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Puccini: Manon Lescaut / Sinopoli, Freni, Domingo, Bruson


Release Date: 05/08/2007 
Label:  Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog #: 000872002   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Giacomo Puccini
Performer:  Handel ThomasMark CurtisJohn FryattGeorge MacPherson,   ... 
Conductor:  Giuseppe Sinopoli
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Opera House Covent Garden ChorusPhilharmonia Orchestra
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Low Stock: Currently 3 or fewer in stock. Usually ships in 24 hours, unless stock becomes depleted.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews



PUCCINI Manon Lescaut Giuseppe Sinopoli, cond; Mirella Freni ( Manon Lescaut ); Renato Bruson ( Lescaut ); Plácido Domingo ( Des Grieux ); Kurt Rydl ( Geronte di Ravoir ); Robert Gambill ( Edmondo ); Royal Op House London Ch; Philharmonia O Read more DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 289 477 (2 CDs: 123:23 Text and Translation)


I have long enjoyed Jonel Perlea’s classic Rome account of Manon Lescaut featuring Licia Albanese and Jussi Björling, which was last reviewed in Fanfare 29: 4. I generally agree with the comments made there. However, I find Naxos’s recent issue of the recording to have marginally more helpful sound than the Opera d’Oro version reviewed then.


The reappearance of Sinopoli’s set at midprice as part of Universal’s new “Grand Prix” series surely merits serious consideration, even if you have an “old faithful” recording in your collection. For a start, there is the sound quality—spacious and faithful, allowing all concerned to be heard in the most flattering light. As the leads, Freni and Domingo are in top form, providing a significant challenge for Albanese and Björling. Freni is the more pliant of tone and emotionally affecting. She’s not at all forced in the upper register as Albanese can appear to be, no doubt a result in part of the 1954 recording. Björling vs. Domingo is a battle royal between tenors, and it is one that Domingo wins by a head. His sheer ardor early on and grief-stricken expression at the opera’s close make this quite a reading, even by his own high standards. Bruson’s Lescaut is every bit as Italianate as Perlea’s Robert Merrill, making the choice between them rather hard. As I write, the jury is still out in choosing between them. DG’s casting in the lesser roles is more successful. Having Brigitte Fassbaender as the Madrigal Singer is nothing short of luxury.


Those familiar with Sinopoli’s conducting will know that on occasion it could work against the intended musical dynamic—but here that is not the case. Indeed, Sinopoli could hardly be a more winning guide; he is so effective that I regret he did not find this form more often. That the excellent Philharmonia orchestra brings out the full beauty of Puccini’s writing is a significant bonus. The chorus is handled with atmosphere. It will, I suspect, be some time before a more cogent account of the work appears. This is a recording I shall return to often with much pleasure.


FANFARE: Evan Dickerson
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Works on This Recording

1.
Manon Lescaut by Giacomo Puccini
Performer:  Handel Thomas (Bass), Mark Curtis (Tenor), John Fryatt (Tenor),
George MacPherson (Bass), Brigitte Fassbaender (Mezzo Soprano), Robert Gambill (Tenor),
Kurt Rydl (Bass), Renato Bruson (Baritone), Placido Domingo (Tenor),
John Tomlinson (Bass), Mirella Freni (Soprano)
Conductor:  Giuseppe Sinopoli
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Chorus,  Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1893; Italy 
Language: Italian 

Sound Samples

Manon Lescaut / Act 1: Ave, sera gentile
Manon Lescaut / Act 1: L'amor?! L'amor?!
Manon Lescaut / Act 1: Tra voi, belle, brune e bionde
Manon Lescaut / Act 1: Ma bravo! (Edmondo, Studenti, Fanciulle, Borghesi)
Manon Lescaut / Act 1: Discendono, vediam! (Borghesi, Edmondo, Studenti, Lescaut, Oste, Des Grieux, Geronte)
Manon Lescaut / Act 1: Cortese damigella (Des Grieux, Manon, Lescaut)
Manon Lescaut / Act 1: Donna non vidi mai
Manon Lescaut / Act 1: La tua ventura ci rassicura (Edmondo, Studenti, Fanciulle, Geronte, Lescaut, Borghesi, Oste)
Manon Lescaut / Act 1: La tua Proserpina
Manon Lescaut / Act 1: Vedete? Io son fedele
Manon Lescaut / Act 1: Non c'è più vino?
Manon Lescaut / Act 1: Cavalli pronti avete? (Lescaut, Geronte, Edmondo, Studenti)
Manon Lescaut / Act 2: Dispettosetto questo riccio! (Manon, Lescaut)
Manon Lescaut / Act 2: "In quelle trine morbide"
Manon Lescaut / Act 2: Poiché tu vuoi saper? (Lescaut, Manon)
Manon Lescaut / Act 2: Che ceffi son costor?...Sulla vetta tu del monte (Madrigale) (Lescaut, Manon, Voce sola, 'Coro')
Manon Lescaut / Act 2: Paga costor! (Manon, Lescaut)
Manon Lescaut / Act 2: "Vi prego, signorina (Minuetto)...L'ora, O Tirsi, è "Vi Signori, Abati)
Manon Lescaut / Act 2: Oh, sarò la più bella!...Tu, tu, amore? Tu?
Manon Lescaut / Act 2: Ah!...Affé, madamigella (Manon, Geronte, Des Grieux)
Manon Lescaut / Act 2: Ah! ah! Liberi!...Ah! Manon, mi tradisce (Manon, Des Grieux)
Manon Lescaut / Act 2: Lescaut? Tu qui? (Des Grieux, Manon, Lescaut, Sergente degli Arcieri)
Manon Lescaut / Act 2: Intermezzo
Manon Lescaut / Act 3: Ansia eterna, crudel
Manon Lescaut / Act 3: ... e Kate ripose al Re
Manon Lescaut / Act 3: Manon, disperato è il mio prego!
Manon Lescaut / Act 3: All'armi! All'armi! (Voci, Lescaut, Des Grieux, Manon, Borghesi, Popolani, Sergente, Comandante)
Manon Lescaut / Act 3: Rosetta!...Eh! Che aria! (Sergente, Borghesi, Popolani/Lescaut, Gruppo di Borghesi/Manon, Des Grieux)
Manon Lescaut / Act 3: Presto! In fila!...No! pazzo son!
Manon Lescaut / Act 4: "Tutta su me ti posa"
Manon Lescaut / Act 4: Manon, senti amor mio...Vedi, son io che piango
Manon Lescaut / Act 4: "Sei tu che piangi?"
Manon Lescaut / Act 4: "Sola perduta, abbandonata"
Manon Lescaut / Act 4: "Fra le tue braccia, amore!"

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 Poor Balance in the Recording July 20, 2013 By David B. (Toronto, Ontario) See All My Reviews "The orchestra drowns out the singers during most of the recording. What a waste of fine talent." Report Abuse
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