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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars All-star Puccini
This was an opera I didn't really know. I was attracted to this version because of its price (no libretto is included, but this is easily accessible online) and, especially, by its all-star cast.

The recording was made in 1993, when the two leads were, in theory at any rate, a little long in the tooth to be essaying the roles of Manon and Des Grieux. As it...
Published on 23 Jun. 2012 by M. Joyce

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3 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars NO LIBRETTO
I was very disappointed to find out that no libretto is included. It is possible to get in online as a PDF file and then print it out but then one would get a bunch of A4 sheets which do not fit into the CD case.
Published on 29 Jan. 2013 by Elisabetta


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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars All-star Puccini, 23 Jun. 2012
By 
M. Joyce (Cairo, Egypt) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Puccini: Manon Lescaut (Audio CD)
This was an opera I didn't really know. I was attracted to this version because of its price (no libretto is included, but this is easily accessible online) and, especially, by its all-star cast.

The recording was made in 1993, when the two leads were, in theory at any rate, a little long in the tooth to be essaying the roles of Manon and Des Grieux. As it happens, Mirella Freni sings wonderfully in the title role; a little past her vocal prime perhaps, but singing with great beauty and emotional depth. Pavarotti appeared indestructible back then and his voice retains its youthful allure; quite frankly, he was a vocal marvel and is on top form here.

The supporting cast is incredibly strong too. Dwayne Croft is a resonant, if not especially imaginative Lescaut, while the veteran Giuseppe Taddei is a splendidly odious Geronte, spitting out his words with obvious relish. Even the smaller parts are allocated to "name" singers, some then at the start of their careers. Ramon Vargas' voice contrasts nicely with Pavarotti's, while another of today's leading tenors, Paul Groves, provides a sweetly sung lamplighter. The madrigal features some distinguished voices too and is led by the young Cecilia Bartoli, who sings quite beautifully, exhibiting none of the excesses or mannerisms which marred her later recordings.

James Levine is not my favourite conductor, but he is never less than competent in any of his many recordings and does a decent job here. The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra plays well too and the sound recording is faultless.

I'm not a Puccini expert and there may be better versions out there, but I cannot fault this one and at this price, it is an absolute bargain.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Terrific Recording, 7 April 2012
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This review is from: Puccini: Manon Lescaut (Audio CD)
I bought this recording when it appeared on the new Decca Opera series at a knock down price. I have the other Freni recording of Manon Lescaut with Domingo and, whilst the performance may be of a very high standard I found the sound to be muffled and not particularly enjoyable. This is an altogether more enjoyable experience to my ear, focussed yet atmospheric with the balace between orchestra and singers well maintained throughout.

The performance is superb, Levine is on top form, I've often found him blustery and overblown to my tastes but this is a great performance, and with first class singers also. Pavarotti and Freni are superb. I've read some reviewers claim that Domingo is a more rounded and dramatic artist with Pavarotti lacking in dramatic intensity. Personally I don't see it like that, I find Pavarotti dramatic yet possessing that incredible ringing tenor voice which is so appealling in Puccini. Freni performance is class, full voiced, living the part and bringing a lifetime of experience to her portrayal of the tragic yet foolish heroin.

Of the versions of this work I own this is the one I will return to time and again although I wouldn't be parted from the Callas/DiStefano account. I doubt, however, that I will listen much to the Sinopoli with Freni and Domingo because I enjoy this one more and it has a better sound.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More than satisfactory, 5 July 2014
This review is from: Puccini: Manon Lescaut (Audio CD)
NB The other two reviews are completely misleading, for they are of other recordings (one historic, the other "classic") altogether.

I am no expert on Puccini, and Manon is not among my favourites of his output, but this one strikes me as being very adequate indeed.

The Penguin Guide thinks so, too, awarding three stars (its highest rating). In its expert view, "Miriam Gauci gives one of the most sensitive performances of this role on any set. The young Bulgarian, Kaludi Kaludov, is a clean-cut, virile Des Grieux ... impressive in his big moments. ... Vincente Sardinero makes a powerful Lescaut, and Rahbari is a red-blooded interpreter. .. even if it cost more, it would still be very recommendable."

I totally agree. Only the lack of an English translation of the libretto (though there is the Italian text) prevents wholehearted endorsement. But at this price, that's a quibble.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars All things considered the best version, 26 Oct. 2011
By 
M. Elliot (North Yorkshire) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Puccini: Manon Lescaut (Audio CD)
Having heard manon Lescaut's by Bjorling, Albanese, Callas, Di Stefano, Te Kanawa, Domingo, Caballe and Gauci I can say that in my opinion this is the best. There are three reasons: both Pavarotti and Freni bring to their roles a lifetime experience of singing Puccini; Freni's final scene is astonishing and the effects she creates in her aria Sola Perdutta Abbandonata are wonderful; Levine keeps what is frankly not one of Puccini's greatest operas moving along and he shapes a great account. All in all at this price DO NOT hesitate.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Manon Lescaut, 12 Mar. 2014
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This review is from: Puccini: Manon Lescaut (Audio CD)
Excellent voices (even if somewhat later in their career) and with tremendous passion. First rate recording. Highly recommended version of this opera.
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5.0 out of 5 stars wonderful version, 16 April 2014
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This review is from: Puccini: Manon Lescaut (Audio CD)
Recently went to see Manon Lescaut by the Welsh National Opera and it was wonderful. So immediately had to order a version of the opera and was not disappointed.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Date of recording, 9 Feb. 2015
Not sure where reviewer got idea that recording was 1993- original recording by EMI dates form 1972! Both principals really very much at the beginning of their careers. Funny thing this version is not listed in any other summary of available recorings- not sure why.
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3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perhaps THE best Manon Lescaut recording. Ever., 11 May 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: Puccini: Manon Lescaut (Audio CD)
I was dismayed to find that the CD release of this wonderful old RCA recording is out of print.
Whenever I think of Manon Lescaut, this is the recording which remains burned into my memory. I grew up on LP pressings of this. I've heard a CD copy, which is even better than my old LP's. Albanese never sounded better than on the CD release. The Beloved Bjoerling, of course, sings like a living god throughout...in any format. The rest of the cast are also wonderful. The conducting by Perlea is refreshing and right on the money.
All in all, this is one of the greatest opera recordings from the fifties. Here's hoping it may be available on CD again. Soon!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 4 Oct. 2014
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This review is from: Puccini: Manon Lescaut (Audio CD)
Fantastic.
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3 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars NO LIBRETTO, 29 Jan. 2013
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This review is from: Puccini: Manon Lescaut (Audio CD)
I was very disappointed to find out that no libretto is included. It is possible to get in online as a PDF file and then print it out but then one would get a bunch of A4 sheets which do not fit into the CD case.
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