Not an opera as such
Meyerbeer [Jakob Liebmann Beer] - Grand Opera - Diana Damrau (sp)
Tracklisting: (copied and pasted from JPC)
Diana Damrau: Le Prophète, Act 1: "Mon coeur s'élance et palpite" (Berthe)
2Hörprobe Track 2: Robert le Diable, Act 4: "Robert, toi que j'aime" (Isabelle, Robert)Diana Damrau: Robert le Diable, Act 4: "Robert, toi que j'aime" (Isabelle, Robert)
3Hörprobe Track 3: Alimelek, oder die beiden Kalifen, Act 1: "Nur in der Dämm'rung Stille" (Irene)Diana Damrau: Alimelek, oder die beiden Kalifen, Act 1: "Nur in der Dämm'rung Stille" (Irene)
4Hörprobe Track 4: L'Étoile du Nord, Act 3: "Ah, mon Dieu !... C'est bien l'air que chaque matin" (Catherine, Chorus)Diana Damrau: L'Étoile du Nord, Act 3: "Ah, mon Dieu !... C'est bien l'air que chaque matin" (Catherine, Chorus)
6Hörprobe Track 6: Il Crociato in Egitto, Act 2: "D'una madre disperata... Con qual gioia" (Palmide, Aladino, Chorus)Diana Damrau: Il Crociato in Egitto, Act 2: "D'una madre disperata... Con qual gioia" (Palmide, Aladino, Chorus)
7Hörprobe Track 7: Le Pardon de Ploërmel, Act 2: "Comme cette nuit est lente à se dissiper !... Ombre légère" (Dinorah)Diana Damrau: Le Pardon de Ploërmel, Act 2: "Comme cette nuit est lente à se dissiper !... Ombre légère" (Dinorah)
8Hörprobe Track 8: Ein Feldlager in Schlesien, Act 3 : "Oh Schwester, find' ich dich!... Lebe wohl, geliebte Schwester" (Therese, Vielka)Diana Damrau: Ein Feldlager in Schlesien, Act 3 : "Oh Schwester, find' ich dich!... Lebe wohl, geliebte Schwester" (Therese, Vielka)
9Hörprobe Track 9: Emma di Resburgo, Act 1: "Sulla rupe triste, sola... Ah questo bacio " (Emma, Chorus)Diana Damrau: Emma di Resburgo, Act 1: "Sulla rupe triste, sola... Ah questo bacio " (Emma, Chorus)
10Hörprobe Track 10: Les Huguenots, Act 2: "# beau pays de la Touraine" (Marguerite, Urbain, Coryphée, Dame d'honneur, Chorus)Diana Damrau: Les Huguenots, Act 2: "# beau pays de la Touraine" (Marguerite, Urbain, Coryphée, Dame d'honneur, Chorus)
I first fell in love with Tchaikovsky's wonderful Eugene Onegin when I was still a teenager. My father got us tickets to see the opera in Glyndebourne's Touring production at the Newcastle-upon-Tyne. We none of usknew a note of the music and my father bought, in preparation, the old Oscar Danon recording on Decca Ace of Clubs, which was the only one available at the time. It's not a great performance and the recording did little to excite my interest, but the Glyndebourne performance certainly did.
Some years later I caught Andrei Serban's superb production for Welsh National Opera when it toured to Southampton, where I was rehearsing for a Christmas show at the Nuffield Theatre. That too was a memorable evening in the theatre.
Listening to this mavellous 1955 set again has renewed my love of the opera and my respect for Tchaikovsky's masterpiece, which I truly believe to be one of the greatest operas in the repertory. For a start, it is perfectly cast with the young Vishneskaya in one of her very best recorded performances. In fact there isn't a weak link. Lemshev, at 54, was probably a mite too old for Lensky, but he certainly doesn't sound like an old man. His Lensky is a poet through and through and is all the more effective for not overdoing the histrionics as some do. Petrov sings Gremin's aria with grave beauty and Belov, suitably distant and sardonic in the opening scenes, is convincingly and passionately desperate in the last. Over all very Khaikin presides, his understanding and control of the score absolutely spot on. This is as much his recording as the famous 1953 Tosca is De Sabata's. The sound is very acceptable mono.
There have been quite a few good recordings since this one, most of them in stereo, but I wouldn't prefer any of them.
An excellent performance of an opera that rarely gets an airing in the West (I remember the ENO doing it once some years ago). I don't think it's on the same level as either Eugene Onegin or Queen of Spades but it's interesting to hear one of Tchaikovsky's other operas occasionally.
Björling has never been my favourite tenor and I’m not so fond of his voice beyond around 1950, but here he is brilliant, it’s almost worth it for the beauty of his ‘Ah, si, ben mio’ alone. Yes, his voice is too light for the role, but when it’s sung like this, which such fine, projected tone, who cares? The sound isn’t good, but it’s listenable for anyone accustomed to historical recordings.
Gui leads a very dramatic performance, maybe too dramatic for some, but I love it. Cigna is not the most subtle Leonora but she is compelling and her coloratura really isn’t that bad. Wettergren, the mezzo, was a name I hadn’t heard before but she appears to have had a fine career, singing at The Met amongst other places. She is very good, again, more compelling than anything, a big strong voice and a great feeling of character. Basiola almost steals the show, a really excellent baritone and him and Gui seem to really connect here. I just wish the sound was a little better, but even so, this is probably my favourite recording of this opera, especially if I want a little extra drama.
The rather tacky cover and title does not reflect the quality of this disc, which includes quite a few arias from little known Tchaikovsky operas. Documentation is also a bit shoddy and I can't see anyhwere in the notes which arias are allocated to the various singers, easy enough to work out with the two men, as one is a baritone the other a tenor, but not so simple with the two sopranos. Fortunatey I managed to find a Gramophone review, which says who sings what.
Both sopranos are good, but Galante is particularly fine in Tatyana's Letter Scene which is also the most popular item on the disc. The tenor is a bit effortful, but the other singers are all excellent and this is a very worthwhile collection.