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Jerry Hadley, tenor; Thomas Hampson, baritone: Operatic Duets
Giacomo PUCCINI (1858 - 1924)

La Bohème: "O Mimì tu più non torni (1895) [4.37]
Gaetano DONIZETTI (1797 - 1848)

Belisario: "Liberi siete, addio" (1836) [7.43]
LíElisir díamore: "Venti scudi" (1832) [9.18]
Lucia di Lammermoor: "Orrida è questa notte" (1842) [11.20]
Giuseppe VERDI (1818 - 1901)

Les Vêpres Siciliennes: "Quel est ton nom? Henri" (1854) [7.35]
Don Carlos: "Le voila! Cíest líenfant!" (1867) [10.29]
Georges BIZET (1838 - 1875)

Les Pêcheurs de perles: "Au fond du temple saint" (1863) [7.34]
Giacomo MEYERBEER (1791 - 1864)

Dinorah: "Quand líheure sonnera" (1859) [7.27]
Johann STRAUSS II (1825 - 1899)

Die Fledermaus: "Komm mit mir zun Souper" (1874) [3.38]
Jerry Hadley, tenor; Thomas Hampson, baritone.
Orchestra of the Welsh National Opera/Carlo Rizzi
Recorded at Brangwyn Hall, Swansea, UK, August 1992
Notes in English, Français, Deutsch. Original texts and translations into English.
WARNER ELATUS 2564 61362-2 [70.51]

When I was in my teens in the early 1950s, having had my own experiences with screaming women, I thought I hated opera. I had been not merely bored but even a little frightened by some of those "vocal collectors" whose only interest in music is the same dozen arias sung over and over by everybody; most of them dead Italians, of course. With the discovery of Boris Godunov and Yevgeny Onyegin ó that is, opera with men in it ó I found that opera could be interesting after all and eventually I came eventually to appreciate it all.

And here we have a rich banquet of male vocal music, some of it supreme, all of it greatly interesting. The Bizet work I have seen on stage and own every commercial recording, and the grand duet has never sounded better. Some of the others I know from videos. Iíve never before heard a note of Verdiís Vêpres Siciliennes or Don Carlos, or anything by Meyerbeer, and that is a great shame, because opera must be appreciated as a whole, not merely all the music and all the words from beginning to end, but also the staging and the costumes.

The performers are fully in character for these performances. Although no chorus or other soloists are included, the whole scene is presented including orchestral introductions and conclusions, i.e., these are not "concert versions" but the complete original.

Jerry Hadley has a beautiful, controlled, lyrical dramatic tenor voice. Thomas Hampson has made a fine reputation in opera and song for his rich baritone voice, wide musical interests, his musical intelligence and dramatic sense. Together these artists form an unbeatable team, and the chemistry between them in these scenes is electrifying, most especially in the music from Don Carlos and Vêpres Siciliennes. Is it that French is the most intense operatic language? Or just that these artists can make it sound so? I even enjoyed the Bohème duet, clearly and brightly sung here with no trace of howling or wailing. The Meyerbeer Dinorah scene especially left me with a desire to hear more from this composer. The orchestra, conductor, and recordists give complete support and the result is a very exciting recital.

Paul Shoemaker

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