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A Night at the Opera - The World's Greatest Operas

Release Date: 10/16/2007 
Label:  Bravissimo Opera Library   Catalog #: 9810   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus MozartGiuseppe VerdiGeorges BizetGiacomo Puccini
Performer:  Michel SénéchalZoltan KéléménJane BerbiéElizabeth Harwood,   ... 
Conductor:  Herbert von KarajanNino VerchiClaudio AbbadoSir Georg Solti,   ... 
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna State Opera ChorusVienna Philharmonic OrchestraMilan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra,   ... 
Number of Discs: 14 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

For the most part [Karajan's] tempos are fleet, with recitatives at honest conversational speed. The exceptions are "Porgi amor", luxuriated in by Elizabeth Harwood, who, while not singing it perfectly, manages to end it more beautifully and sadly than I've ever heard, and the Count's aria, delivered with such clarity and calculated hatred by the never-better Tom Krause that it's positively terrifying. (Those who thought that Fischer-Dieskau's was the last word in vitriol should hear this.)

José van Dam's Figaro finds this always interesting singer at his vocal best (rare on discs), and he gives us a complete picture of this complicated man. Susanna is Mirella Freni, simply ideal--pert but not too pert,
Read more knowing, and vocally right on the money. Frederica von Stade rounds out the principals as Cherubino, and she sings with rich, warm tone and fine attention to detail. The rest of the cast is Festival-level: Jane Berbié's Marcellina, Michel Sénéchal's Basilio, and Paolo Montarsolo's Bartolo are great. "Legato" is the order of the day for all singers; this is a wonderfully Italianate performance. Orchestra and chorus are superb and the sound is surprisingly good, with voice/orchestra balance clear and true most of the time. This is a very hearty recommendation, and at this price, it's unbeatable.

-- Robert Levine, ClassicsToday.com
reviewing Le nozze di Figaro, previously released as Opera d'Oro 1390

This is particularly breathtaking for those who have always wanted a recording of Pavarotti and Freni in their greatest roles, in their primes, but without Herbert von Karajan, who led them in Decca's studio recording in l973 in a symphonic, large-scaled, very beautiful, but almost lugubrious performance. Taped in Rome in 1969 and led handsomely and with great sensitivity by the lamented Thomas Schippers, this set is extraordinary. Not only are the two superstars in glorious, first-bloom voice, but one senses a closeness in their relationship that's impossible to fake (they were born in the same town in the same year and shared a wetnurse as infants!). In addition, since both are in such fresh voice, they sing with their innate musicality, elegance of line, and ringing top notes in an easy fashion--they always sound perfectly natural. Sesto Bruscantini, though a bit long in the tooth, is a sympathetic Marcello and Nicolai Ghiuselev impresses as Colline. Rita Talarico's Musetta is acceptable. The RAI chorus and orchestra, while hardly on a level with Karajan's Berlin forces, are good enough. Even if you own another Bohème (or two), at this price, this one is a must.

-- Robert Levine, ClassicsToday.com
reviewing La Bohème, previously released as Opera d'Oro 1143

The finest all-around Carmen on discs remains the Solti-led 1973 performance from Covent Garden on Opera d’Oro: Shirley Verrett, Placido Domingo, Te Kanawa, and José van Dam sing rings around almost all of the competition individually, and as a dramatic whole, the opera really works.

– Robert Levine, ClassicsToday.com
reviewing Carmen, previously released as Opera d'Oro 1358

When Renata Scotto decided to move out of the bel canto operas and into verismo, she tackled Madama Butterfly first--and brilliantly. Her bel canto training allowed her to lighten her sound sufficiently so that Butterfly's tender age and innocence would be altogether believable, while her ability to focus her tone and lean on the voice made the bigger, climactic moments equally stunning. To be sure, this forcing took a few years off her bel canto bloom and added to her vocal decline, but that's hardly a worry here (this was recorded in 1967), when she's in complete control of all of her faculties.

Her portrait is that of a lovely, sad, victimized girl, who retains her dignity to the end. Remarkable! Renato Cioni, usually an annoyance, is at his best-behaved here as Pinkerton, sounding lusty in the first and rueful in the last acts. Alberto Rinaldi is a workaday Sharpless, but Franca Mattiucci, without a particularly distinguished sound, nevertheless manages to make Suzuki a major player. The conductor is Arturo Basile, hardly anyone's favorite, but he seems to follow Scotto's highly dramatic lead, and the opera takes a firm hold on the listener. And at this price, this is irresistible.

-- Robert Levine, ClassicsToday.com
reviewing Madama Butterfly, previously released as Opera d'Oro 1150 Read less

Works on This Recording

Le nozze di Figaro, K 492 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Michel Sénéchal (Tenor), Zoltan Kélémén (Baritone), Jane Berbié (Mezzo Soprano),
Elizabeth Harwood (Soprano), Mirella Freni (Soprano), José van Dam (Bass Baritone),
Tom Krause (Baritone), Paolo Montarsolo (Bass), Frederica Von Stade (Mezzo Soprano),
Elke Schary (Soprano), Willy Caron (Bass)
Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna State Opera Chorus,  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1786; Vienna, Austria 
La traviata by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Fernando Jacopucci (Tenor), Sesto Bruscantini (Baritone), José Carreras (Tenor),
Carlo Meliciani (Baritone), Guido Mazzini (Baritone), Renata Scotto (Soprano),
Franco Lombardi (Tenor), Anna Pedrotti (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  Nino Verchi
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Chorus
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1853; Italy 
Aida by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Luigi Roni (Bass), Nicolai Ghiaurov (Bass), Josella Ligi (Soprano),
Fiorenza Cossotto (Mezzo Soprano), Placido Domingo (Tenor), Martina Arroyo (Soprano),
Piero Cappuccilli (Baritone), Piero de Palma (Tenor)
Conductor:  Claudio Abbado
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Chorus
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1871; Italy 
Carmen by Georges Bizet
Performer:  Shirley Verrett (Mezzo Soprano), Thomas Allen (Baritone), Anne Pashley (Soprano),
Dame Kiri Te Kanawa (Soprano), Placido Domingo (Tenor), John Dobson (Tenor),
Teresa Cahill (Soprano), José van Dam (Bass Baritone), Francis Egerton (Tenor)
Conductor:  Sir Georg Solti
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Orchestra,  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Chorus
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1873-1874; France 
La Bohčme by Giacomo Puccini
Performer:  Nicolai Ghiuselev (Bass), Mario Frosini (Bass), Sesto Bruscantini (Baritone),
Franco Calabrese (Bass), Mirella Freni (Soprano), Alessandro Maddalena (Bass),
Rita Talarico (Soprano), Luciano Pavarotti (Tenor), Gianni Maffeo (Baritone),
Elio Prisco (Bass), Mario di Filici (Voice)
Conductor:  Thomas Schippers
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Italian Radio Symphony Orchestra Rome,  Italian Radio Chorus Rome
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1896; Italy 
Madama Butterfly by Giacomo Puccini
Performer:  Vito Susca (Bass), Alberto Rinaldi (Baritone), Luciana Palombi (Mezzo Soprano),
Silvio Maionica (Bass), Renata Scotto (Soprano), Renato Cioni (Tenor),
Franco Ricciardi (Tenor), Franca Mattiucci (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  Arturo Basile
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Italian Radio Symphony Orchestra Turin,  Italian Radio Chorus Turin
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1904; Italy 

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  2 Customer Reviews )
 Great music, wonderful listening April 18, 2013 By Donald S. (Denver, CO) See All My Reviews "Wonderful opera selections, casts, voices, sound quality...great value!" Report Abuse
 ANight at the Opera April 13, 2013 By Harold Edelman (Treynor, IA) See All My Reviews "Very nice!" Report Abuse
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