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41 of 41 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Caballe Delivers an Unforgettable Experience.
Tosca's long running popularity with the public is reflected in the large number of recorded versions available. Alongside Callas under De Sabata and Price under Karajan, Caballe's account has gained classic status as an interpretation that is special. No other singer has brought such ravishingly beautiful singing to the role. In addition, Caballe gives a compelling...
Published on 15 April 2001

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3.0 out of 5 stars A good Tosca
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...
Published 1 month ago by M. Hayward


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41 of 41 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Caballe Delivers an Unforgettable Experience., 15 April 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Puccini: Tosca (Audio CD)
Tosca's long running popularity with the public is reflected in the large number of recorded versions available. Alongside Callas under De Sabata and Price under Karajan, Caballe's account has gained classic status as an interpretation that is special. No other singer has brought such ravishingly beautiful singing to the role. In addition, Caballe gives a compelling portrayal of Tosca and highlights the full range of emotions that the role demands. In Act I, Caballe conveys the shift from deep passion to blind rage and shattered emotions spectacularly. In Act II one can hear the disgust and desperation in her voice as she bargains with Scarpia over her lover's fate. Caballe is partnered by Jose Carerras as Cavaradossi. He too is in magnificent voice and gives one of his finest recorded performances - far better than his two later recordings of the role. The only disappointment is Ingvar Wixell as Scarpia. While he sings impeccably, his interpretation lacks menace and he fails to dominate the opera as any Scarpia should. A plus point however, is that Wixell avoids the hammy theatricals that so many other Scarpias employ- thus turning Scarpia into a pantomime figure. In this respect he is far preferable to Giuseppe Taddei on the Karajan set. Colin Davis conducts the score naturally and without exaggerated tempi and the ROH forces play superbly. The 1953 Callas version, worth hearing if only for Tito Gobbi's towering interpretation of Scarpia, has long been regarded as the deinitive account. However, that recording, despite remastering, does sound dated in mono sound and is, like so many Callas recordings, grossly overpriced, especially when the Caballe recording, alongside performances of the title role by Tebaldi, Scotto, and Milanov can be enjoyed on other labels at mid price. For value and for Caballe's unforgettable performance, the Phillips set is a fantastic buy.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best budget recording of Tosca, 26 Oct 2010
This review is from: Puccini: Tosca (Audio CD)
I really like the Domingo, Malfitano, Raimondi DVD of Tosca, but this is my favourite CD version. Carreras was at the peak of his career and his beautiful singing here reminds you of why he was once considered one of the best tenors in the world. It is also one of Caballe's best ever recordings. Sir Colin Davis, as always, conducts perfectly.

This double CD is astoundingly good value. My advice is, buy it. You won't be disappointed.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars At last, an alternative to the 1953 Callas Tosca!, 30 Aug 2012
This review is from: Puccini: Tosca (Audio CD)
The best Tosca one can get after the 1953 Callas recording. Monserrat Caballe has one of the most beautiful soprano voices ever. In this recording she also takes the risk in using it in the most dramatic of manners. And she succeeds. Unlike her Norma, her Tosca has nothing less than the perfect 1953 Callas recording. She is a lyrical soprano no doubt about it, but her voice can be clearly heard in the totality of its range, despite the heavy Puccini orchestration (unlike Ms Gheorghiu's instrument). There is nothing forced or strained in the way she sings. The woman has a huge voice and is the only one to be rightly compared to Callas in terms of repertoire. She is also very lucky to have Carreras by her side. Jose Carreras is in his absolute prime, before his illness and his cross over experiments. He is the best Cavaradossi ever in the recorded history of the role. The ideal Mario probably looks like Kaufmann and sounds like Carreras. The set is very competitively priced as well. If you want a stereo Tosca alternative, this is the one to have.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exceptionally competitive, 2 Jan 2008
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This review is from: Puccini: Tosca (Audio CD)
Competitive in all respects, not least in the modest outlay needed. Sorry to sound mercenary, but with the great number of versions available, many of them extremely good (Price, Freni, even Te Kanawa) it is important to consider the cost, especially when the version under consideration is as wonderful as this one. Caballe is in her element: impassioned when required, tender when needed and, above all, singing in glorious voice - great waves of burnished tone and those famous pianissimi! Carreras is similarly inspired (who would not be, with Caballe on this form?) and they sing together with enormous sensitivity and power. Colin Davis gives for me the best interpretation on disc: passionate but, at the same time, controlled (it's so easy to go OTT with this potboiler of an opera!) But it's mainly all magnificent stuff. The only slight disappointment is Wixell's Scarpia, which lacks the snarl and allure of, say Sherril Milnes on the Freni/Pavarotti version (and his peerless glowing tone).
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb, 3 Sep 2004
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D. Bennett - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Puccini: Tosca (Audio CD)
This CD is magical. Carreras is young and ardent, Caballe is swooningly beautiful and the rest of the cast is very, very strong. Davis conducts throughout with considerable effect. A superb bargain.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful, 11 Mar 2013
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B. Harper (Yorkshire UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Puccini: Tosca (Audio CD)
I love Tosca and this recording is lovely. The performances and recording are glorious. The recording quality is excellent to my ear. I really enjoy listening to this production and the music is of course sublime!
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5.0 out of 5 stars vocally stunning in every way, 15 July 2014
This review is from: Puccini: Tosca (Audio CD)
In my view, this is the strongest Tosca recording available.

Caballe/Carreras/Wixell - what a dream team, and all rounded off with Colin Davis' wonderful conducting.

People will now hate me for putting this recording over Callas/diStefano - but I do and I will any day.

Caballe, here caught in her prime, delivers the vocally most stunning performance of Tosca imaginable. If it is melting lyricism in the tender moments of act I that you are looking for as well as strong drama in act II with a rock solid voice and technique from the low register up to the resounding top C in he last act, she will not disappoint you. Her Vissi d'arte is a marvel of sound and sheer breath control and she manages to sound beautiful throughout the entire opera, especially so in her encounter with Scarpia in act I.
Also Carreras is in excellent voice and even if Wixell might not be the most menacing of Scarpias, he sounds very good, especially so in his reading of "Ha piu forte sapore".

This is a legendary recording that should not miss in any collection, especially at this rock bottom price; to me this is the Tosca that all others will be measured against.
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3.0 out of 5 stars A good Tosca, 23 Jun 2014
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M. Hayward "Dr Soil" (Hampshire, UK) - See all my reviews
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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.
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5.0 out of 5 stars a superb passionate performance richly recorded, 23 April 2014
This review is from: Puccini: Tosca (Audio CD)
This remains one of my favourite recordings of Tosca. Caballe's account is intensely beautiful and dramatically projected. Her vissi d'arte is dramatically convincing if not as intensely dramatic as the famous Callas reading, but is for me a very moving account and sung with such beauty that I return to it as frequently as I do the Callas/De Sabata recording. Carreras is at the peak of his form and I find that Wixell as Scarpia is a powerful presence and, for me, not as weak as some reviewers consider, even though Gobbi and Milnes have recorded more fascinating portraits in their respective recordings.

Davis conducts a thrilling, finely paced, account and is well supported by all his singers and orchestra. This remains an impressively engineered recording. This disc in this release does not come with a libretto which is not an issue for me but it may be available in a reissue with libretto. As a performance it is up there in my top handful of distinctive recordings of this opera.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Carreras steals the show, 16 Sep 2013
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G. Crook "Waterloo tragic" (Sydney Australia) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Puccini: Tosca (Audio CD)
With a wooden and unisionatic Scarpia,the laurels of this set goes to Carreras,who is in searing vocal form as Cavadarossi.A s forTosca herself,Callas and Price[on the old Decca set with di Stefano and Taddei ]win the day as total experiences.
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