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Thread: Bellini on cd.......................

  1. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fritz Kobus View Post
    My rankings of La Sonnambula recordings is biased by my unconventional way of ranking which lies more heavily on certain voices and sound quality, which generally leaves Callas out of the top running because of sound quality alone.
    All reviews of opera recordings are biased based on what the listener's priorities are. That's why I try to describe the recordings in an objective way as well as pick favourites. For Sonnambula my priorities are as follows:

    1) Emotional commitment to the role of Amina
    2) Singers in the roles of Elvino and the Conte
    3) Conducting that stops the work from becoming too staid and prosaic, however beautiful the lyrical sweep of the music might be
    4) Singer in the role of Lisa
    5) Sound quality

    So if I put the eight recordings I reviewed in order they come out as:

    Top Tier (In order of preference)
    Callas 1955
    Callas Studio 1957
    Sutherland 1980

    Next Favourite (again in order of preference)
    Callas live versions 1957
    Bartoli
    Pagliughi
    Sutherland 1962

    Lowest Tier
    Dessay

    So we agree that we both don't like the Dessay recording! But then again when you consider that your main criteria is sound quality and it is my least important then we agree on the nature of the recordings even though we have completely different favourites.

    N.

    P.S. I will see if I can listen to the Orgonasova and Gruberova sets.

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  3. #32
    Senior Member Fritz Kobus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Conte View Post
    So we agree that we both don't like the Dessay recording! But then again when you consider that your main criteria is sound quality and it is my least important then we agree on the nature of the recordings even though we have completely different favourites.

    N.

    P.S. I will see if I can listen to the Orgonasova and Gruberova sets.
    I do like a good Elvino and I rather like a Lisa with a not so beautiful voice so it more matches her character.

    Of course my rankings may change some over time, but I do think Orgonasova will remain at the top for Sonnambula, and to a large degree because I see Durlovsky when I listen. There is a characteristic in both their voices that makes the connection for me, and strongly. Others may not see it or have it very strongly.
    "All of Italian opera can be heard in [Bellini's] "Ah! non creda [mirarti]."
    --Renata Scotto in "Scotto, More Than a DIva."

  4. #33
    Senior Member Tsaraslondon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fritz Kobus View Post
    I do like a good Elvino and I rather like a Lisa with a not so beautiful voice so it more matches her character.

    Of course my rankings may change some over time, but I do think Orgonasova will remain at the top for Sonnambula, and to a large degree because I see Durlovsky when I listen. There is a characteristic in both their voices that makes the connection for me, and strongly. Others may not see it or have it very strongly.
    I always see Callas when I listen to her, and yet I never saw her live. It's as if I can see every fleeting change of facial expression.
    Last edited by Tsaraslondon; May-12-2019 at 17:16.
    "It's not enough to have a beautiful voice." Maria Callas

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  6. #34
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    Since I reviewed recordings of La Sonnambula I have listened to the Naxos one:

    Sonnambula.jpg

    This would seem to be a recording from a concert performance as there is clapping at some points and I guess it was a Netherlands radio broadcast. It would seem to come from one live radio concert without patching sessions being recorded as there are a couple of mistakes here and there. The sound is generally good, as are the perfromances. I've always liked Gimenez's pleasant tone and his sings this part well, despite having less character than Pavarotti or Florez and less style than Valletti who would be my three favourite Elvinos. Bel Canto specialist Zedda conducts and shows that he has a fine feeling for this repertoire, he is a touch placid and lacking in drama (this is Sonnambula as concert piece rather than theatre piece). However he brings out the lyrical beauty of Bellini's writing in this his most elegiac work. I would prefer a more dynamic and animated approach, however.

    The bass Francesco Ellero d'Artegna is completely new to me and his Conte Rodolfo is nicely done if perhaps rather blandly. However, it is the soprano that we are mostly interested in in this opera. Orgonasova has the technique to sing the part and her voice is light, yet has enough steel to make her more than a canary imitator. She is quite expressive in her final aria and it's more engaging than we often hear, however she is far less committed in her act one entrance aria where she sounds far less in the role. Overall this feels like a presentation of Bellini's score (and beautifully done) rather than a performance of a piece of music theatre and that would be my main reason for not putting it amongst my favourites. It reminds me in some respects of the Abbado Capuleti where all is perfection and grace, but without excitement or dramatic punch. You can get away with that to a certain degree in Sonnambula, however there should be some atmosphere of a story unfolding before our eyes rather than just a long musical melos.

    N.
    Last edited by The Conte; Jun-04-2019 at 21:41.

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  8. #35
    Senior Member Fritz Kobus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Conte View Post
    Since I reviewed recordings of La Sonnambula I have listened to the Naxos one:

    Sonnambula.jpg

    This would seem to be a recording from a concert performance as there is clapping at some points and I guess it was a Netherlands radio broadcast. It would seem to come from one live radio concert without patching sessions being recorded as there are a couple of mistakes here and there. The sound is generally good, as are the perfromances. I've always liked Gimenez's pleasant tone and his sings this part well, despite having less character than Pavarotti or Florez and less style than Valletti who would be my three favourite Elvinos. Bel Canto specialist Zedda conducts and shows that he has a fine feeling for this repertoire, he is a touch placid and lacking in drama (this is Sonnambula as concert piece rather than theatre piece). However he brings out the lyrical beauty of Bellini's writing in this his most elegiac work. I would prefer a more dynamic and animated approach, however.

    The bass Francesco Ellero d'Artegna is completely new to me and his Conte Rodolfo is nicely done if perhaps rather blandly. However, it is the soprano that we are mostly interested in in this opera. Orgonasova has the technique to sing the part and her voice is light, yet has enough steel to make her more than a canary imitator. She is quite expressive in her final aria and it's more engaging than we often hear, however she is far less committed in her act one entrance aria where she sounds far less in the role. Overall this feels like a presentation of Bellini's score (and beautifully done) rather than a performance of a piece of music theatre and that would be my main reason for not putting it amongst my favourites. It reminds me in some respects of the Abbado Capuleti where all is perfection and grace, but without excitement or dramatic punch. You can get away with that to a certain degree in Sonnambula, however there should be some atmosphere of a story unfolding before our eyes rather than just a long musical melos.

    N.
    Thanks for the review. I know that my preference for this one came on after watching the wonderful Sonnambula DVD with Ana Durlovsky and because Luba's voice reminds me of Anna's regardless how much others may or may not see that. Otherwise, if not for this performance, my favorite Sonnambula would be the one with Gruberova.
    "All of Italian opera can be heard in [Bellini's] "Ah! non creda [mirarti]."
    --Renata Scotto in "Scotto, More Than a DIva."

  9. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fritz Kobus View Post
    Thanks for the review. I know that my preference for this one came on after watching the wonderful Sonnambula DVD with Ana Durlovsky and because Luba's voice reminds me of Anna's regardless how much others may or may not see that. Otherwise, if not for this performance, my favorite Sonnambula would be the one with Gruberova.
    So now I have to track down and review the Gruberova???



    I imagine that Gruberova would be excellent as Amina, however there is strong competition as there are now quite a few sets of the opera (possibly more than any other Bellini opera).

    N.

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    This one is pretty good too:


    FRONT IMAGE

    Bigger BACK IMAGE
    Last edited by Fritz Kobus; Jun-08-2019 at 16:26.
    "All of Italian opera can be heard in [Bellini's] "Ah! non creda [mirarti]."
    --Renata Scotto in "Scotto, More Than a DIva."

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