MusicWeb International One of the most grown-up review sites around 2024
60,000 reviews
... and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here Acte Prealable Polish CDs

Presto Music CD retailer
Founder: Len Mullenger                                    Editor in Chief:John Quinn             


Some items
to consider

new MWI
Current reviews

old MWI
pre-2023 reviews

paid for

Acte Prealable Polish recordings

Forgotten Recordings
Forgotten Recordings
All Forgotten Records Reviews

Troubadisc Weinberg- TROCD01450

All Troubadisc reviews

FOGHORN Classics

Brahms String Quartets

All Foghorn Reviews

All HDTT reviews

Songs to Harp from
the Old and New World

all Nimbus reviews

all tudor reviews

Follow us on Twitter

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Contributing Editor
Ralph Moore
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger

Crotchet   AmazonUK   AmazonUS


Giacomo PUCCINI (1858-1924)
Turandot - Opera in Three Acts )completed by Franco Alfano) (1924) [118:56]
Monserrat CaballÚ (soprano) – Turandot; JosÚ Carreras (tenor) – Calaf; Mirella Freni – Li¨; Michel SÚnÚchal (tenor) – Altoum; Paul Plishka (bass) – Timur; Vicente Sardinero (tenor) – Ping; Remy Corazza (tenor)- Pang; Ricardo Cassinelli (tenor) – Pong; Eduard Tumageanian (bass) – A Mandarin; Alberto Cupido (tenor) – Prince of Persia; Petranka Malakova & Eva Saurova (soprano) – 1st and 2nd voices
Maţtrise de la CathÚdrale; Choeurs de l’OpÚra du Rhin
Orchestre Philharmonique de Strasbourg/Alain Lombard
rec. Palais de la Musique, Strasbourg, August 1977. ADD
Synopsis included but no text or translation
EMI CLASSICS 5091732 [54:34 + 64:22]
Experience Classicsonline

Turandot is one Puccini opera at which many who otherwise enjoy or even idolize Puccini draw the line. The unpleasantness of the two central characters can indeed seem repulsive and the apparent pleasure with which Puccini lingers over the sufferings of the two more sympathetic characters, Li¨ and Timur, can be even more so. The wonderfully deft writing for the trio of Ministers - Ping, Pang and Pong – only brings the faults of the main characters into greater focus.
Or so one may well think when faced with many performances of the work. The casting of the two main female roles in the present recording however might almost be designed to give a very different impression. Monserrat CaballÚ had already recorded the role of Li¨, to the Turandot of Joan Sutherland, when she made the present version. I do not know whether she ever sang Turandot on stage but what we hear in this set suggests that not only did she have the sheer strength of voice needed for the more heavily scored parts of the opera but that she was also capable of singing quietly with great beauty of tone when required. This is much more often than you might think from hearing many sopranos with more obviously large voices. The pleasure that CaballÚ’s beautiful tone and imaginative approach gives is enormous, making the central character more believable if not exactly sympathetic. Mirella Freni sings with equal conviction and beauty of tone as Li¨ whilst revealing that she too is capable of more than a hint of steel when required – less often for this role than for the Princess.
The male roles are not so well cast. JosÚ Carreras sings with strength but his approach to the role is very generalized and there is very little character in his singing. In his favour, he avoids the now customary excessive pause on the penultimate note of “Nessun dorma” but overall I find it hard to warm to his singing of the part. The trio of Ministers is reasonably well matched but by no means outstanding. The parts of Timur and the Emperor Altoum are gifts for singing actors of a certain age and with distinctive voices, but here Paul Plishka and Michel SÚnÚchal sing adequately but without suggesting age or any real involvement in the action. Like all of the cast their task is made no easier by too close a balance. Alain Lombard conducts idiomatically and the orchestra are recorded in a somewhat dry acoustic which very properly recalls the opera house. They and the chorus make a very positive contribution to the result.
For me, the imaginative involvement of the two main female singers would be reason enough in itself to buy the set, given that the rest of the performance is on a decidedly lower level. Be warned however that despite the promise on the box of a full libretto and translation at the EMI website I have been unable to find them there. Can I again plead with EMI either to put them there if they are not there already or to make their location more obvious if they are (still missing when I checked the site on 23 March 2008. Ed.)? Alternatively they should remove this statement from the boxes of this and other operas reissued in this series.
John Sheppard


Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical
All Naxos reviews

Hyperion recordings
All Hyperion reviews

Foghorn recordings
All Foghorn reviews

Troubadisc recordings
All Troubadisc reviews

all Bridge reviews

all cpo reviews

Divine Art recordings
Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10
All Divine Art reviews

All Eloquence reviews

Lyrita recordings
All Lyrita Reviews


Wyastone New Releases
Obtain 10% discount

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing




Making a Donation to MusicWeb

Writing CD reviews for MWI

About MWI
Who we are, where we have come from and how we do it.

Site Map

How to find a review

How to find articles on MusicWeb
Listed in date order

Review Indexes
   By Label
      Select a label and all reviews are listed in Catalogue order
   By Masterwork
            Links from composer names (eg Sibelius) are to resource pages with links to the review indexes for the individual works as well as other resources.

Themed Review pages

Jazz reviews


      Composer surveys
      Unique to MusicWeb -
a comprehensive listing of all LP and CD recordings of given works
Prepared by Michael Herman

The Collector’s Guide to Gramophone Company Record Labels 1898 - 1925
Howard Friedman

Book Reviews

Complete Books
We have a number of out of print complete books on-line

With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site


Nostalgia CD reviews

Records Of The Year
Each reviewer is given the opportunity to select the best of the releases

Monthly Best Buys
Recordings of the Month and Bargains of the Month

Arthur Butterworth Writes

An occasional column

Phil Scowcroft's Garlands
British Light Music articles

Classical blogs
A listing of Classical Music Blogs external to MusicWeb International

Reviewers Logs
What they have been listening to for pleasure



Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Past and present

Helpers invited!

How Did I Miss That?

Currently suspended but there are a lot there with sound clips

Composer Resources

British Composers

British Light Music Composers

Other composers

Film Music (Archive)
Film Music on the Web (Closed in December 2006)

Programme Notes
For concert organizers

External sites
British Music Society
The BBC Proms
Orchestra Sites
Recording Companies & Retailers
Online Music
Agents & Marketing
Other links
Web News sites etc

A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Site History  
What they say about us
What we say about us!
Where to get help on the Internet
CD orders By Special Request
Graphics archive
Currency Converter
Web Ring
Translation Service

Rules for potential reviewers :-)
Do Not Go Here!
April Fools

Return to Review 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.