Aureole etc.




Golden Age singers

Nimbus on-line




Faure songs
Charlotte de Rothschild (soprano);

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett


O MIO BABBINO CARO
Famous Soprano Arias from Italian Opera

PUCCINI Gianni Schicchi – o mio babbino caro Miriam Gauci / BTR Philharmonic Orchestra/ Alexander Rahbari
BELLINI I Puritani Qui la voce sua soave Luba Orgonasova / Czecho-Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra / Will Humburg
PUCCINI La Bohème – Sì, mi chiamano Mimi Luba Orgonasova / Czecho-Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra / Will Humburg
PUCCINI La Bohème – quando m’en vo’ Luba Orgonasova / Czecho-Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra / Will Humburg
CATALANI La Wally – Ebben? N’andrò lontana Miriam Gauci / BTR Philharmonic Orchestra/ Alexander Rahbari
PUCCINI Madama Butterfly – Un bel dì, vendremo Miriam Gauci / Czecho-Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra / Alexander Rahbari
VERDI Rigoletto – Caro nome Alida Ferrarini / Czecho-Slovak RadioSymphony Orchestra / Alexander Rahbari
GIORDANO Andrea Chénier - La Mamma morta Lila Larinová / Slovak RSO / Johannes Wildner
PUCCINI Tosca – Vissi d’arte, vissi d’amore Nelly Miricioiu / Czecho–Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra / Alexander Rahbari
VERDI La Traviata – Ah fors’ è lui Monika Kraus / Czecho – Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra / Alexander Rahbari
VERDI La Traviata – sempre libera Monika Kraus / Czecho – Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra / Alexander Rahbari
PUCCINI La Rondine – Ch’il bel sogno di Doretta Luba Orgonasova / Czecho-Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra / Will Humburg
ROSSINI Il barbiere di Siviglia – Una voce poco fa Ewa Podles / Hungarian State Opera Orchestra – Pier Morandi
PUCCINI Manon Lescaut – In quelle trine morbide Miriam Gauci La Bohème / BTR Philharmonic Orchestra/ Alexander Rahbari
PUCCINI Turandot – Signore, ascolta Luba Orgonasova / Czecho-Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra / Will Humburg
VERDI Il Trovatore – D’amor sull’ali rosee vanne Daniela Longhi / Hungarian State Opera/ Will Humburg
VERDI La forza del destino –Pace, pace / Miriam Gauci / Czecho-Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra / Alexander Rahbari
MASCAGNI Cavalleria rusticana – Vol lo sapete, o mamma Stefka Evstatieva / Czecho-Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra / Alexander Rahbari
(rec 1990-1999)
NAXOS 8.555796 [75:18]

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This is not the first time that Puccini’s aria O mio babbino caro from the short opera Gianni Schicchi has been used to sell a disc. It was the film "Room with a View" that put it into the pop classic charts. Now it is, among the public at large, possibly the most well known aria on the disc, whereas before the film it would certainly not have been. It was used, I remember, to boost the sales of a Montserrat Caballé compilation a few years ago. Conducted by Charles Mackerras it was a slow, sentimental and rubato–ridden - a rendering that sounded tailor-made for the pop classic "relaxation" market.

This disc, featuring nine sopranos, may not include a voice quite in the class of Montserrat Caballee at her best but it does have its merits. One of them is that the different singers provide for variety, although the majority of the numbers are taken by Miriam Gauci and Luba Orgonasova and both make distinguished contributions. O mio babbino caro is beautifully sung by Gauci and is taken from a previous Naxos Italian soprano aria disc which she has to herself. She has recorded a complete La Bohème for another label and her Mimi was much admired, but on this disc Mimi’s famous Si, mi chiamano Mimi is taken by Orgonasova who also sings Musetta in the other extract from the opera, quando m’en vo (calling this a soprano aria is pushing it a bit. It is a substantial ensemble number and the six other singers are not credited here). Both numbers are taken from a Naxos La Bohème highlights disc. All the other items are also recycled from various Naxos compilations.

The other sopranos perform well although there is the odd case of the wincing top note not quite hitting the pitch (could happen to anyone though), vibrato that some may find excessive, and in one case, some odd sounding Italian. Accompaniment is mostly provided by east European orchestras, the exception being the Belgian RT Philharmonic. I did find the Gauci / BRTPO/ Rahbari combination the most compelling. It is the same that recorded Gauci’s complete La Bohème. You will see from the performance details above that many of the singers, orchestras and conductors are interchangeable in an incestuous set up that means that they must be used to working together, and this shows.

The selected numbers represent the sort of thing you would expect from this kind of disc with some of the usual old favourites. Three quarters of the offering is Verdi and Puccini which seems a touch excessive. Why only one Rossini?.

A refreshing aspect of this presentation is that it gets away from the "great sopranos of the world" kind of packaging, allowing us to hear some fresh voices that will be unfamiliar to many people. It is the sort of thing Naxos can do so well.

This is an enjoyable, excellent value disc that for some will be just the job for the car (if you’ve got the equipment). Such practice should carry a warning though – some performances are powerful enough to interfere with your driving.


John Leeman


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