The Perfect Opera

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - David Kasunic
For most opera fans, a gala evening featuring the performers and arias heard here would indeed be the perfect opera. Drawing heavily on the Italian repertory, this compilation features ten different singers but is dominated by four especially glorious voices: the elegant Nicolai Gedda, the thrilling Franco Corelli, the irreproachably musical Mirella Freni, and the electric Maria Callas. Gedda's tenor produces delectable dynamic shadings that elude the vast majority of singers in his league. His performance of the Duke's ruthless "La donna è mobile" is so sweetly sung that the character's malice redoubles. Corelli's unbridled sound is perfectly suited to the heroic ...
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - David Kasunic
For most opera fans, a gala evening featuring the performers and arias heard here would indeed be the perfect opera. Drawing heavily on the Italian repertory, this compilation features ten different singers but is dominated by four especially glorious voices: the elegant Nicolai Gedda, the thrilling Franco Corelli, the irreproachably musical Mirella Freni, and the electric Maria Callas. Gedda's tenor produces delectable dynamic shadings that elude the vast majority of singers in his league. His performance of the Duke's ruthless "La donna è mobile" is so sweetly sung that the character's malice redoubles. Corelli's unbridled sound is perfectly suited to the heroic tenor roles excerpted here, especially his emotionally no-holds-barred account of "Vesti la giubba." Freni enjoys one of the most complete talents in the history of opera. Remarkably, she never disappoints -- neither in her musicianship, her dramatic interpretation, nor her vocal technique. Her performance of Cilea's "Ecco: respiro appena" is a marvelous case in point. And then there is the divine Callas, who somehow manages to surprise you no matter how often you listen to her. Her monumental portrayal of Bellini's Norma is captured here with the vocal high point of the opera, the rapturous aria "Casta diva." The Perfect Opera is rounded out by other performances of extraordinary note: Fritz Wunderlich's heartbreaking "Ombra mai fu," Tito Gobbi's matchless "Largo al factotum," and Victoria de los Angeles's simply beautiful "Ebben? Ne andrò lontana." A wonderful recording for newcomers and opera devotees alike.
All Music Guide - Allen Schrott
The Perfect Opera does not live up to its name what could?, but it contains a surprisingly rich and offbeat selection of performances. How often does an aria sampler include Maria Callas singing "Carmen," Fritz Wunderlich singing Handel, and singers, such as Fiorenza Cossotto and Pier Miranda Ferraro, whose names do not often appear on these types of collections? Franco Corelli's classic renditions of "Vesti la giubba" "I Pagliacci", and "Come un bel di di maggio" "Andrea Chenier", although recorded in the mid-1960s, are still among the best you'll hear. Nicolai Gedda's "Una furtiva lagrima" "The Elixir of Love" and "La donna è mobile" "Rigoletto" -- elegant and understated -- showcase his sense of line and color, and serve as the perfect foil for Corelli's Italianate swagger. José Carreras' "Vainement, ma bien aimée" from Lalo's seldom-heard "Le Roi d'Ys" makes for a welcome inclusion. Carreras' French is not the greatest, but it is a charming tune that deserves to be heard more. Victoria de Los Angeles and Mirella Freni are captured here at their best -- de Los Angeles in "Ebben? Ne andró lontana" "La Wally", and Freni in "Depuis le jour" "Louise" and "Ecco, respiro appena" "Adriana Lecouvreur." These are two of the most versatile sopranos ever to record, and their inclusion makes this collection immediately stronger. Maria Callas' "Casta Diva" "Norma" is bel canto at its finest; her sense of style is unbeatable. Problems with this issue include the omission of any meaningful notes or translations, and some unforgivable misspelling ever heard of "Carmen"'s "Harbanera"?; however, those who bother to look beyond the cover will be rewarded with an unusually rich slice of opera's recorded history.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 9/12/2000
  • Label: Angel Records
  • UPC: 724356743823
  • Catalog Number: 67438
  • Sales rank: 295,177

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Rigoletto, opera: Prelude - Giuseppe Verdi & Gordon H. Jee (2:36)
  2. 2 Rigoletto, opera: La donna è mobile - Giuseppe Verdi & Nicolai Gedda (2:22)
  3. 3 Il barbiere di Siviglia (The Barber of Seville), opera: Largo al factotum - Gioachino Rossini & Tito Gobbi (4:48)
  4. 4 Carmen, opéra-comique in 4 acts: Harbanera - Georges Bizet & Maria Callas (4:25)
  5. 5 L'Elisir d'amore, opera: Una furtiva lagrima - Gaetano Donizetti & Nicolai Gedda (4:55)
  6. 6 La Wally, opera (dramma musicale) in 4 acts: Ebben? Ne andrò lontana - Alfredo Catalani & Gordon H. Jee (3:43)
  7. 7 Norma, opera: Casta diva - Maria Callas & Vicenzo Bellini (5:47)
  8. 8 La Gioconda, opera in 4 acts: Cielo e mar - Amilcare Ponchielli & Pier Miranda Ferraro (4:39)
  9. 9 Pagliacci, opera: Vesti la giubba - Franco Corelli & Ruggero Leoncavallo (3:43)
  10. 10 Cavalleria rusticana, opera (melodramma) in 1 act: Intermezzo - Pietro Mascagni & Gordon H. Jee (3:19)
  11. 11 Mefistofele, opera in prologue, 4 acts & epilogue: Dai campi, dai prati - Plácido Domingo & Arrigo Boito (2:27)
  12. 12 Serse (Xerxes), opera, HWV 40: Ombra mai fu - George Frideric Handel & Gordon H. Jee (3:06)
  13. 13 Le nozze di Figaro (The Marriage of Figaro), opera, K. 492: Voi che sapete - Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart & Fiorenza Cossotto (2:58)
  14. 14 Adriana Lecouvreur, opera: Ecco: respiro appena... - Mirella Freni & Francesco Cilèa (3:34)
  15. 15 Le Roi d'Ys, opera in 3 acts: Puisqu'on ne peut fléchir... - Edouard Lalo & José Carreras (3:46)
  16. 16 Samson et Dalila, opera in 3 acts, Op. 47: Mon coeur s'ouvre... - Camille Saint-Saëns & Gordon H. Jee (5:48)
  17. 17 Andrea Chénier, opera: Come un bel dì di maggio - Franco Corelli & Umberto Giordano (3:28)
  18. 18 Louise, opera: Depuis le jour - Gustave Charpentier & Mirella Freni (5:58)
  19. 19 Turandot, opera: Nessun dorma/Finale - Franco Corelli & Giacomo Puccini (3:30)
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