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Verdi, Puccini: Arias / Freni, Sinopoli


Release Date: 04/18/2007 
Label:  Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog #: 427614   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Giuseppe VerdiGiacomo Puccini
Performer:  Mirella Freni
Conductor:  Giuseppe Sinopoli
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 7 Mins. 

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This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.

Notes and Editorial Reviews

The appreciative essay on Mirella Freni which accompanies this record describes the 1970s as the soprano's golden years and adds, by way of compliment, that these now are perhaps the ''platinum years''. And perhaps it is a compliment: malleable ductile, silvery, durable. Yes, there is something in it. Freni, born in 1935, possessor in youth of the purest, most crystalline of voices, was tried in Karajan's furnace (where they put lyric sopranos through dramatic soprano roles) and many thought that she would not emerge, and indeed she was not unscathed, for though her voice retained much of its purity it forfeited complete steadiness. She survived, carefully pacing herself and never getting into a rut. This present record might well have been Read more one of those over which a curtain is best drawn, but not so. The firmness has deteriorated, that is true, there is still a bloom on the voice, however, and the artistry has grown. There is a touching depth of feeling in these performances, all of which bear witness to imaginative involvement in both music and drama.

The association with Sinopoli works well. Whatever one's opinion of his ideas, it has to be conceded that he has no lack of them. For instance, I dislike, heartily, the slow tempo of ''Un bel di'': like swimming in honey, it sometimes seems. But it 'holds' the dreamlike, visionary quality of the solo, and there are always matters to savour: the ashen chords commenting on Butterfly's eager ''Chi sara?'' for instance. The dream-like quality is also present in Desdemona's ''Ave Maria'', and in part of Manon Lescaut's sad soliloquy—which then wakes to confront brutal reality, and comes, like the agitations of Aida and Elisabeth de Valois, to its crisis with heightened intensity. All this, I should say, has encouraged the more creative elements in Freni's art, and she responds with unusual vividness (take, for example, the sense of a heavy heart in the anxious monotone of the ''Ave Maria'', or Amelia's ''Miserere'', so tired in spirit after the ordeal of midnight horrors).

It may not have been entirely wise to include in the recital two items from earlier recordings (Manon Lescaut, completed in 1984, and Madama Butterfly from 1988). In the Manon, particularly, the voice is much more closely-knit. Even so, it is by no means a threadbare or ageing voice that follows with Mimi and Liu. And if one returns to the Ballo in maschera aria, there are those fearsome phrases near the end, ''Deh, mi reggi, m'aita, o 'Signor'', and here one has to salute the singer as well as the artist.

-- Gramophone [2/1990]
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Works on This Recording

1.
Aida: Ritorna vincitor! by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Mirella Freni (Soprano)
Conductor:  Giuseppe Sinopoli
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1871; Italy 
Language: Italian 
2.
Un ballo in maschera: Ecco l'orrido campo...Ma dall' arido stelo divulsa by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Mirella Freni (Soprano)
Conductor:  Giuseppe Sinopoli
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1859; Italy 
Language: Italian 
3.
Don Carlos: Tu, che la vanitá conoscesti del mondo by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Mirella Freni (Soprano)
Conductor:  Giuseppe Sinopoli
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1867/1884; Italy 
Language: Italian 
4.
Otello: Piangea cantando...Ave Maria by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Mirella Freni (Soprano)
Conductor:  Giuseppe Sinopoli
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1887; Italy 
Language: Italian 
5.
Manon Lescaut: Sola, perduta, abbandonata by Giacomo Puccini
Performer:  Mirella Freni (Soprano)
Conductor:  Giuseppe Sinopoli
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1893; Italy 
Language: Italian 
6.
Madama Butterfly: Un bel dì vedremo by Giacomo Puccini
Performer:  Mirella Freni (Soprano)
Conductor:  Giuseppe Sinopoli
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1904; Italy 
Language: Italian 
7.
La Bohème: Si, mi chiamano Mimì by Giacomo Puccini
Performer:  Mirella Freni (Soprano)
Conductor:  Giuseppe Sinopoli
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1896; Italy 
Language: Italian 
8.
Turandot: Tu, che di gel sei cinta by Giacomo Puccini
Performer:  Mirella Freni (Soprano)
Conductor:  Giuseppe Sinopoli
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1926; Italy 
Language: Italian 

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