Customer Review

9 of 22 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A definitive Sutherland, but not so definitive soprano repertoire collection, 24 Jan. 2012
This review is from: Joan Sutherland - The Studio Recitals (Audio CD)
Completists have probably never had it so good: for me this was the fifth large vocal collection of earlier generations of singers I managed to acquire, previous ones being those of Callas Studio Recitals =box=, Caballé Original Jacket Collection [15cd], Domingo Placido Domingo: The Album Collectionand Pavarotti Pavarotti Studio Albums, in each of which I discovered lots of sublime music and music-making previously unknown to me--not so with this one. The problem is not so much the occasional recording issues --uncharacteristic of Decca anyway-- that is with what I can best describe as fire and lightness issues. First, more often than not the fire is just not there, and for each part of the repertoire I knew from before I can recommend more engaging alternatives. Second--and this may be just my taste--is that the collection is too light: there are many discs of not-so-serious music, and then there are discs of the lighter side of serious music, leaving little room for the more emotionally loaded side of the soprano repertoire, and even that often performed with a lightness you may or may not find appropriate. This is not to say there is nothing good about the collection (`Serate Musicali' and `Romantic Music for Soprano, Horn and Piano' for example contain beautiful rarities one is unlikely to find elsewhere) but if it is more the soprano repertoire than the art of the late Joan Sutherland you are interested in, there are probably better alternatives to consider.
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 23 May 2012 06:51:58 BDT
Guy Whit says:
If a potential buyer is more interested in the soprano repertoire than in the art of Joan Sutherland, why would they go for a 23 disc box entitled Studio Recitals of Joan Sutherland? It is a great tribute to her incomparable voice and art - with a whopping great picture of Dame Joan on the cover (no doubting there what this box set promises). You have missed the point in your 'review'. In addition to this, you're sadly cloth-eared if you can't acknowledge the astounding achievement of these astonishing recitals, made over a period of 30 years. The Art of the Prima Donna alone is worth twice the price being asked here - and it's generally considered to be the greatest single recital ever committed to disc. Listen again!

In reply to an earlier post on 2 Jun 2012 03:07:50 BDT
I have to agree with my fellow Sutherland-aholic, Guy. This box is a treasure: it brings together all of Sutherland's recitals (many of which are no longer in print). Of course it is for fans, but the music is so varied that everyone will find something to like (ie: the unbelievably virtuosic Gliere concerto, for instance). Additionally, The Art of the Prima Donna alone almost completely squashes any possible criticism - it is the recording of a lifetime, with as close to perfect singing as you will ever find, and a wonderful tribute to past sopranos.

I really don't think many collectors are looking for a sampler of the soprano repertoire. Listeners already have their favourites and are looking for collections of those divas. I don't think you could ever have a truly complete appraisal of the soprano repertoire. It's just too large and multifaceted.

In reply to an earlier post on 3 Jun 2012 15:32:37 BDT
Iradj Moeini says:
Hi Guy
Interesting to read your comments. Whilst I share some of your passion about the artistry of the late Dame Sutherland, I think there is a difference between questioning an artist's recorded legacy and not recommending certain collections of it to certain people, which was what I meant to do in my review. Surely this collection is packed with gems many of which I will keep listening to, but those listeners who are not equally interested in Richard Wagner and Noel Coward, will probably not come back to quite a few of the discs in this collection. To me what makes other `big-box' alternatives such as those of Callas and Caballe better options if one is not going to buy them all, is not just that as a whole I find them more engaging, but also that they are more consistent in the repertoire they represent.
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