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Golden Age singers

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Faure songs
Charlotte de Rothschild (soprano);

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett

 

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The Very Best of Placido DOMINGO (tenor) (b.1941)
CD1
Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791)

Don Giovanni, ‘Il mio tesoro’. ‘La ci darem la mano’ (with Susan Graham, sop.).
Cosi fan tutte, ‘Un aura amorosa’.
Die Zauberflote, ‘Dies Bildnis’.
George Frideric HANDEL (1685-1759)

Giulio Cesare, ‘Vani sono…Svegliativi nel core’.
Giacomo MEYERBEER (1791-1864)

L’Africaine, ‘O paradis’.
Georges Charles GOUNOD (1818-1893)

Faust, ‘Quel trouble…Salut! Demeure chaste et pure’.
Jules MASSENET (1842-1912)

Le Cid, ‘Ah! Tout est bien fini…O souverain’.
Piotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893)

Eugene Onegin, ‘Kuda, vi udalilis’ (Lensky’s Aria).
‘Net, tol’ka tot’ (‘None but the lonely heart’ arr. Riley).
Giacomo PUCCINI (1858-1924)

Manon Lescaut, ‘Donna’ non vidi mai’ ‘Ah, Manon, mi tradisce’.
Tosca, ‘E lucevan le stelle’ ‘Dammi I colori…Rencondita armonia’.
La fanciulla del West, ‘Ch’ella mi creda’.
Arrigo BOITO (1842-1918)

Mefistofele, ‘Dai campi, dai prati’.
Pietro MASCAGNI (1863-1945)

Nerone, ‘Virgini Muse’…Quando al soave anelito’.
Richard WAGNER (1813-1883)

Tristan und Isolde, ‘O sink hernieder, Nacht der Liebe’ (with Deborah Voight sop. and Violeta Urmana m.sop.).
Siegfried, ‘Was am besten er kann….Hoho! Hohei!’.
CD2
Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901)

Aida, ‘Se quell guerrier io fossi!…Celeste Aida’.
Un ballo in Maschera, ‘Di tu se fedele’,.’Forse la soglia… Ma se m’é’. (Reri Grist sop.).
La forza del destino, ‘O tu che seno agli angeli’.
Don Carlo, ‘Su, cacciatore…Fontainbleu!..lo la vida’.
Otello, ‘Niunmi tema’.
Johann STRAUSS II (1825-1899)

Ein Nacht in Venedig, Ach, wie so herrlich zu schau’n’.
Carl ZELLER (1842-1898)

Der Vogelhandler, ‘Schenkt man sich Rosen in Tiro’.
Franz LEHAR (1870-1948)

Paganini, Gern hab’ich’.
Die lustige Witwe. ‘O Vaterland ..Da geh’ ich zu Maxim’.
Das Land des Lachelns, ‘Dein ist mein ganzes Herz’.
Jacinto GUERRERO (1895-1951)

Los gavilanes, ‘Mi aldea’.
La rosa del azafrán, ‘Canción del sembrador’.
Pablo SOROZABAL (1897- 1988)

La taberna del Puerto, No puede ser’.
Francisco ALONSO (1887-1948)

Coplas de Ronda, ‘Serenata’.
Joaquin RODRIGO (1901-1999)

Vilacicos, ‘Copillas de Belén’.
‘Coplas del pastor enamarado’, (Manuel Barrueco gtr.) ‘En Aranjuez con tu amor’, (Peter Horton gtr.)
Jacob GADE (1879-1963)

‘Jealosy Tango,.
SPANISH TRADITIONAL

‘La Golondrina’.
Various orchestras and conductors. Recorded between 1971 and 2001.

EMI CLASSICS 7243 5 75906 2. (2CDs:75.02+73.55 min).


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Domingo made his stage debut in 1957, as a baritone, singing Zarzuelas. His first tenor role was Alfredo, in Mexico, in 1960, after which he joined the National Opera in Tel Aviv, learning his trade singing over 300 performances - mainly in Hebrew! In 1965 he moved to the New York City Opera where he soon came to the notice of major houses. He debuted at ‘The Met’ in 1968 and Covent Garden in 1971. The record companies quickly recognized him as a most promising lyric-dramatic tenor and he has appeared in many complete recordings for all the major labels. His musicality and musicianship has enabled him to learn and sing over 100 roles and conduct in major opera houses.

This double disc issue seems to set out to illustrate Domingo’s vocal versatility, ranging as it does from Handel (CD 1 tr 5) to Mozart’s tenor roles of Ottavio, Ferrando and Tamino (CD 1 tr 1-4) as well as the baritone role of Don Giovanni (CD 1 tr 5). These tracks may show the singer’s versatility, but they do him no favours. Yes, the baritone role is within his vocal compass, but there is no depth in the characterization, whilst his voice is much too heavy for the Mozart tenor roles and completely out of style in the Handel. Nor am I enamoured of the inclusion of a number of ‘live’ recordings from Covent Garden. These were first issued in 1989. His ‘O paradis’ (CD 1 tr 6) sounds thick-toned and strained compared to his filmed performance with Shirley Verrett (now available on video). The applause at the end of these tracks is an unwelcome intrusion. This heaviness of tone is evident too in the excerpts from operetta (CD 2 tr 7-11). Domingo only lightens the voice for the Lehár, and generally lacks Gedda’s feel for this fach as evidenced by the latter’s many EMI recordings.

The biggest pluses on this supposed ‘Best Of’ are the open-toned expressive singing in the extracts from complete recordings of operas by Puccini (CD 1 tr11-15), and Verdi (CD2 tr 1-6). These show Domingo at his considerable best, although in the ‘Forza’ aria, recorded live at La Scala, he sounds a little strained (CD 2 tr4). At this point the recessed, rather distant, recorded sound is poor. It is a pity too that the Otello ‘Nium mi tema’ (CD 2 tr6) is taken from the same live Covent Garden occasion already referred to, and not from his complete EMI recording. There seems to have been little effort made to equalize the varying sound sources and levels; some of the older recordings having a more open sound with the voice more forward. The most recent recordings are the Wagner excerpts conducted by Pappano (CD 1 tr18-19). These are well recorded and show how a musical Italianate type voice can adapt to this different fach. By that later stage of his career Domingo’s German is more proficient than is evident from his earlier efforts. The Spanish songs are new to me but find the singer is in fine voice. The ‘Jealousy Tango’ and traditional ‘Golondrina’ (CD 2 tr 19-20) have overblown resonant recordings more commonly found on ‘pop’ issues.

This is a mixed blessing of an issue that does not reflect the artistry, as distinct from the versatility, of this truly great singer. Given his extended EMI discography it is a poor effort. My frustration extends to the leaflet. Trying to read black or orange print on a mottled dark blue background is a trial; the brief notes and track details might as well be in ‘double-Dutch’.

Robert J. Farr



Gerard Hoffnung CDs

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Nimbus
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Sheva
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