24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Turandot - Zubin Mehta and the LPO
This is a brilliant and, so far, unsurpassed recording of Turandot. No other version comes close despite the fact it is over 30 years old. All the principals are ideally cast and the LPO plays superbly. All the nuances of Puccini's complex score are realised to perfection through an excellent recording: just note, for example, the subtle and delicate accompaniment to...
Published on 16 Oct 2004
5 of 21 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars reccomended
Pretty much the best of the modern era Turandot recordings. Pavarotti is wonderful. I'm not that much of a Sutherland fan and don't think that her voice is right fore the role ( whose is these days?)Her voice just doesn't blend with pavarotti's
the recording is well engineered and the sound stage is good but not outstanding.
Well worth investing in...
Published on 20 Feb 2009 by J. E. Holmes
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Turandot - Zubin Mehta and the LPO,
By A Customer
This review is from: Puccini: Turandot (Audio CD)This is a brilliant and, so far, unsurpassed recording of Turandot. No other version comes close despite the fact it is over 30 years old. All the principals are ideally cast and the LPO plays superbly. All the nuances of Puccini's complex score are realised to perfection through an excellent recording: just note, for example, the subtle and delicate accompaniment to Caballe's Liu in the "Tanto amore segreto" aria of Act3. You have no need to consider alternative versions of Turandot, this is outstanding.
20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magic,
This review is from: Puccini: Turandot (Audio CD)This opera is one of my favourite recordings, now even cheaper than when I bought my copy. Pavarotti is heroic and, I feel, preferable to Franco Corelli with Francesco Molinari-Pradelli on EMI. Equally Sutherland is a more 'human' Turandot than Birgit Nilsson. The sound on the DECCA recording is fuller and more vibrant than the EMI.
I have the feeling that the EMI set may be more 'accurate' than the DECCA set, Corelli and Nilsson may be more like the singers Puccini intended to fill the roles, starker, less beautiful, more forceful than Sutherland and Pavarotti. However, because Nilsson's Turandot and Corelli's Calaf are, I feel a little too grand, I prefer the Mehta set overall. Renata Scotto is lovely as Liu, with gorgeous tone, but Caballe has a more radiant voice. The rest of the casting proves stronger on the DECCA set also.
Mehta with the LPO is stronger than Molinari-Pradelli with the Orchestra dell'Opera di Roma, with lots more character and more presence.
The set was already good value but now the Pavarotti/Sutherland Turandot is really excellent value for money, well cast, well recorded and gradually reaching mid-price.
29 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best recording of Turandot in my experience,
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This review is from: Puccini: Turandot (Audio CD)The first time that I heard "Turandot" was at a performance in the Arena de Verona some years ago and it was a life-changing event for me: the opera and its performance was simply sublime, indescribable in its intensity to convey a host of emotions. At the end of the first act, less than half an hour's worth, I turned to my wife and said "I'm happy to die now!" or words to that effect: extreme it may sound, but I still hold it true. The beauty of the music and the splendour of the performance in that fantastic arena, in front of nearly 20,000 people that, like me, went wild with excitement at the end of the act, delivered sensations and emotions that can only be expressed as divine.
Since that introduction some seven years ago I have seen live and heard on CD and DVD a large number of different productions of the opera.
On CD, my favourite version is Decca's 1972 recording with a young Luciano Pavarotti as Calaf. This is a studio recording, which I prefer for opera if listening on CD - if you can't have the theatre then you have to make up by having the best sound possible and studio wins over live recordings every time. For instance, I much prefer this recording over the Carreras/Marton/Maazel recording recorded live at the Vienna State Opera that some hold as the finest recording of the opera: Carreras neither has the power nor beauty of the young Pavarotti and Maazel's conducting is ponderous.
Pavarotti's is a brilliant performance - in 1972 he still had the power to go with the gorgeous silky timbre of his voice. Calaf's role needs the power to make the end of Act 1 the thrilling piece of music and theatre that it can be - it works wonderfully well here. The first act of Turandot really is a stunning piece of music: enjoyed best if you have seen at least one production and can replay it in your mind's eye but I suspect that it could nevertheless be very appealing to any listener.
Joan Sutherland does well in the very tricky role of Turandot: this part is pitched so high that the wrong singer can sound too shrill but Sutherland's timbre is easy to listen to even when reaching the highest notes.
The remainder of the cast is also top class. Montserrat Caballe as Liu ekes out all the sympathy the role has to offer and Nicolai Ghiaurov as Timur also delivers a fine performance; the singing at Liu's death in particular is achingly beautiful. The trio of difficult roles, particularly so in the theatre, Tom Krause, Pier Francesco Poli and Piero de Palma as Ping, Pang and Pong deliver a gorgeous rendition of Act 2 Scene 1, so much so that not only can you hear the fabulous musicality of the score, but the comedy in the scene also shines through from their vocal rendition alone - a real plus for this recording.
After all of these superlatives, it should be no surprise for you to learn that I think that Zubin Mehta's conducting of the London Philharmonic orchestra is first class: the tempo is up and he manages to deliver every subtle nuance of colour from the orchestra throughout the recording.
It's a stunning recording of a brilliant opera that I have enjoyed listening to many times over and hope to again and again...if you are going to own only one recording of Turandot then make it this one!
24 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Amazing Cast, An Amazing Recording,
This review is from: Puccini: Turandot (Audio CD)TURANDOT was Puccini’s last opera. It is a radical departure from his earlier works such as LA BOHEME, TOSCA, and MADAMA BUTTERFLY, but it has a majesty and beauty that is irresistible. Puccini died before completing the orchestration of the score, which was completed by another composer Franco Alfano.
The opera tells the story of a princess named Turandot, who requires that all her suitors answer three riddles if they wish to be married to her. All the suitors fail and each is killed. Prince Calaf sees the lovely Turandot, and immediately falls in love with her. This is against the wishes of his elderly father Timur and his father’s caretaker Liu, as well as the entire community. Calaf is in love and will not hear of their objections. He is able to answer her three riddles which shocks Turandot. She still wants him beheaded, but her father tells her she cannot go against her word. Calaf makes a deal with her. He will release her from her promise if she can guess his name. She tries to learn his name and kills Liu, the one who secretly loves Calaf in the process. Calaf decides to reject Turandot because of this, but she repents of her ways, and in the end true love reigns supreme.
There are many excellent recordings of this opera with greats such as Jussi Bjorling, Franco Corelli, Placido Domingo, and Jose Carreras playing the role of Calaf. Each interprets the role differently, but I believe the Pavarotti recording under the baton of Zubin Mehta with Joan Sutherland as Turandot is remarkable. Perhaps the reason for this is due to the fact that Pavarotti has used Nessun Dorma, the famous aria from Act III as his signature piece, but the recoding has many more merits than this one aria. Sutherland is powerful as the love starved and heartless Turandot. Pavarotti’s magnificent voice handles the twists and turns of his role as well. As Liu Montserrat Caballe is sweet and convincing. Nicolai Ghiaurov gives the role of Timur a sad and heartbroken tone which the character of Calaf’s father Timur should have since his entire world is caving in around him. The power of the score dramatically unfolds with Mehta’s conducting. A grand musical spectacle unfolds when listening to this great recording. Another notable person in this recording is tenor Peter Pears who plays the role of Altoum. It is difficult to imagine such a tremendous cast on a present day recording. Fortunately is has been recorded to last for years to come.
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars As good as it gets,
This review is from: Puccini: Turandot (Audio CD)Read all the other reviews for soloist analysis etc. What I wish to add is do not be put off by the age of this recording. This was recorded by Decca in their glory days.The dynamic range, frequency range, soundstaging, capture of the hall sound, can (and does) put many a modern recording to shame. The breathing sounds and creaking stage boards only cement the performance. If you want to know how good your system is, can you hear the tube trains passing underneath and the birds outside.
For many including myself this is and will always be a definitive/landmark recording/performance.
24 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bravo,
This review is from: Puccini: Turandot (Audio CD)If you buy just one opera recording ever, if you want to hear opera at its best, then buy this recording. If you a complete novice to the magnificent art of opera this is the disc. If you are a great opera lover this is a recording you cannot be without. Puccini sadly died before completing the final touches to the score, but this is still one of his finest pieces.
When you look at the line up you would think that this was a gala of famous put together when they were at the end of their careers. But then check out the date it was recorded in 1972. This is a before they famous and at their very best. This is before the three tenors and at the time only Joan Sutherland had a world renowned reputation. Better known for her magnificent performances of Donizetti this recording shows that reputation was well deserved. She can turn her voice magnificently to the king of opera. Pavarotti was at his very best, a lot lighter and before his reputation spoiled him, it has the best version of Nessun dorma Luciano ever committed to disc. Montserrat Caballé is magnificent. Her beautiful performance of Liu is a real steal. For those who have managed to see good production Liu often provides an opportunity for a good young singer to shine. In this version we see the best example of this.
The quality is excellent and when you listen to this you will understand why they all went on to be famous. Be proud it was recorded in London with the Wandsworth School Boys' Choir . Mehta brings the whole ensemble brilliantly together. Do not be tempted into other versions, the shorter highlights are good but why go for the second best when you can have the best. Do not buy other version featuring Pavarotti. This recording will be still around in 100 years as the best recording of this great Puccini opera ever done. In case you are wondering the fat lady sings and lives in this one.
20 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous- the perfect Turandot,
By A Customer
This review is from: Puccini: Turandot (Audio CD)This is simply a great recording by some of the world's best singers. The fact that Sir Peter Pears, a world-famous tenor, plays only a minor part is indicative of an excellent overall quality.
The supporting cast, including Pears and Krause are of the highest quality as is the John Aldis choir and the boys choir. There are no weak links here!
Where the recording really shines, however, is in the three most important roles. Sutherland is simply fantastic. Despite being considered by many not to have the dramatic power she soars above the choir and orchestra and even out-shines and out-sings Luciano Pavarotti, who is surprisingly restrained and sweet-toned throughout (speaking as one who usually dislikes his singing).
Monserat Caballe provides an excellent Liu, singing well with Pavarotti and Sutherland and adding her own touches of inspiration and lyric beauty.
All in all this is a fantastic buy. Don't be tempted by cheaper versions with the likes of Nilsson or Caballe in the title role or Domingo as Calaf- I've heard both of the two above and this exceeds them by far.
16 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Landmark Recording,
By A Customer
This review is from: Puccini: Turandot (Audio CD)Gramaphone Magazine said, "Dame Joan Sutherland's assumption if the title role is statuesque, combining regal poise with a more human warmth, whilst Montserrat Caballe is a touchingly sympathetic Liu, skillfully steering the character...Pavarotti's Calaf is a heroic figure in splendid voices and the chorus is handled with great power, baying for blood one minute, enraptured with liu's noability the next."
This is a truly essential recording for Puccini lovers and is perfect for anyone starting an Opera collection. Superb.
12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent,
This review is from: Puccini: Turandot (Audio CD)This is the best recording of this opera. Sutherland and Pavarotti prove more human, easier to relate to than the OTT performances on some other sets.
Sutherland, for example, is less icy and forceful than Birgit Nilsson singing Turandot, and for this we can see her as a person, a deeply hurt person, rather than a block of ice. Her singing proves her to be just as dramtic a Turandot as Nilsson.
Pavarotti has a light voice for Calaf, and you sometimes wish for a deeper voice, but his high notes are magical and he creates a strong characterisation nevertheless. The tenor who sings Calaf to Nilssons Turandot on the Molinari-Pradelli set is Franco Corelli. He is a different Calaf from Pavarotti. More baritonal, with equally powerful high notes, he is more powerful and proves to have a nearly superhuman voice. Sometimes he lacks warmth, however, and is less intigrated than Pavarotti, sounding somewhat aloof, grand. The supporting cast on the Mehta set proves stronger than the EMI set. Renata Scotto sings well as Liu, but Caballe is more radiant and beautiful with Mehta.
4.0 out of 5 stars Great cast,
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This review is from: Puccini: Turandot (Audio CD)This 1972 recording by Decca is notable as it is stars Joan Sutherland as Turandot. Many would not imagine this work as her natural domain but her colossal, creamy, noble sound brings a much desired humanity to the role which you just never hear from other sopranos due to the high tessitura and size of sound needed. This was not a role that was meant to be simply screamed through and Sutherland more than understands this. If you want to hear Turandot in a way you didn't know possible then this is a real treat
We also get to hear Montserrat Caballe as Liu, Pavarotti as Calaf, Nicolai Ghiaurov as Timur and even Peter Pears makes an appearance
A great disc put bluntly
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