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Mirella Freni - 6 Complete Operas

Release Date: 10/16/2007 
Label:  Bravissimo Opera Library   Catalog #: 9905   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  George Frideric HandelVincenzo BelliniCharles GounodGaetano Donizetti,   ... 
Performer:  Mirella FreniFranco CalabreseIrene CompaneezRolando Panerai,   ... 
Conductor:  Piero BellugiNino VerchiGeorges PrętreNino Sanzogno,   ... 
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala OrchestraMilan Teatro alla Scala ChorusModena Teatro Comunale Orchestra,   ... 
Number of Discs: 14 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

There's no dearth of Bohèmes on the market, but this one has a place alongside the best. Freni and Pavarotti recorded the opera commercially in 1972 under the baton of Herbert von Karajan, who treated the opera as a symphony with voices. It's a gorgeous hot-house of a performance, and it's easy to get bogged down in it while appreciating it at the same time. Here, however, the lamented Thomas Schippers leads the same pair of singers three years earlier, at an even fresher period of their careers; Freni's Mimi remained moving year-after-year, while Pavarotti's Rodolfo became more labored and finally disappeared as he became more icon than opera singer. At this live concert performance he's vocally animated and simply stellar; to this Read more day a tenor hasn't gotten around "Che gelida manina" with such ease, scrupulousness to the score, and charm--not to mention a high-C that is as beautiful as it is secure. And Freni is just about perfect too.

Sesto Bruscantini is a Marcello to remember and appreciate--he was 50 when this was taped, but he continued singing for another 20 years. Nicolai Ghiuselev's Colline, while not a star-turn, is very good. The lesser-known Gianni Maffeo is a good Schaunard, full of life and vocal bite. Rita Talarico's Musetta is not world-class by any means, but she's nicely in character. Schippers gets the sadness as well as the hijinks in this work just right, and his Rome forces play as if they knew they were among stars. The recording, with the voices a bit close-miked, is very fine stereo. If you have no Bohème recording, this one would be just right; it also makes a fine second one if the same two leads aren't in the first.

– Robert Levine, ClassicsToday.com, reviewing La Bohème

Hearing Karajan's work before the early-to-mid-'80s, when his navel-gazing self-indulgence, odd casting, and control-freakery decimated and distorted every opera he directed/conducted/engineered, is invariably a treat, and this Figaro, live from Salzburg in 1974, is no exception. For the most part his 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, 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 Read less

Works on This Recording

Serse, HWV 40 by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Mirella Freni (Soprano), Franco Calabrese (Bass), Irene Companeez (Alto),
Rolando Panerai (Baritone), Luigi Alva (Tenor), Leonardo Monreale (Bass),
Fiorenza Cossotto (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  Piero Bellugi
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Chorus
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1738; London, England 
I puritani by Vincenzo Bellini
Performer:  Augusto Pedroni (Tenor), Mirella Freni (Soprano), Raffaele Arié (Bass),
Bruno Cioni (Bass), Rita Bezzi (Mezzo Soprano), Attilio D'Orazi (Baritone),
Alfredo Kraus (Tenor)
Conductor:  Nino Verchi
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Modena Teatro Comunale Orchestra,  Modena Teatro Comunale Chorus
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1835; Italy 
Faust by Charles Gounod
Performer:  Nicolai Ghiaurov (Bass), Luigi Alva (Tenor), Mirella Freni (Soprano),
Alfredo Giacomotti (Bass), Gianni Raimondi (Tenor), Anna di Stasio (Mezzo Soprano),
Robert Massard (Baritone)
Conductor:  Georges Prętre
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Chorus
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1859; France 
La fille du régiment by Gaetano Donizetti
Performer:  Walter Gullino (Tenor), Mirella Freni (Soprano), Walter Monachesi (Baritone),
Giuseppe Morresi (Bass Baritone), Anna di Stasio (Mezzo Soprano), Maria Grazia Allegri (Alto),
Wladimiro Ganzarolli (Baritone), Angelo Mercuriali (Tenor), Luciano Pavarotti (Tenor)
Conductor:  Nino Sanzogno
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Chorus
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1840; Italy 
La Bohčme by Giacomo Puccini
Performer:  Franco Calabrese (Bass), Alessandro Maddalena (Bass), Elio Prisco (Bass),
Luciano Pavarotti (Tenor), Rita Talarico (Soprano), Sesto Bruscantini (Baritone),
Mirella Freni (Soprano), Nicolai Ghiuselev (Bass), Mario Frosini (Bass)
Conductor:  Thomas Schippers
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Italian Radio Symphony Orchestra Rome,  Italian Radio Chorus Rome
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1896; Italy 
Le nozze di Figaro, K 492 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Jane Berbié (Mezzo Soprano), Elke Schary (Soprano), Michel Sénéchal (Tenor),
Mirella Freni (Soprano), Elizabeth Harwood (Soprano), Frederica Von Stade (Mezzo Soprano),
Tom Krause (Baritone), Willy Caron (Bass), Zoltan Kélémén (Baritone),
Paolo Montarsolo (Bass), José van Dam (Bass Baritone)
Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna State Opera Chorus,  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1786; Vienna, Austria 

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  2 Customer Reviews )
 Wrong CD sent July 31, 2014 By FRANK GRACE (Cockermouth, Cumbria) See All My Reviews "I was sent the wrong CD , instead of Mirella Freni I received CD by Joan Sutherland.I returned the package on the 26th June 2014 and have not received a reply. Therefore I cannot review the CD." Report Abuse
 how's the sound? October 5, 2013 By A. Ames See All My Reviews "I'd love to see ALL of these with Freni and (for the most part) fine-seeming colleagues. I assume the performances are taken from European radio broadcasts. Certainly the price is right! Freni was truly one of the great singing actresses of her generation, and i believe that working with Karajan was very good for her -- not only for her arts, but for her career. I'll never forget seeing the Boheme in some provincial movie theater in college (that dates me) -- and I credit that with my having become a life-long opera devotee soon afterward (seeing Sills & Treigle as Cleopatra and Caesar in Handel's Giulio Cesare at (the late, lamented) NYC Opera the next year sent me over the top. Brava Freni! PS: Baby Pavarotti was pretty fantastic here, too." Report Abuse
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