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

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    Senior Member Itullian's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Bellini on cd.......................

    A thread for all things Bellini on cd.
    To start with...............

    What are your favorite Belllini operas on cd?
    The last one I listened to was Il Pirata with Caballe and Marti.
    This is a very good opera that every Bellini lover should here.
    When all else fails, listen to Thick as a Brick.

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    I just love this CD (as well as Beatrice itself).

    Joan Sutherland is a great Beatrice, already experienced in the role. The young Pavarotti sings beautifully as Orombello, and the underrated Veasey give us a sensual Agnese, we can easily understand the desire that is consuming Filippo. Granted, Mr. Opthof is not precisely the best of Filippos.... but nobody's perfect. On the pit, a nice orchestra conducted by Richard Bonynge.
    Last edited by schigolch; Sep-05-2013 at 11:08.

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    Senior Member sospiro's Avatar
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    I Puritani is my favourite. One of the reasons I love it so much is that the main bass role, Sir Giorgio Valton, is benevolent character & he gets to sing a lovely aria.



    I like both of these & can't choose between them.

    Ann

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    Senior Member DarkAngel's Avatar
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    There was a pretty good Bellini soprano from the 1950s, the name escapes me.......





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    Senior Member sospiro's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DarkAngel View Post
    There was a pretty good Bellini soprano from the 1950s, the name escapes me......
    Errm ... errm .... nope. Can't think who that might be.
    Ann

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    Senior Member DarkAngel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by schigolch View Post



    I just love this CD (as well as Beatrice itself).

    Joan Sutherland is a great Beatrice, already experienced in the role. The young Pavarotti sings beautifully as Orombello, and the underrated Veasey give us a sensual Agnese, we can easily understand the desire that is consuming Filippo. Granted, Mr. Opthof is not precisely the best of Filippos.... but nobody's perfect. On the pit, a nice orchestra conducted by Richard Bonynge.
    Yeah that is really good Bellini set, 1960s Sutherland was still great vocally and young Pavarotti's golden tone tenor make this must have set.

    Besides Callas/Bellini these two are very good for me, early Caballe was more dramatic singer with very strong male cast

    Last edited by DarkAngel; Sep-07-2013 at 16:34.

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    Senior Member Itullian's Avatar
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    I like the Sills/Gedda I Capuleti myself as I am a fan of both those singers.
    When all else fails, listen to Thick as a Brick.

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    Senior Member Fritz Kobus's Avatar
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    My absolute favorite Capuleti:
    "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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    Senior Member Fritz Kobus's Avatar
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    "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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    Senior Member Fritz Kobus's Avatar
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    And this is my favorite Sutherland Sonnambula. Two CDs, Italian/English libretto and a booklet on the history of Sonnambula at the MET all packaged in an LP sized slipcase box.
    Last edited by Fritz Kobus; Aug-22-2018 at 06:02.
    "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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    Poor Bellini, quite often overlooked in favour of Rossini and Donizetti (not to mention other opera composers).


    I love Bellini including the rarities and Opera Rara fairly recently brought out an excellent recording of his first opera. This was a conservatory student exercise and features dialogue and a comic character who speaks and sings in Neapolitan. Bellini later revised the opera with recits and a complete Italian text and changed some of the numbers. I prefer his first thoughts overall, however Opera Rara's set includes the variants in an appendix. There is another recording of the second version of the opera, but Opera Rara's recording has eliminated the need for that one.

    Adelson.jpg

    N.

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    Bellini's second opera Bianca e Fernando also comes in two versions as Bellini revised it for later performances. The first version had to be renamed Bianca e Gernando as Ferdinando and variants of that name were not allowed as it was of the heir to the throne of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies.

    The only recording of this first version came out on Naxos a year or so ago:

    Bianca.jpg

    I prefer the revised version, but alas there is no good recording of it, the one I have is the following:

    B&F.jpg

    This would be the perfect project for Opera Rara. A decent recording of Bianca and Fernando in the second, revised version with the variants from the first version in an appendix as they have done for Adelson.

    N.

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    After his two first forays into opera Bellini produced his first masterpiece, Il Pirata. In the early nineteenth century it was the tenor title role that the opera revolved around as it had been written for the superstar Giovanni Rubini. Nowadays it is viewed as a soprano vehicle and most of the available recordings are built around the diva playing Imogene. Unfortunately the shortcoming of the main available recordings is the tenor and in some cases the soprano's performance is the only thing to recommend the recording. That's pretty much the case with Callas' live recording, now in (relatively) good sound on a number of labels. The rest of the cast are below par, although Rescigno offers an exciting and sensitive reading of the score. Callas' take on this 'woman who has suffered a great deal' is essential listening for anyone interested in Bellini. This is no pretty warbling and crooning. The tragedy of Imogene's fate is demonstrated by the usual emotional colouring of the voice that Callas managed to achieve when at her best.
    Callas pirata.jpg

    The downsides to the Callas recording (rest of the cast, 50s live sound and cuts galore) are almost made up for in the first studio recording which centres on Caballe as the heroine. This is a great recording and Caballe doesn't disappoint. She may not have the spellbinding intensity of Callas, but she bites into the text and uses the music to dramatic effect. Unfortunately her tenor husband, Marti has a weak voice that is overstretched as Gualtiero. However, this is a complement to the Callas recording and overall is the best of the studio recordings.
    Caballe pirata.jpg

    I thought the Caballe recording was complete, but it would seem that Opera Rara have found more music for their version. (I believe this only relates to the ending of Imogene's aria and involves a fairly short orchestral passage between the two verses of her cabaletta - so not exactly life changing.) Carmen Giannatasio makes a confident Imogene and the conducting is lively. I didn't like the tenor (who is Jose Bros) as he is too light for the role (if only we had a recording from La Scala with Corelli, Callas and Bastianini!) This opera seems cursed by tenor casting on recordings! I can get by with just the Callas and Caballe recordings, but the Opera Rara set may interest those who prefer Bros over Marti or really must have the score as complete as possible.
    Rara pirata.jpg

    N.
    Last edited by The Conte; Sep-08-2018 at 16:30.

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    Bellini's fourth opera is La Straniera, another underperformed rarity. There are a few live recordings in varying sound, but only one studio recording. Of the live recordings the ones that stand out are one with Caballe and two with Scotto. The Caballe is the best of these three and the most appealing performance of the heroine on disc. Unfortunately it's in mediocre sound with much distortion and the performance overall is cut and somewhat shoddily conducted. It's most recently been released on Gala:

    La Straniera - Caballe.jpg

    The other main live recording features Lucia Aliberti. This is in much better sound than the Caballe and Scotto versions and includes much more of the score, but is a lukewarm performance from all concerned and as it is a live recording the sound still isn't up to late 20th century studio sound. The most recent live recording features Edita Gruberova as the heroine and finally we get fully decent, up to date sound that you would expect from a modern live recording. Unfortunately Gruberova isn't up to date and this recording was possibly made 25 years too late.

    Fans of Scotto, Caballe, Aliberti or Gruberova will want the version with their diva, however the most satisfactory recording is the Opera Rara release (which is currently out of the catalogue, but may well be reissued under the Warner - Opera Rara partnership). Adelaide is Patrizia Ciofi and she is possibly the least expressive of the sopranos on disc in this role. She is the most immaculate from a technical point of view, though and has a remarkable feeling for the line of this music. This is her best recording I've heard by far. The rest of the cast is equally fine and more than capable of performing this music. The best thing, though, about this recording is the lively and dynamic conducting by David Parry. This is the one to get.

    La Straniera - OR.jpg

    N.
    Last edited by The Conte; Sep-15-2018 at 21:40.

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    I saw La Straniera in a concert performance at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam a year or two ago. The lead was sung by Annick Massis, and she was absolutely gorgeous. The opera as a whole didn't quite impress me though.

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