Aureole etc.




Nimbus on-line




If it’s the Czech works you’re after, do not hesitate

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett


Some items
to consider

 


Enjoy the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra wherever you are. App available for iOS and Android


Mahler symphony 6 Nott


Vaughan Williams Symphony 3 etc.


Lyrita New Recording


Lyrita Premiere Recordings

Lyrita 4CDs £16 incl.postage

Lyrita 4CDs £16 incl.postage


Decca Phase 4 - 40CDs


Judith Bailey, George Lloyd


BAX Orchestral pieces


CASKEN Violin Concerto

Schumann Symphonies Rattle


Complete Brahms
Bargain price

 

 

 

 

REVIEW



Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on
Musicweb


Donate and get a free CD

New Releases

Naxos Classical

Hyperion

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
Alto
Arcodiva
Atoll
CDAccord
Cameo Classics
Centaur
Hallé
Hortus
Lyrita
Nimbus
Northern Flowers
Redcliffe
Sheva
Talent
Toccata Classics


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing
sample
 

alternatively
CD: MDT AmazonUK AmazonUS
Sound Samples & Downloads

Bellissimo - French Opera
Contents list at end of review
DYNAMIC CDS719 [68:59]

Experience Classicsonline

Like its predecessor with Italian opera excerpts this is a rather mixed bag vocally and also repertoire-wise. It is valuable for the opportunity to hear quite a lot of music from rare operas. Native French speakers are in short supply here, unfortunately, but that’s only to be expected from an Italian label.
 
The opening number is also the earliest recording, from 1983. It finds Montserrat Caballé still near the height of her powers. She sings strongly and with confidence and also enchants with her characteristic fine-spun pianissimo notes. The aria is beautiful. Salieri would have been much better known today if he hadn’t been contemporary with Mozart.
 
The Meyerbeer aria is less obscure, although the complete opera is a relatively rare guest at today’s opera houses. Desirée Rancatore sings sensitively, phrases musically and her pianissimo top notes are almost in the Caballé division, but her singing is seriously marred by an insistent beat on held notes.
 
Gounod’s La Reine de Saba is another rarity. Goldmark’s opera on the same theme is arguably somewhat better known and it has even been bestowed a complete recording. Gounod’s music is always agreeable on the ear and Lee is an attractive lyrical tenor with good legato, though not much variety of vocal colour and nuance and his top notes are pinched.
 
More rarities. From Massenet’s Roma we get the beautiful prelude to act III with flute solo instead of the violin solo in the famous Meditation from Thaïs. The unnamed flautist plays very well and he is also heard in the tenor aria that follows. In the distance we also hear a soprano. Mok has a fine spinto tenor but has a tendency to press a little too much. There is a postlude with luscious string playing.
 
Both ladies in the duet from Chérubin have vibrant voices and when they sing together they tend to jar against each other. A couple of male voices are also heard; not too good, I’m afraid. The opera is a kind of sequel to Le nozze di Figaro. The title role was sung at the premiere by Mary Garden and besides this recording - all the excerpts are culled from Dynamic’s extensive catalogue of complete operas - there was/is a complete studio recording by RCA from 1991 with Frederica von Stade in the title role.
 
Gounod’s Polyeucte is another find that has been dusted off and found interesting. Well, it should be, considering that the libretto was by Barbier and Carré. Yes, you recognize the successful duo who also wrote Faust,Romeo et Juliette,Mignon,andHamlet. On his own Barbier was also responsible forLes Contes d’Hoffmann. Gounod is said to have had a special fondness for Polyeucte but it was among the least successful of his operas. This aria is well worth hearing. It is obviously the end of an act, maybe the end of the opera. There is a baritone also present and the chorus is superb. Aha, Bratislava Chamber Choir! You rarely hear such homogenous sound and such sophisticated phrasing from an opera chorus. The tenor is strong but could have learnt a thing or two about sophistication from the choir.
 
I have heard Ana Maria Sánchez in better shape than here in the aria from Le Roi de Lahore. She is over-vibrant and shrill at the top.
 
The romance from Les Pêcheurs de Perles is a favourite aria and any tenor essaying it comes up against singers like Gigli (my first recording of it), Gedda and Simoneau. Jasu Nakajima’s is a prosaic reading and lacks the lyrical elegance of those mentioned. Annick Massis’s O dieu Bráhma is much better and she tosses off some brilliant top notes.
 
The dramatic scene from Le Roi d’Ys is a fine piece. The singers are hardly in the elite league but the music is definitely worth a listen.
 
The Meditation from Thaîs is just as well known as the Pêcheurs aria. The un-credited violin soloist is so much better than many of the singers on this issue. The strings of the orchestra are also worth standing ovations.
 
The final number on this disc is from Werther, and since this is the Italian version Werther is a baritone. Thus the vocal line is adjusted downwards in several places. The thrill of the original is no doubt diminished, but the singer is quite good and has ringing top notes. He sings at a more or less constant forte though.
 
The quality of the recordings vary, the Polyeucte extract being above average. There are no notes, just a track-list. Montserrat Caballé is the outstanding singer but the collection is worth considering for the many rarities on offer.
 
Göran Forsling 

Contents list

Antonio SALIERI (1750 - 1825)
Les Danaïdes
1. Par les larmes dont votre fille [2:38]
Montserrat Caballé (soprano), Orchestra Sinfonica di Roma della RAI/Gianluigi Gelmetti
Giacomo MEYERBEER (1791 - 1864)
Les Huguenots
2. O beau pays [5:39]
Desirée Rancatore (soprano), Orchestre Internazionale d’Italia/Renato Palumbo
Charles GOUNOD (1818 - 1893)
La Reine de Saba
3. Faiblesse de la race humaine [6:05]
Jean-Won Lee (tenor), Orchestre Internazionale d’Italia/Manlio Benzi
Jules MASSENET (1842 - 1912)
Roma
4. Prelude to Act III [3:51]
5. Je vais la voir ... Soir admirable [4:28]
Warren Mok (tenor), Orchestre Internazionale d’Italia/Marco Guidarini
Chérubin
6. Nina! Chérubin! [9:26]
Carmela Remigio (soprano), Michelle Breedt (mezzo), Orchestra of the Teatro Lirico di Cagliari/Emmanuel Villaume
Charles GOUNOD
Polyeucte
7. Maître suprême [4:42]
Giorgio Casciarri (tenor), Orchestre Internazionale d’Italia, Bratislava Chamber Choir/Manlio Benzi
Jules MASSENET
Le Roi de Lahore
8. J’ai fui la chambre nuptiale [6:42]
Ana Maria Sánchez (soprano), Orchestra of the Teatro La Fenice di Venezia/Marcello Viotti
Georges BIZET (1838 - 1875)
Led Pêcheurs de Perles
9. Je crois entendre encore [5:20]
10. O dieu Bráhma [5:48]
Jasu Nakajima (tenor), Annick Massis (soprano), Orchestra and Chorus of the Teatro La Fenice di Venezia/Marcello Viotti
Edouard LALO (1823 - 1892)
Le Roi d’Ys
11. Je reviendrai bientôt, mon père [4:55]
Guylaine Girard (soprano), Giuseppina Piunti (mezzo), Sébastien Guèze (tenor), Eric Martin-Bonnet (baritone), Orchestra and Chorus of the Opéra Royal de Wallonie/Patrick Davin
Jules MASSENET
Thaïs
12. Meditation [5:57]
Orchestra of the Teatro La Fenice di Venezia/Marcello Viotti
Werther (Italian version)
13. Ah, non mi ridestar [3:27]
Luca Grassi (baritone), Orchestre Internazionale d’Italia/Jean-Luc Tingaud
rec. live, 1983-2008

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


EXPLORE MUSICWEB INTERNATIONAL

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

 

Discographies
   Composer
      Composer surveys
   National
      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

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

Nostalgia

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

Comment
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

Announcements

 

Community
Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Reviewers
Pat and present

Helpers invited!

Resources
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
Publishers
Other links
Newsgroups
Web News sites etc

PotPourri
A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Questionnaire    
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
Dictionary
Magazines
Newsfeed  
Web Ring
Translation Service

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






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.