Customer Review

5 of 11 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars No queen like an Old Queen!, 26 Nov 2007
This review is from: Donizetti: Maria Stuarda (Audio CD)
Your view of this set will depend greatly on whether you like Dame Joan Sutherland's later singing or not. For my taste this recording came too late in a very long career. She can still do everything, and her diction is reasonable (the famous "vil Bastarda" works well). She acts well. The high notes are all there. But...but... there is something overly weighty about her voice, lumpy toned and matronly. She sounds like an ageing opera singer, not the great queen of Scots.

the opera was written for two soprani, yet we have a very mezzo Elisabetta in Torangeau. Although transpositions were common, there seem rather a lots here to fit her contralto-like tessitura. Pavarotti gleams in his customary way.

Bonynge introduces some variations to Mary's music, unusual and not altogether appealing. I prefer the edition used by Patane (in Italian)and - largely - by Mackerras (in English).

It's one of Donizetti's finest works but the final scene, with the magnificent prayer, just doesn't take off. Indeed the opera here seems rather long and sluggish - a bit long winded. Yet it can be a thrilling and theatrical work.

No, this is not for me. I recommend Gruberova/Patane - or look at Celestial Audio recordings - Nelly Miricioiu's versions are fabulous.
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Tracked by 1 customer

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Showing 1-4 of 4 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 30 Aug 2009 21:29:38 BDT
Guy Whit says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

In reply to an earlier post on 4 Oct 2009 12:57:35 BDT
lionheart says:
Certainly not! Sutherland at her peak, in the right role, was unsurpassable, a true diva. I was disappointed with this set, however, and because I adore the opera, I felt it was reasonable to share that. I don't want people to imagine this is the best version of the work, simply because of the starry cast. That would not be true. So I wrote the review to "do Donizetti up" rather than Sutherland down.

In reply to an earlier post on 8 Feb 2011 07:41:25 GMT
Last edited by the author on 21 Aug 2013 13:47:59 BDT
Hello, lionheart. Although I had this set for many years (I heard it only once), I wasn't aware of its vocal quality until acquiring the Dynamic DVD with Ganassi, Remigio and Calleja. Having recently enjoyed watching the video so many times, I thought I'd go back to this disc. I was utterly disappointed primarily by the edition used by Bonynge, the beautiful score of what is a short opera being mercilessly butchered. Far from being a Sutherland basher (though I admit I'm not a great fan of the late soprano's thin timbre), I agree with lionheart about her Maria Stuarda on this recording.

In reply to an earlier post on 30 Mar 2011 17:47:12 BDT
J J. Mayhew says:
Thanks Filippo Secondo, I appreciate your support on this, as I don't like being negative about a great (late) singer. Nevertheless, this recording IS a disappointment, but many will assume it is the best because of the cast and the label.
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