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Puccini: Manon Lescaut / Cura, Guleghina, Muti, Et Al

Puccini / Cura / Guleghina / Gallo / Roni / Muti
Release Date: 09/20/2005 
Label:  Tdk   Catalog #: OPMLES  
Composer:  Giacomo Puccini
Performer:  Ernesto PanarielloErnesto GavazziMario BolognesiGloria Banditelli,   ... 
Conductor:  Riccardo Muti
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala OrchestraMilan Teatro alla Scala Chorus
Number of Discs: 1 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Stage Director: Liliana Cavani

Sound Formats: DD 5.1, DTS 5.1, PCM-STEREO
Picture Format: 16:9
Subtitles: English, German, French, Italian, Spanish
Region Code: 0
Number of Discs: 1
Running Time: 134 minutes
Booklet Languages: English, German, French

Manon Lescaut is Giacomo Puccini’s Romeo and Juliet, his Bonnie and Clyde, his Tristan und Isolde. A pair of lovers stand alone against the rest of the world. We are not told what binds the Chevalier Des Grieux and the girl Manon to each other, but in the course of four acts we can follow the effects of their unconditional love. Love strikes at first sight and nothing and nobody will put a stop to it: not Manon’s brother
Read more Lescaut, who sells his sister to old Geronte, the King’s Treasurer; not a judge and the sentence of a court; not transportation to America; and certainly not death. Des Grieux and Manon love without regard for morals, laws or social norms – and they find true redemption only in death.

TDK presents a recording of the heart-breaking opera from one of the best opera houses of the world featuring star tenor José Cura and remarkable soprano Maria Guleghina as the two inseparable lovers. Riccardo Muti, music director of La Scala at the time of this performance, gives full weight to the alternation of social realism and private amatory psychology, of crowds and intimacy, body and spirit. And the director of this Milan production, Liliana Cavani, provides it with a realistic setting. Every scene looks like a genre painting, from which Puccini’s psychograms emerge musically. This forms the background for the two outstanding singer actors, who take the lead roles:
The great Liebestod scene at the end of the opera in particular, shows the acting prowess of the Russian soprano Maria Guleghina. She combines immensely convincing theatricality with a voice of great power, warmth and thrust, even when it is about to fade away into death in her last great aria. Lina Cavallieri, Lotte Lehmann, Renata Scotto and Mirella Freni all left their stamp on the role of Manon – here it is sung by the Russian star Maria Guleghina in a state transcendent between heaven and earth.

José Cura is world-famous for his intense and original interpretations of opera characters, he is a compelling actor and charismatic stage performer and, as one London critic wrote: 'Few have seemed so ideally suited to the impulsive, obsessed Des Grieux as is José Cura, with his ardent, exciting singing.' When Des Grieux first sees Manon, he sings “Donna non vidi mai!” (“I never saw a woman like her!”), which today has emerged as one of the most popular of operatic hits, partly because the role of Des Grieux has been taken by star tenors like Caruso, Gigli, Björling and Domingo. The latter has also been a mentor to the Argentinian José Cura, who contributes a portrait of the character as a star-crossed lover to this performance.

R E V I E W S:

"Guleghina and Cura are visually excellent and manage to convey the emotional aspects of the text dramatically. The production is excellent, thankfully conventional, and the costumes and sets are appropriate. Vocally Guleghina is more of a lyrico spinto rather than the pure lyric that is more appropriate for the role, yet she does manage to lighten the voice when required. Cura is both visually and vocally first rate. The supporting roles are well cast; Lucio Gallo makes a youthful strongly characterized Lescaut, and Luigi Roni a first class Geronte... I am unaware of any competing DVD version of this opera, and—principally because of the excellent visual quality and because the principal singers are fine—I find it is worth investigation by Puccini admirers. Subtitles are available; the sound and picture are both excellent." -- Bob Rose, Fanfare
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Works on This Recording

Manon Lescaut by Giacomo Puccini
Performer:  Ernesto Panariello (Baritone), Ernesto Gavazzi (Tenor), Mario Bolognesi (Tenor),
Gloria Banditelli (Mezzo Soprano), Orazio Mori (Bass), Lucio Gallo (Baritone),
Maria Guleghina (Soprano), José Cura (Tenor), Luigi Roni (Bass),
Marco Berti (Tenor), Silvestro Sammaritano (Bass)
Conductor:  Riccardo Muti
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Chorus
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1893; Italy 

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