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Bellini: I Capuleti ed I Montecchi

4.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

Price: £25.99
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Product details

  • Performer: Hei-Kyung Hong, Jennifer Larmore, Paul Groves, Raymond Aceto
  • Orchestra: Scottish Chamber Chorus, Scottish Chamber Orchestra
  • Conductor: Donald Runnicles
  • Composer: Vincenzo Bellini
  • Audio CD (25 Oct. 1999)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Teldec
  • ASIN: B00002DE1W
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 418,396 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Capuleti Montecchi (32 tracks on 2 cds) - Scottish Chamber Orchestra and Chorus

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Given that this is a relatively minor work, prospective buyers are now spoilt for choice and selection will probably depend upon a personal preference in voices, given that nearly all the options have their merits. Apart from several excellent studio versions there are live performances from Muti with Baltsa and Gruberova and another in more venerable sound but with a dream-team of Pavarotti and Aragall, where of course Romeo is transposed from mezzo-soprano to tenor and as such is hardly authentic.

My preference is for this set, expertly conducted by Runnicles, recorded in superb sound and starring two favourite singers but I can well understand why others might go for recordings featuring Kasarova, Garanca or Baltsa as Romeo. Personally I find Eva Mei and Edita Gruberova unpalatable a Giulietta and I'm not a great Netrebko fan but that's just my taste. Hei-Kyung Hong is delightful here: agile, pure but rounded of tone and a great foil to Larmore with whom she has made a wonderful duets album for Teldec, too. The supporting Scottish forces acquit themselves admirably under Runnicles and everyone's Italian diction is first-rate.

It's not perfect: pleasant, capable tenor Paul Groves is not very charismatic as Tebaldo compared with the competition; he sings neatly, if a tad palely. A big bonus is veteran bass Robert Lloyd as Lorenzo (the Friar Lawrence role but virtually unrecognisable in Romani's libretto which owes virtually nothing to Shakespeare but rather mines other Italian novella sources) but the Capelio here is gritty and clumsy of voice. The star is Jennifer Larmore, typically animated and "virile" in the breeches role, her coloratura and divisions flawless, her top notes ringing and thrilling.
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Format: Audio CD
This opera by Bellini is rather unknown. Luckily, a recent production at the Los Angeles Opera has put is in the limelights, though the absence of a video or DVD recording is definitely a handicap for the audience, because this opera is absolutely fabulous.
At first I was surprised by the choice of a soprano for Romeo. But The opera is built to use this fact at the highest level possible. The duets between Romeo and Juliet come to a perfect blending of the voices, the couple becoming one, and that is a marvelous way of expressing this total and unbreakable love that unifies them two. But the duets between Romeo and Tybalt are also enhanced by this fact because then we have the rivalry between the two characters expressed by the opposition between the soprano and the tenor.
Bellini slightly betrays Shakespeare. Romeo is the real head of the fighting Montagues, and Tybalt is the same on the Capulet side. Romeo has killed Juliet's brother. Yet Romeo and Juliet are deeply in love, but Tybalt is also deeply un love with Juliet, though she does not respond to this love. The rivalry between the two families is thus reduced and at the same time multiplied because of the two men who love the same woman. The dramatic tension is strengthened by this simple fact. We are no longer in a fight between two families, but between two lovers. The feelings and sentiments are thus extremely more powerful. And then we understand the choice of a soprano for Romeo. Tybalt is the one who is trying to break, unknowingly at first, the love between Romeo and Juliet.
The music is very surprising in some pieces. The use of brass instruments at the beginning or here and there does not evoke a war, but rather a hunting party.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4.4 out of 5 stars 7 reviews
24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A New Standard for I Capuletti e i Montecchi 16 Feb. 2000
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This recording sets a new standard forthis opera, and should emerge as the best recorded accounting of this opera. While the recent RCA recording is lovely, I found myself wanting to hear slightly more dramatic voices in the roles of Romeo, and Giulietta. In this recording I find I have everything I've waited to hear. Hong and Larmore are accomplised artists as are Mei and her Romeo, however I find that Hong and Larmore's voices are more appropriate and excitiing! Hong and Larmore have been singing together regularly in concert as well as in a collection of duets, and have perfected a wonderful blend to their sounds. Not only is their coluratura beautiful, but the dramatic esclamations are not lost, but fully realized. I hope this set is just the begining of their collaborations! Hong's silky beatifull Giuletta is unmatched, and Larmore's Romeo is heroric, and agile! This is the Bellini Romeo and Juliette to buy!
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great bel canto opera, beautifully sung. 25 Oct. 2000
By D. R. Schryer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I readily acknowledge a passion for Bellini's wonderfully melodious music. But I Capuleti e i Montecchi is beautifully melodious even by Bellini's high standards. Furthermore, despite its beauty, it is not at all lacking in drama. This outstanding opera deserves a place in the standard repertoire. Perhaps this fine recording will help it gain the recognition which it so amply deserves.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Early Bellini effectively recycled 20 Dec. 2012
By Ralph Moore - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Given that this is a relatively minor work, prospective buyers are now spoilt for choice and selection will probably depend upon a personal preference in voices, given that nearly all the options have their merits. Apart from several excellent studio versions there are live performances from Muti with Baltsa and Gruberova and another in more venerable sound but with a dream-team of Pavarotti and Aragall, where of course Romeo is transposed from mezzo-soprano to tenor and as such is hardly authentic.

My preference is for this set, expertly conducted by Runnicles, recorded in superb sound and starring two favourite singers but I can well understand why others might go for recordings featuring Kasarova, Garanca or Baltsa as Romeo. Personally I find Eva Mei and Edita Gruberova unpalatable a Giulietta and I'm not a great Netrebko fan but that's just my taste. Hei-Kyung Hong is delightful here: agile, pure but rounded of tone and a great foil to Larmore with whom she has made a wonderful duets album for Teldec, too. The supporting Scottish forces acquit themselves admirably under Runnicles and everyone's Italian diction is first-rate.

It's not perfect: pleasant, capable tenor Paul Groves is not very charismatic as Tebaldo compared with the competition; he sings neatly, if a tad palely. A big bonus is veteran bass Robert Lloyd as Lorenzo (the Friar Lawrence role but virtually unrecognisable in Romani's libretto which owes virtually nothing to Shakespeare but rather mines other Italian novella sources) but the Capelio here is gritty and clumsy of voice. The star is Jennifer Larmore, typically animated and "virile" in the breeches role, her coloratura and divisions flawless, her top notes ringing and thrilling.

Bear in mind that this is, in the end, for all its beauties, not the best of Bellini's sadly truncated oeuvre. Nearly three-quarters of the music was recycled from "Zaira" and Giulietta's entrance aria was lifted from "Adelson e Salvini" owing to Bellini having to work under extreme pressure of time - seven weeks, in fact. It is not for nothing that Malibran used to substitute the last scene from Vaccai's opera to the same libretto for Bellini's, but the best of the music displays the ravishing long cantilena line that was virtually Bellini's invention.

This is now available in a bargain set but I recommend the older issue which has lovely artwork, a full essay and a libretto.
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I Capuleti e it Metechhi/Larmore 13 Feb. 2001
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Jennifer Larmore's magnificent, dusky mezzo-soprano voice is an instrument of perfection, as always, and Hei Kyung Hong, with whom Larmore often collaborates, is excellent. A real treat!!
4.0 out of 5 stars Bellini and Donizetti just do not have same charm and breadth of appeal as Rossini in his finest operas. And tunes of the transc 16 July 2016
By Sven - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Not a major staple in the repertoire, I Capuleti is everything that you'd expect from a Bellini opera. To me, Bellini and Donizetti just do not have same charm and breadth of appeal as Rossini in his finest operas. And tunes of the transcendent quality of Bellini's "Casta diva" (from Norma) are not to be found here. However... not to be given short shrift by a bargain-basement record company with a D list cast, this recording treats I Capuleti like it's La Bohème. Maybe it won't make your hairs stand on end, but it is absolutely well sung through and through. Hei-Kyung Hong apparently had a very successful live performing career, but she is unfortunately under recorded. One can think of many one-time divas who recorded well past their prime but continued to sell records by name alone. That is not the case here. Her singing while not exactly distinctive (as one reviewer mentioned), is more beautiful than many of the more "unique" voices out there.
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