for the price this is great value with some splendid recordings of great artists from over the years. The sound is always pretty good and for listening in the car on long journeys - my frequent opportunity to listen to whole operas! - these are highly commendable. And if you are new to Verdi, or opera, these will be a great starting point. One or two annoying things eg the names of the artists are not given on the individual card sleeves but listed in the notes. But at this price who is complaining?!
Not having a lot of Verdi,being more of a Wagner man,I decided to get this box--right content,right price--and am not disappointed.Some terrific performances,although I would quibble at the title...Attilla ,Joan of Arc,and Ernani aren't GREAT in the sense that Verdi would become great as he progressed,but do serve to show the development of his vast talent.Packaging is a bit flimsy for those who care about such matters,and there are no librettos or synopses,but you can get these on the net,anyway.All in all,a very worthwhile purchase.
EMI's contribution to the Verdi bicentennial is an altogether acceptable one. I live in Chicago and purchased it from Amazon UK for 10.99 pounds plus shipping, which was cheaper than purchasing it from either Amazon USA or Amazon Canada. At 33p per disc, this was a bargain I could not pass up. The 16 operas contained in the box are spread over 35 discs. As is the EMI (now Warner) standard with packages of this type, each disc is in a generic sleeve which repeats the image of Verdi from the front of the box. The 5 sided, open-top cardboard box itself is sturdy, but the tunnel-like sleeve which pulls over it is made of a heavy paper board which will, over time, show signs of wear and tear as it is removed and replaced to access the discs. The rear of each sleeve lists the name of the opera, the individual track number and times for the selections and a total time for the disc at the bottom. Bravo! Missing in action, however, are the names of the orchestra and conductor, the singers, the location and date of the recording and whether the recording is mono or stereo. One has to wonder why this data was omitted from its natural place, which is the sleeve itself (and the label!) I find it hard to believe that this was a cost-saving measure. For these facts, a 48 page booklet is provided which also includes a brief biography of Verdi and 3 short essays, all in English, German and French. The label of each disc is full sized, covering the entire width of the CD. Bravo! (Sony and DG, are you listening?) Unfortunately, the only information on this gray label is the name of the set ("Verdi The Great Operas"), EMI's logo, the corresponding disc number, the name of the opera and the acts performed. A full 75% of this area is blank. Again, one wonders if someone thought that the omission of the conductor, orchestra and singer's names, the date and location of the recording, the playing time, and the mono/stereo indication would save money. Maybe EMI's project manager prefers the blank/empty trend. There's plenty of space on the label for this essential data and still room left for the "less is more" look. It is quite possible, I suppose, that the label art, the sleeve design and the booklet prep were done by three different people who never compared notes. One thing that's apparent, however, is that the graphics designers did not bother to consult opera fans before deciding on how to do their layouts. The list of conductors, orchestras and singers featured reads like a who's-who of the opera world! These essentials are what makes this boxed set attractive! Why not trumpet these facts? The performances are wonderful, the sound ranges from good to terrific. Time does not permit me to give a detailed opinion on any of them, however. They range in date from 1955-2001. There are both mono and stereo recordings. There are both live and studio performances. Alas, printing being the costlier aspect of CD manufacturing these days, there are no libretti. But this is to be expected with an affordable collection of this quality. I would recommend this to the casual opera fan and the Verdi lover (assuming that the original CD's have not already been acquired.)
This recently came back into stock, i had ordered it some weeks ago. What an outstanding bargain this is! The performances are vibrant, exciting and excellently recorded (including the 1955 recording of Rigoletto with Gobbi and di Stefano both excellent, and of course Callas who is a bit shrieky as always...). For those like me who have seen perhaps 4 or 5 of Verdi's most popular Operas its great to hear some i have never heard or seen before. Being a SONOS user i spent many a happy hour encoding onto my NAS. Why? Because as far as i can see its cheaper to buy 35 packaged (not expensively) CDs than buy as a download! That doesnt make any sense, why i need to buy physical CDs and encode them. Maybe this is EMIs policy, but its crazy! Buy the EMI Puccini Set as well and you can be in La Scala etc but with more comfortable seats... Amazons communication and delvery was faultless as usual.
I am a great fan of Verdi, and it is wonderful to have so many of his operas in one box. The recordings are excellent and the box is a pleasure to own. It would also be good for those unfamiliar with his works and want to experience. Great!
This is a great box set at a great low piece, but one word of warning: at first I thought I was missing disc 18, but eventually found it hiding in an additional disc 21 slip cover! So don't panic if the same happens to you.
This is a fantastic set. I have been working my way through it, listening to some of the operas I was unfamiliar with, and it is a truly outstanding experience. I urge all opera lovers and those wanting to know more, to purchase at all costs. I cannot fault the interpretation, performances or recording of this music on these discs, although I'm sure some nit-picking purists will, but it's become a very important addition to my collection. So let the curtain rise and allow the Verdi drama into your living room.