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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 23 November 2012
UPDATE: I originally gave this album 4 Stars however after listening to it a couple of dozen times I feel I may have been harsh as it is the equal of any recent album's from Kaufmann or Joseph Calleja. My original assessment that his voice is not quite as good as it was before his throat issues, stands. However the difference is very small and if this is your first Villazon album you probably won't even notice.

Once my favourite tenor, Villazon had some serious throat problems which I was concerned would be permanent. However unlike his release of Massenet: Werther which was so disappointing, this recording shows to me that he is well on the way to re-establishing himself as one of the foremost tenors singing today. Gone is the grittiness and back is a beautifully smooth and tonefull voice.

The repertoire selected for this album is a good mix of the very well known and the less popular but all seem to have been selected to show that Villazon is back! It is never possible to please everyone but I think these 15 tracks not only showcase Villazons recovery but are a good snapshot of Verdi's work. There are no tracks I would hit 'Skip' on.

Recorded in Turin, with the Orchestra del Teatro Regio di Torino, and under the sympathetic direction of Gianandrea Noseda, this completes a very good recording. The conducting is very good and doesn't overpower Villazon while still bringing out the essence of Verdi.

The recording quality is technically very good and sounds fine on my HiFi and lossless format on my iPod. The enclosed booklet is of good quality and contains the usual multi-language synopsis, track information and a couple of nice photos.

So is it worth buying? While his voice is not quite back it is very close. While his bottom range may not be as dark as it was it does actually sound as if his voice has had a vocal 'facelift' and is exhibiting more 'youthfullness'. So yes I would certainly recommend this - welcome back Rolando, your fans have missed you!
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My favourite composer sung by one of my favourite tenors ( modern ones that is ).I had wondered about the condition of his voice after an operation on his vocal cords. To be truthfull I listened to the MP3 listings on Amazon before buying the cd.I must say his vocal prowess seems as good as ever , He has the Verdi style as well as any other modern tenor ( and better than some I could mention ) with unforced top notes and without bawling or unsteadiness, It is a genuine spinto tenor . Lovely to hear the arie from Oberto & I Due Foscari getting an outing. The young Carreras & Pavarotti come to mind here. 3 songs by Verdi are well sung as is the Ingemisco, but not to be compared with Jussi Bjorlings outstanding performance with Toscanini. O mio rimorso lacks the final B flat but perhaps Verdi didn't write one. Bergonzi sings it in the complete Traviata with Sutherland. The sound is excellent as heard via my B& W's, the orchestra is fine ( As a Torino one should be ) & Noseda provides excellent accompianment. C H T Webb .
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on 26 June 2014
Rolando Villazon’s Verdi Album has a wide selection of Verdi’s tenor arias. This CD was a truly wonderful journey into Verdi’s unique music.

What I particularly liked in this CD was the selection of the arias. There are arias from Verdi’s earlier operas (e.g. Ciel che feci from Oberto), significant masterworks (e.g. La Donna e mobile), songs (e.g.L’esule), Requiem and mature works (e.g. Falstaff). What is amazing with these tracks is that they are carefully selected and are the best from each period.

And the icing on the cake is Rolando Villazon’s performance. His voice is so melodic and matches perfectly to these arias. Rolando is expressive and his performance is vivid and proves that he is one of the best Verdi tenors out there.

In overall, this CD is a delightful way to listen to many of Verdi’s arias and songs. Recommended to Verdi fans and new opera fans.
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on 10 October 2013
Performance: 4/5 Value for the money over CD: 3/5

The label "High Fidelity Pure Audio" on the top of the case comes from High Fidelity Pure Audio Group which is led by Universal Music Group. This is a Blu-ray audio disc (not DVD-Audio as listed on Amazon) with no footage of the performance and has exactly the same programme as the CD. You'll see the CD reviews all pasted on this listing for BD by Amazon. Here I'll focus on the technical side so you can make an informed decision whether the extra cost is worth it.

AUDIO: There are three audio tracks: PCM 4.60Mbps (the default), DTS-HD MA and Dolby TrueHD, all 2.0 only, 24-bit 96kHz. They are all identical as the last two are lossless compression and bit-for-bit identical to the PCM. They are therefore redundant unless they are mixed differently by intention (it doesn't say so here).

Note that players will not output 96kHz from optical or coaxial if the BD is copy-protected (they can otherwise) but instead downsample to 48kHz (like they used to do with DVD-A). To output 96kHz you have to use either HDMI or the stereo analogue outputs (which some players no longer have). Then some processors and receivers may downsample incoming 96kHz when room EQ is applied or apply a digital filter cut-off around 20kHz.

The Audio Engineering Society recommends screen-less navigation of audio tracks (the intention is for choosing between stereo and say 5.1): if you have never seen the menu you wouldn't know how to choose the DTS or Dolby stereo tracks instead of PCM (but as pointed out there's no reason to pick anything other than PCM).

VIDEO: The menu is a running video (AVC, 1080p24, 16:9) of a static image of the cover artwork and audio options. There is no track listing or runtime but only an indicator showing the current track number being played.

AUTO & RESUME PLAY: Yes and Yes (which implies no BD-J in use and the disc does load quickly)

REGION CODING: none, confirmed playable on region A player.

LINER NOTES: The booklet I presume would have similar contents as the CD's, with notes and libretto in different languages. There is no specific information about the mastering although inside the case it says in general terms:

"We have carefully sourced original recorded material and mastered it accordingly. Where possible, tracks will be available in 5.1 surround but in order to pay respect to the original material this is not possible for every release."

"Audio is sourced from 24bit/96khz minimum master sources and full technical specifications are given on the rear of the box"

DIGITAL DOWNLOAD CODE: There is a coupon code to download the entire album. There is a sticker on the front printed in French about the download as "mp3 et HD". I cannot verify anything because the website forbids access to users outside the UK/EU: "We're sorry but access is not allowed from your country". The coupon doesn't say it's for UK/EU only. I can't even browse the website: such user censorship by region is really pathetic.

So, instead of CD's 16-bit 44.1kHz audio (which some argue is all you need but that opens a big can of worms) here you get 24/96 instead and a digital download code (redeemable if you're in the right region). The price of this disc is less than 24/96 track downloads from online sites from what I've seen (they charge more for stereo tracks than what you pay for physical hybrid SACDs). At the pre-order price which is little more than that of the CD I'm fine with it but I won't pay more than that for a stereo-only BD under 80 minutes (one hour of 4.60Mbps PCM takes up about 2GB so there's plenty of room on a 25GB BD to hold a lot more content).

The big disappointment is the conspicuous absence of a multi-channel mix which I would have expected to include for a new 2012 recording: really there is no excuse not doing it for the new format when more than 10 years ago SACDs and DVD-As had it. Remember, most SACDs were hybrids with a CD layer and many DVD-As had a DVD-video playable portion with a surround mix. This BD is not playable on CD or DVD player. Some of these BD-Audio titles are already available on SACD and/or DVD-A and there is no point double dipping for the Blu-ray (and likely for less contents) unless it clearly claims to be a new master. Without a multi-channel mix the appeal or value of the disc is greatly diminished.

Apparently nearly all of the initial batch of these titles are stereo only and people have expressed dissatisfaction. This falls a long way short of Blu-ray disc's full potential (5.1 24/192 or 7.1 24/96 audio) and is a missed opportunity to move forward.
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on 6 February 2013
Villazon has a wonderful talent his voice is fluent, powerful, romantic and passionate and I have never heard a truer voice. If I have a very small criticism it is that he occasionally revels in the extraordinary power of which he is capable. The fact that he is young, good looking and extremely eloquent all contribute to a talented and engaging personality. May he live long, prosper and bring delight to all who hear his magnificent voice.
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on 24 June 2013
I appreciate these are recorded after some health issues, for me earlier recording were more appealing! On the other hand was a good preparation for his concert in London, where -I think- Rolando was in a much better form!
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on 15 December 2012
He sings songs from Verdi and conveys emotion, passion from the depths to the heights, in a truly unique and personal way.
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on 15 December 2012
Villazon is just great. We love him, my wife and I. His voice is very special, strong and rounded and with a special sound.
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on 16 December 2012
If you like the best - by Villazon singing Verdi. It'll make you happy.
Nice to have him back on stage again.
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on 28 December 2012
Given as a gift and they were over the moon. I may even get one for myself for mothers day
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