WGBH Radio WGBH Radio theclassicalstation.org

Puccini - The Great Opera Collection / 15-Disc Set


Release Date: 03/11/2008 
Label:  Decca   Catalog #: 001064502   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Giacomo Puccini
Performer:  Silvio MaionicaErnesto PalmeriniGeorge LondonMario Del Monaco,   ... 
Conductor:  Francesco Molinari-PradelliTullio SerafinFranco CapuanaAlberto Erede,   ... 
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Santa Cecilia Academy Rome ChorusSanta Cecilia Academy Rome OrchestraFlorence Maggio Musicale Orchestra,   ... 
Number of Discs: 15 
Recorded in: Stereo 
CD not available: This title is currently only available as an MP3 download.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews

This set's liner notes include detailed synopses in English for each of the operas, indexed to the track listing. Full librettos are not included.

Celebrating the composer’s 150th Anniversary in 2008, this is a 15-CD definitive collection of his most popular operas in classic performances! Decca’s recordings of Puccini’s operas rank among the very finest ever committed to disc. This legacy was started in 1951 when Renata Tebaldi made her first recording of Madama Butterfly, and throughout the rest of the 1950s Tebaldi recorded Puccini’s other major operas. Tebaldi was cast alongside such distinguished colleagues as Carlo Bergonzi and Mario del Monaco. Acclaimed opera maestri at the helm of these recordings include
Read more Francesco Molinari-Pradelli and Tullio Serafin. This collection of the great Puccini operas includes the stereo versions of Madama Butterfly and La Bohème and is the ideal collection of some of the world’s most popular and enduring operas in acclaimed recordings that have been an integral part of Decca’s legendary opera catalogue for the past fifty years.

-----------------------------------------

R E V I E W S:

Madama Butterfly:
"Tebaldi...fines down her magnificent voice to a genuine intimacy of expression (the letter-reading scene with Sharpless is touching) and there are few accounts of the role that are more securely, more gloriously sung, and with a voice that seems without a flaw throughout its register. So many more convincingly childlike Butterflys simply have no lower notes to speak of, or are incapable of the cruelly demanding outburst of “Tu, tu, piccolo Iddio”, that it is splendid to hear in the role a voice that you know will not be found wanting at any point. And few Butterflys have been more ardently and sympathetically partnered than by Bergonzi, here in his finest voice: the love duet is superbly done." -- Michael Oliver, Gramophone [review of Decca 452594]

La Fanciulla del West:
"Capuana directs an expansive performance, but you have only to hear the haunting song of the roving minstrel, Jake Wallace, right at the start, ''Che farrano i vecchi miei'', as sung here by Giorgio Tozzi, to realize the unique atmospheric beauty of this version, with the off-stage voice as precisely placed as those on-stage. I remember an American critic comparing the sound of the Gramophone Award-winning DG version conducted by Zubin Mehta unfavourably with this, and he was right. Forceful as the Mehta performance is, the subtleties of the score are brought out even more by Capuana's reading, at once more spacious and more delicate.

The Decca producer and engineers appreciated ahead of their time what extra dimensions stereo could provide, and the final scene also remains a model of recording production. After Dick Johnson has sung his aria ''Ch'ella mi creda'', (del Monaco lusty but not coarse), Minnie's arrival, Brunnhilde-like, on her horse, outdoes any stage production I have ever seen, and the final farewells, in which the miners sing ''Che farrano i vecchi miei'' in alternate phrases with Minnie's and Dick's love song, is timed more lovingly than I have ever known it otherwise.

Tebaldi is in superb voice, hitting her top notes with pinging precision, Del Monaco with his rich tone was never finer, and Cornell Macneil gives Jack Rance an apt element of nobility, making him more than a Wild West Scarpia." -- Edward Greenfield, Gramophone [Review of Decca 421595]

Tosca:
"... for Tebaldi herself the last act of Tosca contains some of the most affecting passages in her whole recorded output: the tenderness of her words to Cavaradossi ('Gli occhi ti chiudero con mille baci') remain particularly vivid and precious in the memory. The Tosca is a well-produced recording, and Molinari-Pradelli handles the score with a sure sense of what is right for it. George London's Scarpia has character and impressive power; del Monaco's Cavaradossi has its predictably great moment in ''Vittoria'' and confounds the prophets by almost softly caressing 'O dolci mani.'" -- Gramophone

La Bohème:
"Tebaldi’s Mimi has always been overshadowed by those, from around the same period, of Callas (Votto) and de los Angeles (Beecham)...But the role has not often been more securely, more gloriously sung, and in matters of phrasing, of sustaining an expressive arch of melody, Tebaldi is very often superb. The set is also notable for Bergonzi’s meticulous, immaculately sung Rodolfo (his only recording of the role), for Bastianini, in his finest voice as Marcello, and for Siepi’s noble-voiced Colline..." -- Michael Oliver, Gramophone [review of Decca 448725]

Read less

Works on This Recording

1. Tosca by Giacomo Puccini
Performer:  Silvio Maionica (Bass), Ernesto Palmerini (Boy Alto), George London (Bass Baritone),
Mario Del Monaco (Tenor), Renata Tebaldi (Soprano), Fernando Corena (Bass),
Piero de Palma (Tenor), Giovanni Morese (Bass)
Conductor:  Francesco Molinari-Pradelli
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Santa Cecilia Academy Rome Chorus,  Santa Cecilia Academy Rome Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1900; Italy 
Date of Recording: 07/1959 
Venue:  St. Cecilia Academy, Rome, Italy 
Length: 113 Minutes 0 Secs. 
Language: Italian 
2. Manon Lescaut by Giacomo Puccini
Performer:  Luisa Ribacchi (Mezzo Soprano), Mario Del Monaco (Tenor), Mario Borriello (Baritone),
Renata Tebaldi (Soprano), Fernando Corena (Bass), Angelo Mercuriali (Tenor),
Dario Caselli (Bass), Adelio Zagonara (Tenor), Antonio Sacchetti (Bass),
Piero de Palma (Tenor)
Conductor:  Francesco Molinari-Pradelli
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Santa Cecilia Academy Rome Chorus,  Santa Cecilia Academy Rome Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1893; Italy 
Date of Recording: 1954 
Venue:  St. Cecilia Academy, Rome, Italy 
Length: 116 Minutes 0 Secs. 
Language: Italian 
3. La Bohème by Giacomo Puccini
Performer:  Renata Tebaldi (Soprano), Piero de Palma (Tenor), Carlo Bergonzi (Tenor),
Fernando Corena (Bass), Cesare Siepi (Bass), Renato Cesari (Baritone),
Giorgio Onesti (Bass), Ettore Bastianini (Baritone), Gianna D'Angelo (Soprano),
Attilio D'Orazi (Baritone)
Conductor:  Tullio Serafin
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Santa Cecilia Academy Rome Chorus,  Santa Cecilia Academy Rome Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1896; Italy 
Date of Recording: 08/1959 
Venue:  St. Cecilia Academy, Rome, Italy 
Length: 111 Minutes 53 Secs. 
Language: Italian 
4. Madama Butterfly by Giacomo Puccini
Performer:  Renata Tebaldi (Soprano), Carlo Bergonzi (Tenor), Enzo Sordello (Baritone),
Fiorenza Cossotto (Mezzo Soprano), Angelo Mercuriali (Tenor), Michele Cazzato (Baritone),
Oscar Nanni (Bass), Paolo Washington (Bass), Lidia Nerozzi (Mezzo Soprano),
Virgilio Carbonari (Bass)
Conductor:  Tullio Serafin
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Santa Cecilia Academy Rome Chorus,  Santa Cecilia Academy Rome Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1904; Italy 
Date of Recording: 07/1958 
Venue:  St. Cecilia Academy, Rome, Italy 
Length: 143 Minutes 30 Secs. 
Language: Italian 
5. La Fanciulla del West by Giacomo Puccini
Performer:  Athos Cesarini (Tenor), Giuseppe Morresi (Bass Baritone), Michele Cazzato (Baritone),
Angelo Mercuriali (Tenor), Mario Carlin (Tenor), Edio Peruzzi (Baritone),
Virgilio Carbonari (Baritone), Enzo Guagni (Tenor), Giorgio Giorgetti (Baritone),
Bianca Maria Casoni (Mezzo Soprano), Dario Caselli (Bass), Giorgio Tozzi (Bass),
Silvio Maionica (Baritone), Piero de Palma (Tenor), Cornell MacNeil (Baritone),
Mario Del Monaco (Tenor), Renata Tebaldi (Soprano)
Conductor:  Franco Capuana
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Santa Cecilia Academy Rome Chorus,  Santa Cecilia Academy Rome Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1910; Italy 
Date of Recording: 1958 
Venue:  St. Cecilia Academy, Rome, Italy 
Length: 133 Minutes 31 Secs. 
Language: Italian 
6. Turandot by Giacomo Puccini
Performer:  Ezio Giordano (Bass), Gaetano Fanelli (Tenor), Nicola Zaccaria (Bass),
Renato Ercolani (Tenor), Mario Carlin (Tenor), Fernando Corena (Bass),
Renata Tebaldi (Soprano), Mario Del Monaco (Tenor), Inge Borkh (Soprano)
Conductor:  Alberto Erede
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Santa Cecilia Academy Rome Chorus,  Santa Cecilia Academy Rome Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1926; Italy 
Date of Recording: 1955 
Venue:  St. Cecilia Academy, Rome, Italy 
Language: Italian 
7. Il Tabarro by Giacomo Puccini
Performer:  Lucia Danieli (Mezzo Soprano), Silvio Maionica (Bass), Renato Ercolani (Tenor),
Renata Tebaldi (Soprano), Mario Del Monaco (Tenor), Robert Merrill (Baritone)
Conductor:  Lamberto Gardelli
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Florence Maggio Musicale Orchestra,  Florence Maggio Musicale Chorus
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1918; Italy 
Date of Recording: 1962 
Language: Italian 
8. Suor Angelica by Giacomo Puccini
Performer:  Anna di Stasio (Mezzo Soprano), Mitì Truccato Pace (Mezzo Soprano), Lucia Danieli (Mezzo Soprano),
Jeda Valtriani (Soprano), Renata Tebaldi (Soprano), Giulietta Simionato (Mezzo Soprano),
Giuliana Tavolaccini (Soprano), Dora Carral (Soprano)
Conductor:  Lamberto Gardelli
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Florence Maggio Musicale Orchestra,  Florence Maggio Musicale Chorus
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1918; Italy 
Date of Recording: 1962 
Language: Italian 
9. Gianni Schicchi by Giacomo Puccini
Performer:  Mitì Truccato Pace (Mezzo Soprano), Agostino Lazzari (Tenor), Silvio Maionica (Bass),
Giovanni Foiani (Bass), Paolo Washington (Bass), Antonio di Ninno (Tenor),
Dora Carral (Soprano), Renato Ercolani (Tenor), Fernando Corena (Bass),
Lucia Danieli (Mezzo Soprano), Giuseppe Morresi (Bass), Renata Tebaldi (Soprano)
Conductor:  Lamberto Gardelli
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Florence Maggio Musicale Orchestra,  Florence Maggio Musicale Chorus
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1918; Italy 
Date of Recording: 1962 
Language: Italian 

Featured Sound Samples

Manon Lescaut: ". . . E Kate rispose al Re" (Renata Tebaldi)
Turandot: "Nessun dorma!" (Mario del Monaco)
Suor Angelica: "Sorella, o buena sorella" (Renata Tebaldi)
Madama Butterfly: "Addio, fiorito asil" (Carlo Bergonzi)
Turandot: "In questa reggia" (Inge Borkh)

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!
Manon Lescaut / Act 1: Discendono, vediam!
Manon Lescaut / Act 1: Cortese damigella
Manon Lescaut / Act 1: Donna non vidi mai
Manon Lescaut / Act 1: La tua ventura ci rassicura
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: Di sedur la sorellina è il momento
Manon Lescaut / Act 2: Dispettosetto questo riccio!
Manon Lescaut / Act 2: In quelle trine morbide
Manon Lescaut / Act 2: Poichè tu vuoi saper?
Manon Lescaut / Act 2: Che ceffi son costor? ... Sulla vetta tu del monte
Manon Lescaut / Act 2: Paga costor!
Manon Lescaut / Act 2: Minuetto
Manon Lescaut / Act 2: Oh, sarò la più bella!...Tu, tu, amore tu
Manon Lescaut / Act 2: Ah! Affé, madamigella
Manon Lescaut / Act 2: Senti, di qui partiamo ... Ah, Manon mi tradisce
Manon Lescaut / Act 2: Lescaut? Tu qui?
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: All'armi! All'armi!
Manon Lescaut / Act 3: Rosetta!
Manon Lescaut / Act 3: Presto! In fila!
Manon Lescaut / Act 4: Tutta su me ti posa
Manon Lescaut / Act 4: Manon, senti, amor mio
Manon Lescaut / Act 4: Sei tu che piangi?
Manon Lescaut / Act 4: Sola, perduta, abbandonata
Manon Lescaut / Act 4: Fra le tue braccie, amore

Customer Reviews

Be the first to review this title
Review This Title
Review This Title Share on Facebook