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Puccini: La Fanciulla del West (DG The Originals) CD

5.0 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio CD (12 April 2004)
  • SPARS Code: ADD
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Decca (UMO)
  • ASIN: B000174LUM
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 47,079 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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Product Description

MEHTA ZUBIN / WIENER P. O.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
The first opera I ever saw was this one and this cast and this production! The great Caruso was the original hero and here we have the great Domingo. It may not be the most tuneful of Puccini's operas, but tuneful enough for a living composer to have nicked melodies for his own piece about a shadowy character in a theatre! The Gold Rush setting is well evoked and there are different layers of tone and melody, evocative of Wagner.
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Format: Audio CD
I bought this set on LP when it first came out, as a souvenir of the excellent -and at the time revelatory - Covent Garden production, which arrived via Turin and Vienna. The cast in the recording is identical to the stage performances except that poor old Silvano Carroli - who was very good - was edged out by a bigger star: Sherrill Milnes. I do not much hold that against Milnes as he here delivers one of his most subtle and thrilling performances on disc; the part of the snarling sheriff with romantic leanings fits him like a glove. Similarly, Domingo gives a performance to rank alongside his Manrico (also for Mehta) and his Radames for Muti. I don't always think he is ideal when more spinto heft is required, but he is here in clarion voice, singing tenderly, too, when required. Carol Neblett proved to be one of the few sopranos able to stay the course in the cruelly taxing rôle of Minnie and although she does not quite deliver the excitement provided by Tebaldi - any more than Domingo can rival Del Monaco or Corelli for sheer vocal glamour - she makes a complete, touching character out of the lonely camp-girl, has all the notes and is in vibrant voice. There is so much lovely, innovative and unusual music in this opera that I can forgive the moments of crassness and sentimentality in all that cowboy stuff - and some things are genuinely moving. The supporting cast is especially strong and they are clearly a wholly integrated group with the kind of rapport that comes from performing live together. The tone is set early on when Gwynne Howell (as Jake Wallace, "il cantastorie del campo") sings a meltingly beautiful account of the ballad "Che faranno"; the dignity of his singing quite redeems its dangerous sentimentality.Read more ›
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By A Customer on 16 July 2003
Format: Audio CD
This is one of the great opera recordings. Domingo, Neblett and Milnes are all on top form and Mehta's conducting brings out both the lyrical and dramatic aspects of this great score. The contributions of the chorus and orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, London, are simply superb.The intensity of the card game at the end of Act II has to be heard! The recorded sound has good atmosphere and 'zing' making you feel part of the performance. Why this work isn't as well known as 'Turandot' is one of the puzzles of the operatic world! I saw the original production on which the recording is based and this is the next best experience!
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Magnificent !
Great cast, well conducted, Could hardly be bettered !
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x982ded28) out of 5 stars 13 reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x98781090) out of 5 stars A wonderful souvenir of a famous production 10 April 2009
By Ralph Moore - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
I bought this set on LP when it first came out, as a souvenir of the excellent -and at the time revelatory - Covent Garden production, which arrived via Turin and Vienna. The cast in the recording is identical to the stage performances except that poor old Silvano Carroli - who was very good - was edged out by a bigger star: Sherrill Milnes. I do not much hold that against Milnes as he here delivers one of his most subtle and thrilling performances on disc; the part of the snarling sheriff with romantic leanings fits him like a glove. Similarly, Domingo gives a performance to rank alongside his Manrico (also for Mehta) and his Radames for Muti. I don't always think he is ideal when more spinto heft is required, but he is here in clarion voice, singing tenderly, too, when required. Carol Neblett proved to be one of the few sopranos able to stay the course in the cruelly taxing rôle of Minnie and although she does not quite deliver the excitement provided by Tebaldi - any more than Domingo can rival Del Monaco or Corelli for sheer vocal glamour - she makes a complete, touching character out of the lonely camp-girl, has all the notes and is in vibrant voice. There is so much lovely, innovative and unusual music in this opera that I can forgive the moments of crassness and sentimentality in all that cowboy stuff - and some things are genuinely moving. The supporting cast is especially strong and they are clearly a wholly integrated group with the kind of rapport that comes from performing live together. The tone is set early on when Gwynne Howell (as Jake Wallace, "il cantastorie del campo") sings a meltingly beautiful account of the ballad "Che faranno"; the dignity of his singing quite redeems its dangerous sentimentality. Mehta's direction is fluid and flexible; he lingers where he should and whips up the tension when its needed. The sound is beautifully rich, clear and balanced. I am not saying that this is the only, or even the best, studio recording in that I still favour the gung-ho glory of the earlier Decca set but it's a very cohesive and satisfying account of this oddly patchy work.
22 of 26 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x98eb0564) out of 5 stars Wonderful but... 3 Dec. 2001
By Michael Newberry - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This recording is very good. Domingo is ideal as Johnson. Zubin Mehta conducts Puccini brilliantly: well-paced, colorful, passionate, sparkling. Milnes sings with all his assets of a beautiful, a dark, and a ringing voice. And Carol Neblett sings firmly with all the notes. But her singing seems as if it is for a supporting role not as if she were the vocal track for Liberty Leading the People, she doesn't command the opera.

Probably the best Fanciulla, with good sound, is with Tebaldi, Del Monaco, MacNeil, and with Capuana conducting. Though Tebaldi is not one of my favorite singers she has a magnificent voice--that seems to give her whatever she asks of it. She also sings with passion and sensitivity. Del Monaco is not great with character but he has a wonderful ringing sound and a big male persona. I think he is excellent here. MacNeil as Rance is very solid; he sings with a beautiful line.

Unfortunately, there isn't a completely knockout studio recording.
15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x98885114) out of 5 stars Puccini's extravagantly scored Western touches the heart. 22 Oct. 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
"Fanciulla" is an opera in which Puccini was trying to expand his idiom, both musically and dramatically. As this crisply recorded and passionatly sung release proves, he succeeded in both areas. Domingo is at his golden best, but I was particularly impressed by the "Sherrifo" of Sherrill Milnes, who makes Rance seem uncommonly sympathetic. While "Chella mi credo" is the aria most often excerpted from this opera, it is, by no means, in my opinion, it's most compelling moment. The first act love duet, Johnson's dramatic pleas for understanding in Act II, and of course the final standoff at the end of the third act, all show Puccini at his heart-rending best. The score is harmonically more sophisticated than any previous Puccini opera, with strange dissonances that give the music a lonely, melancholy atmosphere that fits the story like a glove. Yes, the story has a happy ending, but as Johnson and Minnie ride off into the sunset, I promise you'll feel a lump in your throat as the assembled miners sadly sing "We'll never see her again, no, never."
14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x98b7b348) out of 5 stars Puccini's Most "Modern" Opera 1 Dec. 2004
By Steven Muni - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
I was fortunate enough to see Domingo and Neblett sing this opera at Covent Garden in mid 1977, so I was delighted to find the recording. (I don't remember Sherill Milnes in the role of Rance, but maybe he wasn't so famous back then!) This is Puccini's next-to-last work, and his spikiest opera, with more modern tonalities than the lush melodies of his earlier works. Even "Turandot", his last opera, brought back some of his earlier style. It is an opera that improves as it goes along, with some really great duets between Minnie and Johnson in the final scenes.

This production is excellently sung, with Domingo in wonderful young voice, and Milnes doing a superb job humanizing the evil sheriff. The soprano role is vocally very rough on the artist--Leontyne Price came famously to grief singing it at the Met in the mid '60s. Carol Neblett does a very credible job in this role. Although her Italian diction isn't the best, she sings with real intensity and security. Mehta may not be the most refined or elegant opera conductor, but he always gives a good show, and that's the case here. But the real star of this production is Milnes. This set belongs in any opera lover's collection.
14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9862d570) out of 5 stars Almost perfect... 6 Jan. 2000
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
This is probably Puccini's most underrated work. It used to live happily some half-a-century ago, when Oliviero and Tebaldi sang their thrilling Minnies, but now it's not fashionable anymore. Fortunately we have a great recording like this, that makes us aware of the real quality of "La Fanciulla". Mehta provides for the most puccinian conducting anybody ever heard, and Domingo and Milnes just make their characters talk to the listeners. What is really missing, is a truly good Minnie: Neblett singing is appropriate and passionate, but the voice doesnt't sound great and Italian diction is really poor. Anyway, the best overall recording of "La Fanciulla del West".
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