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Profile for J. Luis Juarez Echenique > Reviews

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Reviews Written by
J. Luis Juarez Echenique "pepechenique" (Mexico City)

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Mahler: Symphony No.5
Mahler: Symphony No.5
Price: £14.03

15 of 40 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Is this CD necessary?, 17 Aug. 2007
This review is from: Mahler: Symphony No.5 (Audio CD)
It's typical of UNIVERSAL these days. They sign a kid who looks just out of the Disney Channel to record an often recorded Mahler symphony that is already splendidly served by masters who have lived with this music for decades. Does Gustavito has anything special to say? No. Is his orchestra up to the task? Not even close. Please, if you see this CD in a store leave it right there and rather choose Bernstein's or Abbado's recordings, both also in DG, but made at a time when talent was a priority.

Destricted [DVD] [2006]
Destricted [DVD] [2006]
Dvd ~ Daniel
Offered by DVD Overstocks
Price: £6.77

8 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Larry Clark Extraordinaire, 7 Dec. 2006
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Destricted [DVD] [2006] (DVD)
There are many beautiful and interesting things in Destricted, but Larry Clark's contribution is surely the best of the lot. He is an extraordinary people watcher, he presents his subjects with such raw honesty and joy that it's impossible not to be fascinated by them. His cinematography as usual is glorious and his film alone is worth the price of the dvd. Matthew Barney's is also very beautiful, strange and poetic.

Rossini - Zelmira
Rossini - Zelmira
Price: £36.92

4 of 16 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful presentation, mediocre performance, 14 Jan. 2006
This review is from: Rossini - Zelmira (Audio CD)
It's a pity that Opera Rara, one of the last labels dedicated to early XIX century Italian opera, is recording less than extraordinary singers in music meant for really extraordinary singers. Elizabeth Futral has a pretty voice and sings all the notes of the title role, but that alone hardly makes her an important Zelmira. The style, the drama, the "italianita" are simply not there. I wonder if anyone at Opera Rara has heard of Mariella Devia, Anna Caterina Antonacci or Luba Orgonasova, because there ARE great sopranos out there, but they are not the ones they are using (Annick Massis excepted but Majella Cullagh included). It's a pity, but this is like a beautiful, expensive chocolate box with only M&M's inside.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 22, 2013 4:36 AM GMT

Strauss:4 Last Songs
Strauss:4 Last Songs
Offered by EliteDigital UK
Price: £22.93

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An outstanding performance, 15 Mar. 2003
This review is from: Strauss:4 Last Songs (Audio CD)
Karajan was lucky with his sopranos. Some 30 years ago he made a memorable recording of the Four Last Songs with Gundula Janowitz, a ravishingly beautiful rendition. For his next recording of the work he chose a very different but no less glorious singer, the Bulgarian soprano Anna Tomowa-Sintow. Hers is a more autumnal reading, perhaps even more human. The long, arched phrases hold no terrors for her, her breath control is amazing, and her creamy, gorgeous voice is always a delight.
Among modern, digital versions this one is far more special than many better known recordings such as Norman's, Te Kanawa's or Fleming's. I would urge anyone looking for a recording of these songs to try this important version.

Cilea: Adriana Lecouvreur
Cilea: Adriana Lecouvreur

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An incomparable performance from La Scotto, 15 Mar. 2003
Since Magda Olivero never recorded commercially Adriana Lecouvreur it was left to Renata Scotto to make the definitive recording of this opera. Fortunatelly, by 1977 her voice was still in excellent condition, and her sheer understanding of what her character is all about make her the greatest Adriana on records. The "other" Renata has obviously the most beautiful voice, but her performance is nowhere as moving or poignant as Scotto's. It is good too that she has the best Maurizio. Plácido Domingo sings with style and passion, and is much more musical than Mario del Monaco. On the other hand, DECCA scores with Giulietta Simionato as the Princess of Bouillon, Elena Obrastzova is just robust, but this opera belongs to Adriana, and as Adriana, Renta Scotto has no peer.

R Strauss: Ariadne auf Naxos
R Strauss: Ariadne auf Naxos
Offered by positivenoise
Price: £5.93

17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best digital Ariadne, 6 Mar. 2002
Anna Tomowa-Sintow's Ariadne is glorious, and she must be placed with the greatest Strauss sopranos of the Century: Cebotari, della Casa, Schwarzkopf and Janowitz. Tomowa-Sintow's creamy, oh-so-beautiful voice is not to be missed.
The rest of the cast is really very good, especially Agnes Baltsa as the Composer and Hermann Prey as the Majordomo. Among recent versions the Kurt Masur recording in PHILIPS is also very good, especially for Julia Varady'ssoprano Composer, but I think Tomowa-Sintow is a much better Ariadne than Jessye Norman

Offered by EliteDigital UK
Price: £24.95

14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Aida as a conversation piece, 6 Nov. 2001
This review is from: Aida (Audio CD)
We will never know how Teresa Stolz and Giuseppe Fancelli (the first La Scala Aida and Radames) sounded like, but in all probability they sounded more like Milanov and Martinelli than Cristina Gallardo-Domas and Vincenzo La Scola.
Nikolaus Harnoncourt's new recording of Aida is not the first to cast such light voices in the leads, Karajan did the same in 1979 for his EMI recording with Freni and Carreras, and if back then it was said that he cast a Rodolfo and a Mimi as Aida and Radames, Harnoncourt chose this time an Adina and a Nemorino.
Gallardo-Domas tries to go deep into Aida's predicaments, but she doesn't have the power for the big, arched phrases in O Patria Mia and abuses her chest notes in Ritorna Vincitor.
There are certainly beautiful things in her singing, but she is not comfortable or secure enough in this very demanding role. Harnoncourt probably hates the traditional loud, big voices that Italians love so much in la Arena di Verona or Caracalla, but spinto sopranos can be found who can sing softly and musically too: Leontyne Price, Zinka Milanov and Renata Tebaldi were as musical and refined as Gallardo-Domas and far more secure and even in their delivery. Vincenzo La Scola suffers alarmingly in Celeste Aida, where the voice spreads, and his -Sacerdote, Io resto a te- goes unnoticed. On the plus side his diction is excellent (in fact all the singers sing with crystal clear diction, and I guess Harnoncourt had something to do with that) and his interpretation is sincere.
Thomas Hampson as Amonasro is equally light weight (when Harnoncourt conducted Aida in the Zurich Opera House he used Giorgio Zancanaro, and I can't understand why he prefered Hampson for the recording). The encounter between Aida and his father in Act Four with Gallardo-Domas and Hampson sounds rather as the Mimi and Marcello duet in La Boheme. Matti Salminen as Ramfis is alien to the verdian style, but he is certainly not uninteresting, and together with Olga Borodina (as Amneris) he has the large voice needed for the role. In fact la Borodina is such a fine Amneris, singing opulently and gorgeously that Gallardo-Domas and La Scola seem all the more inadequate next to her.
But the best reason to hear this Aida is Harnoncourt's conducting. There is nothing bachian or monteverdian about his interpretation, it is a red blooded and truly verdian reading, full of insights and interesting things to say. The Vienna Philharmonic play like gods for him and the recorded sound is excellent.
It is interesting to compare this new recording with the Levine in SONY made exactly 10 years ago. In spite of conducting Verdi for many, many years, Levine's reading is nowhere as interesting as Harnoncourt's, but the moment Aprile Millo, Placido Domingo, Dolora Zajick and James Morris open their mouths it's obvious what is missing in the new recording. The Amonasro-Aida duet with Millo and Morris take us back to an era of great voices (not merely big) and refinement is not in short supply either.
Still, it would be a pity to miss all the beautiful things that this new Aida has to offer, and considering the state of the recording industry, it will be a long time before we have another and better cast Aida in the market.


17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars At long last available on CD!, 29 Oct. 2001
This review is from: Rigoletto (Audio CD)
I can't understand why this important recording was not rereleased decades ago, since it is one of the key recordings of this opera. First and foremost, it has the finest Gilda ever recorded in Renata Scotto, for pathos, musicianship and excitement no other comes even close.
The young and ever stylish Alfredo Kraus is a pleasure to hear as the Duke, his is bel canto in excelsis.
And even though I love Ettore Bastianini, I wish I could praise more his vocally imposing but dramatically weak Rigoletto. There is no denying the sheer glory of his singing, but many key moments go unnoticed, perhaps he was still rather young for all the psychological demands of the role, but you won't find here the depths Gobbi, Fischer-Dieskau, Taddei, Panerai, Bruson and Zancanaro find in this greatest of all Verdi roles.
Still, the magnificent voice is worth having per se, and you just should NOT MISS Scotto and Kraus.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 2, 2008 10:50 AM GMT

Caldara: Cantatas / Stradella: Motets
Caldara: Cantatas / Stradella: Motets
Offered by EliteDigital UK
Price: £18.98

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The finest male alto in the World, 29 Oct. 2001
Gérard Lesne is one of the finest singers around, his musicianship and sense of style are extraordinary, and he is equally at home in Italian, French, German and English music.
This gorgeous pairing includes the great Antonio Caldara cantata Medea in Corinto, which Lesne dispatches with blazing energy, even better is the Stradella disc, of which every motet is a gem, the singing and playing extraordinary to say the least.
Whatever you do, don't miss this disc.

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