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Hunyadi Laszlo-Complete Opera
Hunyadi Laszlo-Complete Opera
Offered by EliteDigital UK
Price: £42.95

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely brilliant!, 11 Jan. 2009
This opera is fantastically popular in Hungary, but has not (to my knowledge) ever been performed in the UK, which is a real shame, because it is a bel canto opera of the highest quality. The Overture is of the stand-alone Rossini type, but is in fact a skillfully disguised pot-pourri of tunes from the opera. Aria follows chorus which follows duet-all amazing. Even if the performanc were not as brilliant, this would be essential listening.
As it is, however, the perfomance is superb. The excellent orchestra and chorus not only sound experienced when it comes to this work, but also as if they really enjoy performing it. As Laszlo himself, Denes Gulyas is very good-if his tone sounds a bit weedy at first, listen to 'O szaly hozzam' and think again. The rest of the cast are excellent, and everyone works overtime to project the Hungarian text meanings. But the stand out performance comes from Sylvia Sass as Laszlo's mother. She has no fewer than two mad scenes and a lovely prayer, all of which she performs sublimely. Vehemently recommended.

Lucia Popp - Opera Arias
Lucia Popp - Opera Arias

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant tribute to a brilliant singer, 13 Jan. 2008
This recital disc was made shortly before Popp's tragically early death in 1993, but you would never guess, because her voice is still gorgeous, although not in the way it was for her Queen of the Night under Klemperer. Those farmiliar with her voice on her early recordings will not be disappointed, even if her style is a bit more matronly. Notable highlights include a heartbreaking 'O mio babbino caro' and a neurotic 'Dove sono', but the Czech arias are also interesting and unequalled for the clarity and personality that Popp brings to them. This disc should be snapped up by anyone interested in Lucia Popp, or great sopranos, opera or the last century's fine voices. After hearing this, I can truly say that Lucia Popp was possibly the greatest soprano ever.

Mozart: Le nozze di Figaro
Mozart: Le nozze di Figaro
Price: £18.52

6 of 33 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Awful, 18 Sept. 2007
I have no idea why The Rough Guide to Opera and many other reference books reccommend this recording (as a first choice none the less). It is really terrible. I suspect the fault is mainly Kleiber's, who is either too slow or too fast pretty much everywhere. But there is a large portion of this problem which is the fault of the singers.
Hilde Gueden is without a doubt the most irritating soprano I have ever heard. Her aproach is just a bit too clinical (for something better try Anna Moffo, Graziella Sciutti or Irmgard Seefried). Siepi's Figaro is too big and loud and sounds more threatening than the usual about to be married type. Suzanne Danco's Cherubino has an extremely odd accent, and despite all her effort to keep with the character, she ends up sounding very mannered. Finally, to della Casa. Her performance is ruined by some unpleasantly wide vibrato, and Porgi, amor is just TOO FAST.
In short, don't buy it. Go for Giulini, Karajan or Gui (all on EMI).
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 14, 2015 5:11 PM BST

Bellini: I Puritani
Bellini: I Puritani
Offered by KAOZI168 Classical_ ''Dispatch From London within 1 day ''
Price: £29.99

5 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ludicrous, 9 Sept. 2007
This review is from: Bellini: I Puritani (Audio CD)
The previous reviewer completely misses the point of Callas. It's not about vocal beauty. The previous reviewer should go back to their Sutherland/Caballe and look for any drama. They will not find it. Callas sings with such feeling. She is not Callas, she IS Elvira.

Lehár: Die lustige Witwe
Lehár: Die lustige Witwe
Offered by Revival Books Ltd
Price: £30.59

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Do not even bother looking any further, 4 Aug. 2007
This is a most characterful and rewarding Merry Widow, and one look at the cast list should tell you exactly why. Elisabeth Schwarzkopf was peerless as Hanna Glawari and she gives a dedicated, multi-layered and even perhaps slightly fliratious performace. Wachter plays Danilo as a rather nasty character, and it pays off. In the Dummer Reiter duet, Schwarzkopf' Hanna sounds as if she's ready to murder Danilo with her own bare hands, while Wachter is trying to put on innocent airs. Nicolai Gedda is very dreamy and gives a rather more melancholy performance as Camille, and is well mached by Hanny Steffek. Lovro von Matacic, a seriously underrated conductor proves that he should be better known, and the orchestra respnd to his direction wonderfully. Grab it. You won't get better.

Richard Strauss - Der Rosenkavalier
Richard Strauss - Der Rosenkavalier
Offered by swankers3
Price: £44.44

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, 2 Aug. 2007
Why has the previous reviewer been so harsh? Part of this recording's greatness is that it sounds great as well as being a wonderful Rosenkavalier. I would advise the previous reviewer not to listen to Der Rosenkavalier, but to listen to the sound, and then they will appreciate this recording.

The Rough Guide to Opera (Rough Guides Reference Titles)
The Rough Guide to Opera (Rough Guides Reference Titles)
by Joe Staines
Edition: Paperback

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A real gem, 29 July 2007
This book is a superb introduction to opera. It really is worth every penny. True, there are a few mistakes (since when has EMI's Der Barbier von Bagdad only been available as a highlights disc?) and it is a bit out of date (de los Angeles's 1954 Madama Butterfly has been released on Testament) but it is still very good. The recordings overvierws it gives are very usefull, because if you are passionately in love with historical mono recordings, you often must look there first. I for one find that some of may favourite recordings are not even mentioned anywhere whereas some of Boyden's first choice recordings are absolutely awful (Kleiber's nozze di Figaro), but if you want a decent guide to the complex world of opera recordings, it is difficult to find better than this.

Merry Widow
Merry Widow

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ignore Gardiner, 13 July 2007
This review is from: Merry Widow (Audio CD)
Why has no one viewed this lush, fabulous recording yet?
It has experienced something of a decline in popularity after the release of John Elliot Gardiner's recording, which is absurd, because this recording remains unsurpassed.
It was taped in 1962 as a remake of the EMI recording of 9 years earlier. It features several members of the same cast, including the same widow, Elisabeth Schwarzkopf. As Hanna Glawari, Schwarzkopf is sumptous and alluring, but very real and down to earth at the same time. Eberhard Wachter gives a suitably twisted performance as Danilo.
As the lovers, Gedda and Steffek are rather melancholy.
Matacic was the perfect conductor for this opera, and his performance here is enough to dispel all claims as an also ran.
Marvellous stuff

Mozart: Die Zauberflöte
Mozart: Die Zauberflöte

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful flute, gorgeous singing, 10 July 2007
Bohm, Toscanini, Karajan, Christie, Mackerras, Beecham and Fricsay all had a go at Zauberflote, but the only one who really struck the right balance was Otto Klemperer. Many people consider his tempi just too slow, but I find them very logical and enjoy them.
The casting is absolutely masterful.
Janowitz, while not perhaps an ideal Pamina, tries very hard, and is much better than Lear on Bohm's "benchmark" recording.
Gedda is much better suited to his role, and sings admirably throughout.
Walter Berry audibly enjoys himself as Papageno, and Ruth-Margaret Putz as Papagena is also near ideal.
But the real joy and one overwheliming reason to buy this recording is the Queen of the Night of Lucia Popp. Popp manages the difficult coloratura admirably, and each of the 3 high F's are a hit as if they were an octave below. This set is above all, a testament to Popp's extraodinary but underrated ability.
The list of wonderful performances could go on for ever, and when you have Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, Christa Ludwig and Marga Hoffgen as the 3 ladies, you know you must have done well. The only weak link is Frick's Sarastro, but I would chose Frick over Lipp's Queen on Karajan's accoount anyday.
Superb value. Grab it.

Rossini: Il barbiere di Siviglia
Rossini: Il barbiere di Siviglia

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unfairly underrated. WHY???, 10 July 2007
This recroding of barbiere is one of the best recordings of the opera. However, no one ever mentions it on lists of the best recordings of the opera. This is just severely unfair.
Gui is a proven Rossinian and his direction here is probably the best on record. De los Angeles is a sweet, lyrical and above all, charming Rosina.
Alva's Almaviva (his second recording of the role) is good. He is in excellent form throughout.
Bruscantini is a superb Figaro. He is so funny that the first time I heard this, I just could not stop laughing. Buy this recording, and you will not be dissapointed.

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