- Audio CD (18 Aug. 2009)
- Number of Discs: 4
- Format: Box set, Import
- Label: Testament
- ASIN: B0027REDRA
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 199,281 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
Trojans Box set, Import
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Opéra en 5 actes (livret du compositeur d'après Virgile) / Blanche Thebom (Dido), Jon Vickers (Aeneas), Amy Shuard (Cassandra), Jess Walters (Corebus)... - Covent Garden Opera Chorus - Covent Garden Orchestra - Rafael Kubelík, direction
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
If you like The Trojans buy this. There may be bits missing and a couple of wrong scene placements, but nevertheless working from the available Choudens material a little bit of history was made, dispelling the view that a complete Trojans was not viable in the theatre.
Without the text of Dent's singing translation it is difficult to pick out about 50% of the English words. Having the translation to hand, however, makes it a real pleasure to listen to. It's not that it's rough or distorted, it's just a bit lacking in clarity in the vocal mid where it particularly affects the female voice, and on most systems lacking in top. The strings, on the other hand, sound much better than the average live recording from this period. But it sounds as if the transfer to CD was made so as to minimise background tape hiss. If your amplifier has a treble control this can easily be rectified to make everything sound a little crisper and more exciting. The resulting background hiss is slight and not enough to be a problem.
Nevertheless the new price having risen now to $65 at the time of writing means that anyone buying might well be disappointed, unless he is seriously committed to opera in English and wants everything available. When a passage from the recording was played recently on Radio 3's 'CD Review' it seemed to sound slightly better to me than it actually does and I suspect others could have been misled too, especially as the performance was recommended.
The set does not come with the libretto but only with a quite detailed synopsis linked to the first line sung at the start of each track. This is certainly very helpful but it's still essential to obtain Dent's text because following it while listening succeeds in disguising the shortcomings of the sound quality, as I have always found with less than ideal recordings.
There is also a quite lengthy and very interesting essay about the Covent Garden production and its historical importance for Berlioz's reputation by David Cairns the great Berlioz authority . There are two photographs in the booklet one of which is fairly meaningless (of the ballet).
Some time back this was much cheaper and I think a more reasonable price would be about $35, which is the price that it was about 6 months ago.
Fortunately I did not pay the current price.
What I can say however is that it is likely to sound much better on 'vintage equipment'. One of the stereo systems that I have is about 35 years old and this recording does sound fairly decent on that - whereas on other more modern systems that I've tried it on from mid to high-end it sounds far worse.