- Shopping Bag ( 0 items )
Posted October 1, 2010
OK, first the pros. The music is pretty fantastic -- at least, if you're a lover of Prokofiev, as I am. No complaints there! The recordings and interpretations by Valery Gergiev and the Kirov Opera & Orchestra of the Mariinsky Theatre is top-notch. Gergiev is one of my favorite interpreters of Prokofiev. And the value -- 14 CDs featuring six operas, with several of the recordings otherwise out of print -- is pretty extraordinary when you think about it.
Now the cons. You know how the package looks like a crate? Well, that's basically what it is. Only it's coated cardboard, and not particularly sturdy at that. Mine came with unavoidable-looking bends and wrinkles. Inside the box? 14 white paper sleeves to hold the discs, which are unceremoniously stacked together in a pile. Kind of disappointing. (Couldn't they have at least color coded them by opera?) There's a thin plastic "window" in the front of each sleeve so you can see which disc is which. There's also a booklet inside that includes a quick two paragraphs of liner notes on each opera, written by Andrew Huth, alongside the usual recording credits and track listings.
Notice anything missing? NO LIBRETTI! (Or librettos, if you prefer.) This is kind of a big deal for me. Not that I regret buying the set -- at the price I got it, it was absolutely worth it. But you know what would have been nice? A link in the package to a webpage on Decca's site where you could download PDFs (perhaps with a special download code contained in the package, if they were worried about security). Instead, I'm scrambling now to find alternative sources for the libretti in English, so that I can follow along as I listen. I guess that's the peril of buying a "specially priced" set.
In sum: outstanding music and performances, and good value for the money (IMO) ... but you also get what you pay for! Knowing what I know now, I'd have still bought this set -- but the barely-there packaging and lack of libretti would have definitely given me pause.