melodies before. Joan Sutherland had a magnificent voice, and the part of Violetta is a bit like a concerto for soprano. She carries it off beautifully but murders the Italian language! Her diction is poor. But my goodness, she hits the notes. And isn't squally. I like this Decca series for the listening guides (no librettos).


Beethoven: Fidelio
Beethoven: Fidelio
Price: £7.99

4.0 out of 5 stars A small-scale Fidelio, 20 Jun 2014
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This review is from: Beethoven: Fidelio (Audio CD)
Until I started appreciating opera, Beethoven was particularly admired by me because he only wrote one! I purchased this set because I felt I ought to become familiar with the great man's only opera, with a fine conductor, and DFD as the "baddie". Not disappointed as Beethoven's commitment to humanity and his symphonic sweep are there in abundance. I feel the performance is a little lightweight, although it could be argued that the small body of strings is a precursor to "period performance". However, I felt that the orchestra needed more heft. I'll investigate the Klemperer.


Operas, The [17cd]
Operas, The [17cd]
Price: £22.67

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Puccini packs a punch, 20 Jun 2014
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This review is from: Operas, The [17cd] (Audio CD)
I haven't cared much for opera, preferring orchestral and chamber music. However, I was knocked out by La Boheme, so purchased this boxed set to get a whole load of Puccini. The overall quality (I believe) is very good, although individual operas and performances can be surpassed by separate purchases. Long-time fans of the composer will have strong views, but as a novice I am impressed. As I said, I have preferred orchestral music (in fact, symphonies), but Act 1 of La Boheme is an impressive 30-minute span carried by expert use of the orchestra. Then there is shear drama such as Tito Gobbi's Tre Sbirri...Va, Tosca! I will keep coming back for more.


United Kingdom Union Jack and European Union EU Friendship Flag Pin Badge
United Kingdom Union Jack and European Union EU Friendship Flag Pin Badge
Offered by Emblems-Gifts Ltd
Price: £4.49

4.0 out of 5 stars Go away Farage, 17 Mar 2014
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A small gesture... As an ardent European since the days of Ted Heath, I wear this. The Union Flag is just to show that I think the Scots should stay with us.


5Ft X 3Ft 5'X3' Flag European Union Eu
5Ft X 3Ft 5'X3' Flag European Union Eu
Offered by BuzzBase
Price: £5.40

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bureaucrats Not Bombs!, 17 Mar 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Fly the flag (get the UN one too). And the Rainbow of Peace. Alle Menschen werden Bruder. There should be an umlaut on the u.


The CIA World Factbook 2014
The CIA World Factbook 2014
by Central Intelligence Agency
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A solid compendium, 17 Mar 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Loads of facts. This is not glossy - cheap paper and tiny print. A few gaps in the information. However, you can impress (or bore) your mates with impressive knowledge of the GDP of Moldova for example, or life expectancy in Guatemala.


Beethoven: Piano Trios Nos. 5 "Ghost" and 6
Beethoven: Piano Trios Nos. 5 "Ghost" and 6
Offered by Naxos Direct UK
Price: £5.99

4.0 out of 5 stars The feminine touch to beethoven, 17 Mar 2014
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I prefer this to the Stuttgart Trio's interpretation. There is a buzz to this one, and the musicians clearly enjoy these prime examples of mid-period Beethoven's life-affirming genius.


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