The moment this opera was released on compact disc, in the 1980s, I rushed to the shop to buy them and get rid of my old LP set. The sound has always been tremendous but the CD was a revelation. This still is a recording that puts many recordings of today to shame and surpasses them in depth, weight, width and power. I’ve never heard an orchestra recorded with such weighty and heavy brass and thundering percussion (wherever Puccini ask for it). Now there’s a Bluray Audio of this set available and because there aren’t any record shops any more over here; I rushed to Amazon. I listened to the Bluray audio with Sennheiser headphones, a Musical Fidelity headphone amp and a Denon multidisc player. It’s tremendous. It is as great as the Decca Bluray of the complete Ring des Nibelungen. Such detail, such depth, pinpoint and precise instruments, everything is clearly audible. The voices are excellently placed. It’s a noisy and decibel heavy opera with much emphasis on the orchestra but the voices are presented as an integral part of the show and not mixed before the orchestra. The recording is clean, now and then there’s some hiss and a tiny little bit of traffic noise audible. Suddenly from ‘Principessa di morte’ there’s a perspective shift in the recording as if this has been recorded somewhere else, at a later date or was taken from other tape masters. The strings sound thinner than the 100 minutes before this cue and the perspective of the voices is centred. (Before that cue the voices were mixed more spacious.) I don’t know the reason for this, it matters little because the end of the opera is such a heavyweight affair; you’ll get used to it very quickly. This is a crude and bombastic opera so at the end it can become fatiguing, but it’s all worth your time, because it’s such a great performance. It doesn’t matter much that Sutherland’s Italian sounds more like Australian and the moment I hear Pavarotti I see him waving his handkerchiefs; this is the unbeatable classic Turandot for the ages to come.
An outstanding recording. Buying digitally is great for speed of delivery but there is a problem with long Opera MP3 downloads they arrive out of sequence and it's a pain having to re-order them before listening.
I bought this only because I have had the previous issues starting with cassette tapes ( as well as being a Sutherland nut) and can't wait to hear it on my blue ray player. I don't think there's much opposition to the fact that this is an all round fabulous recording, especially with Pav and Cab involved.
TURANDOT. Alextorres hit the nail right on the head. A tremendous cast and remember Luciano had not at that time sung the role of Calaf on stage. I still think the best Turandot I've heard is Eva Turner, but Sutherland is masterly too. Caballe is lovely as always & Ghiaurov is a bonus as Timur, As for the recording it's one of Decca's best ever on a par with their Butterfly & Boheme. As for Eva Turner if any reader hasn't heard her In questa reggia GET IT. I know it's old ( 1928 the year I was born )& prepare to be amazed. Charles Webb Wales.