Customer Review

54 of 63 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!, 2 Sept. 2013
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This review is from: Opéra Baroque (Audio CD)
This is probably the best box set of operas ever published.
I am referring to the box set itself, not the operas.

My first impression was that the box is bigger than it looks on Amazon's page.
It opens beautifully, unfolding almost like the curtains of a theatre. Each opera has its
own case. The cases are just excellent. You won't get any of those dreadful cardboard sleeves here.

I received, together with HM's box set, the box set "Vladimir Horowitz live at Carnegie Hall", by Sony.
HM's box set has 43 discs ( including the cdrom ) and Sony's set has 42 discs. So, the difference in number of discs is irrelevant but
Horowitz's box is one third smaller than this box set, the reason being the far better quality of the encasing of cds in the Opera box set.

The quality of images and sound of the dvds is very good. Better than that only if the opera was on blu ray discs.

There is a cdrom with all lyrics for the songs, in its original language and translated to English. The cdrom is compatible with windows and macs.

There are four booklets for each one of the countries represented in this collection. They have short essays and a track listing.
They are not "detailed" as advertised but the main thing is that, this time, you will have a box set of operas that does have the lyrics included.
This gorgeous box set is not one of those DIY sets of cds that are getting so common now: You buy a set of cds with songs and then it is up to you to find the texts for the songs.

The box is so beautiful that one might feel like looking at it all the time.

The sound of the cds is excellent. The whole thing is a spectacle. It really is.

Order this box set whilst you still can.
HM's box sets tend to disappear from the market in a year or less.

This review is just a first impression, a way to tell other customers that this box set is more than worth having. Just be aware of the mess made by HM
with the names of the supplementary cds.

PS It is written on the box :"... No fewer than 17 complete operas (including two on DVD) and two supplementary CDs (the dawn of opera, Overtures for the Hamburg Opera) provide the most comprehensive..."

There is no cd called "The Dawn of Opera" so I first thought that my box was missing a cd and asked for a replacement.
The replacement was exactly like the first box. I realised, after the second box and after reading the other review that there is no missing cd.
What happened is that HM made a mess with the name of the first supplementary cd.

HM should clear this mess. They say that the box contains a cd called "The Dawn of Opera" but what you find in the box is a cd called "Comedie..."

Blow:
Venus and Adonis
Rosemary Joshua (Venus), Gerald Finley (Adonis), Robin Blaze (Cupid), Maria Cristina Kiehr (Shepherdess), Christopher Josey (Shepherds/Huntsman)
Clare College Chapel Choir, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, William Christie

Campra:
Idoménée
Monique Zanetti (Ilione), Bernard Deletre (Idomenee), Sandrine Piau (Electre), Jean-Paul Fouchecourt (Idamante), Marie Boyer (Venus), Jerome Correas (Eole/Neptune/La Jalousie/Nemesis),Richard Dugay (Arcas), Mary Saint-Palais (Une Cretoise), Anne Pichard (Premiere Bergere), Anne Mopin (Une Troyenne/Deuxieme Bergere), Jean-Claude Sarragosse (Arbas/Protee)
Les Arts Florissants, William Christie

Cavalli:
La Calisto
Marcello Lippi (Giove), Simon Keenlyside (Mercurio), Maria Bayo (Calisto), Graham Pushee (Endimione), Alessandro Mantovani (Diana), Gilles Ragon (Linfea), Dominique Visse (Il Satirino/Furia), Barry Banks (Pane), David Pittsinger (Silvano), Sonia Theodoridou (Giunone), Judith Vindevogel (Furia)
Concerto Vocale, René Jacobs

Charpentier, M-A:
Médée
Lorraine Hunt (Médée), Mark Padmore (Jason), Bernard Deletré (Créon), Monique Zanetti (Créuse) & Jean-Marc Salzmann (Oronte)
Les Arts Florissants, William Christie
Le Malade imaginaire
Monique Zanetti, Noemi Rime, Claire Brua, Dominique Visse, Howard Crook, Jean-Francois Gardell

Les Arts Florissants, William Christie
Erlebach:
Overture No. 4
Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin

Graun, C H:
Cleopatra & Cesare
Janet Williams (Cleopatra), Iris Vermillion (Cesare), Lynne Dawson (Cornelia), Robert Gambill (Tolomeo), Ralf Popken (Arsace), Jeffrey Francis (Lentulo), Klaus Hager (Achilla), Elisabeth Scholl (Cneo), Maria Cristina Kiehr (Sesto)
RIAS Kammerchor, Concerto Köln, René Jacobs

Handel:
Rinaldo
Vivica Genaux (Rinaldo), Inga Kalna (Armida/Second Siren), Miah Persson (Almirena/First Siren), Christophe Dumaux (Eustazio), James Rutherford (Argante), Lawrence Zazzo (Goffredo), Dominique Visse (A Christian Magician)
Freiburger Barockorchester, René Jacobs

Flavio
Jeffrey Gall (Flavio), Derek Lee Ragin (Guido), Lena Lootens (Emilia), Bernada Fink (Teodata), Christina Högman (Vitige), Gian Paolo Fagotto (Ugone), Ulrich Messthaler (Lotario)
Ensemble 415, René Jacobs

Giulio Cesare in Egitto
(two DVDs)
Andreas Scholl (Giulio Cesare), Inger Dam-Jensen (Cleopatra), Randi Steene (Cornelia), Tuva Semmingsen (Sesto), Christopher Robson (Tolomeo), Palle Knudsen (Achilla) & James Huw Jeffries (Nireno)
Concerto Copenhagen, Lars Ulrik Mortensen
Almira Suite
Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin

Keiser:
Croesus
Dorothea Roschmann (Elmira), Werner Gura (Atis), Roman Trekel (Croesus), Klaus Hager (Orsanes), Johannes Mannov (Cyrus), Markus Schafer (Eliates), Salome Haller (Clerida), Kwangchul Youn (Solon), Graham Pushee (Halimacus), Brigitte Eisenfeld (Trigesta), Kurt Azesberger (Elcius), Johanna Stojkovic (Nerillus), Jorg Gottschick (Hauptmann)
RIAS Kammerchor, Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin, Solistes du Knabenchor Hannover, René Jacobs
Le Ridicule Prince Jodelet Sinfonia
Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin

Lully:
Atys
Guy de Mey, Guillemette Laurens, Agnès Mellon, Jean-François Gardeil, Jacques Bona, Bernard Deletré, Isabelle Desrochers, Jean-Paul Fouchécourt,Véronique Gens, Michel Laplénie, Stephan Maciejewski, Gilles Ragon, Noémi Rime, Françoise Semellaz, Arlette Steyer & Monique Zanetti
Les Arts Florissants, William Christie

Monteverdi:
L'Orfeo
(DVD)

Simon Keenlyside (Orfeo), Juanita Lascarro (Euridice, la Musica, Eco), Graciela Oddone (la Messaggiera), Martina Dike (Proserpina), Stephen Wallace (la Speranza, Pastore), Tomas Tòmasson (Plutone), Paul Gérimon, Caronte (Pastore), Mauro Utzeri (Apollo), Anne Cambier (Ninfa), Yann Beuron, John Bowen, René Linnenbank (Pastori, Spiriti
Concerto Vocale, Collegium Vocale Gent, Trisha Brown Company, René Jacobs

L'incoronazione di Poppea
Danielle Borst (Poppea), Guillemette Laurens (Nerone), Axel Köhler (Ottone), Jennifer Larmore (Ottavia), Michael Schopper (Seneca), Lena Lootens (Drusilla), Dominique Visse (Nutrice), Christoph Homberger (Arnalta), Maria-Cristina Kiehr (Damigella/Virtù)
Concerto Vocale, René Jacobs
Il Combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda
Concerto Vocale, René Jacobs

Purcell:
Dido and Aeneas
Lynne Dawson (Dido), Rosemary Joshua (Belinda), Susan Bickley (Sorceress), Gerald Finley (Aeneas), Dominique Visse (First Witch), Stephen Wallace (Second Witch), Maria Cristina Kiehr (Second Woman), Robin Blaze (Spirit)
Clare College Chapel Choir, Members of the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, René Jacobs

Rameau:
Les Indes Galantes
Claron McFadden (Hebe, Zima), Sandrine Piau (Zaire), Isabelle Poulenard (L'Amour, Phani), Noemi Rime (Fatime), Miriam Ruggeri (Emilie), Howard Crook (Valere/Damon), Jean-Paul Fouchecourt (Don Carlos/Tacmas), Jerome Correas (Bellone/Ali), Bernard Deletre (Huascar/Don Alvar), Nicolas Rivenq (Osman/Adario)
Les Arts Florissants, William Christie

Rore:
Ancor che co'l partire
Hilliard Ensemble, Paul Hillier
Scarlatti, A:
La Griselda
Dorothea Roschmann (Griselda), Lawrence Zazzo (Gualtiero), Veronica Cangemi (Costanza), Bernard Fink (Roberto), Silvia Tro Santafe (Ottone), Kobie van Rensburg (Corrado)
Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin, René Jacobs

Schieferdecker:
Premier Concert musicaux
Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin
Schürmann, G C:
Suite Ludovicus Plus
Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin
Telemann:

Orpheus
Dorothea Roschmann (Orasia), Roman Trekel (Orpheus), Ruth Ziesak (Eurydice), Maria Cristina Kiehr (Ismene), Werner Gura (Eurimedes), Isabelle Poulenard (Cephisa), Hanno Muller-Brachmann (Pluto), Axel Kohler (Ascalax)
RIAS Kammerchor, Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin, Solistes du Knabenchor Hannover, René Jacobs
Vecchi:
L'Amfiparnaso
Ensemble Clément Janequin, Dominique Visse
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Comments

Tracked by 3 customers

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Showing 1-9 of 9 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 5 Sep 2013 03:20:30 BDT
[Deleted by the author on 7 Sep 2013 22:38:42 BDT]

In reply to an earlier post on 5 Sep 2013 09:42:15 BDT
lucas says:
Thanks for your comment. I counted the discs before writing my review.

I don't think there is missing cd anymore because I've received two boxes that are the same and also because of the other review.

But HM made a mess with the names of the supplementary cds. I wish I could have written a five stars reviews from the beginning, with no warnings, but the way they did is rather confusing. HM should clear their mess with the names because it is written on the box that there are two supplementary cds, one of them being "The Dawn of Opera".

Posted on 7 Sep 2013 22:05:02 BDT
Last edited by the author on 7 Sep 2013 22:05:39 BDT
An Old-Timer says:
Your review has put me in the disconcerting position of being a fan of a comparatively popular artist, Vladimir Horowitz (having just received the set you compare unfavorably with the HM set) - popular, in comparison to the set you have reviewed. I never thought of myself as being a pop music fan because I listen to Horowitz, but it is probably fair to say that I would be proud if I were to acquire this set. What it comes down to is an economic question, in the most naked and reprehensible sense, that we cannot afford to do all the things we have a tempting desire to do. I am sorely tempted, although I have only heard of a relative handful of the operas in this set, and also in spite of the unconscionable wealth of multi-CD sets I have succumbed to accumulating, and all the time in the world is not going to allow me to listen thoroughly to everything that is already waiting for me, and I still am waiting for the release of the Fritz Reiner set (next month), when I already have some of the most notable Reiner recordings in the RCA Victor set from their vaults released earlier this year (also the Masterworks Heritage Collection, just released in July). When I started seriously collecting classical CDs decades ago, I always meant to get something from the HM catalog, but, sorry to say, it's going to have to wait a little longer.

Posted on 19 Sep 2013 17:13:33 BDT
Lucas. Very useful commentary and the listing is valuable - thanks for taking the time to provide something Amazon don't. Can you just confirm the details for Medée? - the cast you list is from Christie's recording for Warner (he's recorded it twice). I assume what's included here is from HM (which I already have on HMX2901139/41)

In reply to an earlier post on 21 Sep 2013 21:58:04 BDT
Last edited by the author on 21 Sep 2013 22:00:10 BDT
lucas says:
Thanks for your comment.
The information about Médée on the booklet is as follows:

Chœur et Orchestre des Arts Florissants
dir William Christie
Produced by Les Arts Florissants, Harmonia Mundi & ECS
Recorded in 1984 at Versailles

In reply to an earlier post on 22 Sep 2013 00:30:16 BDT
Many thanks for checking Lucas. As one would expect that is the HM recording with soloists Feldman, Bona, Mellon, Ragon, Cantor, Boulin. Christie's subsequent recording was in 1994. Both were with Les Arts Florissants.

Posted on 2 Jan 2014 10:29:32 GMT
Octave says:
Do you know the difference between the one-disc Charpentier MALADE IMAGINAIRE included in this box, and the 2cd edition released in the 'HM Gold" series? I mean this one:
Charpentier: Le Malade imaginaire
If HM truncated the work to fit on one disc for the box, I wish they'd specified "selections".

In reply to an earlier post on 2 Jan 2014 12:42:37 GMT
lucas says:
Thanks for your comment. I checked the cd of this box set and the link you sent. I don't know what happened but there is a difference in time. What I can tell you is that the total time of "Le Malade Imaginaire" in this set is 78 min 59 sec whilst the total time of the "hm Gold" is 90 min 28 sec.

The cd from this set and the cds from "hm Gold" are both by William Christie and "Les Arts Florissants".

In reply to an earlier post on 25 Jan 2014 14:29:30 GMT
S.S. says:
I had to smile when I read your comments. I have every sympathy for you and I, too, succumbed to ''bigboxmania''. I have no good news for you and fear the ailment may be incurable, although of late, my recurring attacks have been less frequent. These superb, itrresitible boxes will no longer fit on my shelves so (and I am hesitant about confessing this in public) I have a few boxes containing bigboxes of cd's, some of those so far being unopened. If I get to the stage when I become resigned to never having the time to play them, perhaps I should try and sell them, especially at the ridiculous prices some of them are on offer - though I can hardly believe people actually pay those prices? Anyway, hope your condition is getting better or at least is stable.
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