Aureole etc.

Golden Age singers

Nimbus on-line

Faure songs
Charlotte de Rothschild (soprano);

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett


Crotchet   AmazonUK   AmazonUS

The Pearl Fishers and other famous operatic duets
Georges BIZET (1838-1870)

Les Pecheurs de perles, ‘Au fond du temple saint’ (Janez Lotric (ten), Igor Morozov (bar)
Léo DELIBES (1836-1891)

Lakme, ‘Dome épais, le jasmin’ Adrianna Kohútková (sop), Denisa Slepkovska (m.sop)
Giacomo PUCCINI (1858-1924)

La Bohème, ‘Mimi!…Speravo di trovarti qui’ Luba Orgonasova (sop), Jonathan Welch (ten)
La Bohème, ‘In un coupé’ Jonathan Welch (ten), Fabio Previati (bar)
La Bohème, ‘O soave fanciulla’ Luba Orgonasova (sop), Jonathan Welch (ten)

Madama Butterfly ‘Viene la serra’ (abbreviated love duet). Miriam Gauci (sop), Yordi Ramiro (ten)
Manon Lescaut, ‘O saró la piú bella’ Miriam Gauci (sop), Kaludi Kaludov (ten)
Tosca, ‘Mario…Son qui’ Nelly Miricioiu (sop), Giorgio Lamberti (ten)
Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901)

Don Carlo, ‘E lui…Dio che nell’alma infondere’ Giacomo Aragall (ten), Eduard Tumagian (bar)
La forza del destino, ‘olenne in quest’ora’ Giacomo Aragall (ten), Eduard Tumagian (bar)
Otello, ‘Era la notte… Sí, pel ciel marmareo’ Janez Lotric (ten), Igor Morozov (bar)
Gaetano DONIZETTI (1797-1868)

L’Elisir d’amore, ‘La donna é un animale…Venti scudi!’ Giacomo Aragall (ten), Eduard Tumagian (bar)
Gioachino ROSSINI (1792-1868)

Il barbiere di Siviglia, ‘All’idea di quell metallo’ Ramon Vargas (ten), Roberto Servile (bar)
Various orchestras and conductors. No recording dates given
Bargain Price
NAXOS 8.555797 [77.59]


I don’t know whether to call this collection, which derives from previous Naxos issues of complete operas and duets, a pot-pourri, a mélange or a trifle! Not a trifle in the sense of something of trite value. All the music here is among the finest composed and some of the performances are of merit, but this is, so to speak, an edible trifle where one has to penetrate tasteless custard and jelly before reaching the fruit, and hopefully the sherry. Given the singing of the tenor it is an insult to one of the most popular duets in all opera to give this collection the title it has. In THE famous recording of the work we all know and love, Björling isn’t perfect in respect of the French language and style, but he sings with beautiful plangent tone and elegant phrasing, skills that are beyond Janez Lotric’s throaty emission (tr.1). Disgusted, I tried the same duo in the duet from Verdi’s Otello (tr.14) and found the tenor’s voice more suited to the declamatory style. In both duets the baritone, Morozov, fields good tone and a reasonable sense of style.

Tenors are so often the ‘bodies in the woodpile’ in recordings, and this issue fields no fewer than six. Jonathan Welch, in the duets taken from the complete Naxos Bohème, is smooth but it is the soprano Luba Orgonasova who is the star (trs. 2 and 8). Yordi Ramiro is adequate in the Traviata and Butterfly love duets (trs. 4 and 6), whilst the more recognized name of ‘Jamie’ Aragall, often Decca’s fall back tenor, provides a very mixed experience with reedy heavy tone in Donizetti (tr. 7), strain in Verdi’s ‘Solenne in quest’ora’ (tr. 10), and only giving a glimpse of his known better self in the duet from Don Carlo (tr.12). In each case the baritone, Tumagian, is superior in tone and phrasing. Perhaps the best tenor singing on the disc, and with the duet from Lakmé (tr.3), one of the most enjoyable performances, comes from Ramon Vargas in the duet ‘All’idea di quell metallo’ from Rossini’s Barber (tr.13). Of course his quality has been recognized and he has gone on to great things being much in demand by the world’s great opera houses. Naxos picked a winner there and if this disc is meant to be a sampler then that is an issue to go out and buy; the complete opera recording from which the duet is taken has been widely and justifiably praised.

Good notes on each duet are given, as are full texts and English translations. I was not enamoured ofy the premature phasing out of the Tosca duet (tr.9) or the abbreviation of the Butterfly love duet (tr. 6), whilst the L’Elisir d’Amore (tr.7) is listed as ‘Venti scudi’ the extract starts well before; the printed libretto, page 17, is correct. The sound on all the tracks is good and although individual recording dates are not given the disc is denoted DDD.

Comparatively priced duet CDs with more starry names are available. However, their booklet presentation is often very poor. If you want starry names and the standard of booklet presentation and information accompanying this disc, you will pay twice or three times as much. Despite the criticisms this disc has many moments of enjoyment.

Robert J Farr

see also review by Paul Shoemaker


Return to Index

Untitled Document

Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.