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Original Jacket Collection - Montserrat Caballé


Release Date: 06/24/2008 
Label:  Sony   Catalog #: 727072   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Vincenzo BelliniGaetano DonizettiSimeon José SerranoRuperto Chapi,   ... 
Performer:  Montserrat CaballéBernabé MartiShirley Verrett
Conductor:  Carlo Felice CillarioEugenio M. MarcoAnton Guadagno
Number of Discs: 15 
Recorded in: Stereo 
In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews

These 15 CDs catch her when there was almost nothing she could not sing effectively... this is a bargain and a swell compendium of the art of a very important singer.

Some listeners might find the gimmick of "original jackets" sort of foolish, particularly when a) you cannot read the copy on the back if you are older than 15, and b) some of the CDs (taken, of course, from the original LPs) have as little as 40 minutes of music on them and only a couple have more than an hour. But the packaging is slim and nice (taking up the space of about 5 CDs), nostalgia sets in, the enclosed booklet reproduces the original essays (or excerpts from them) and includes track listings if not translations. And the low price for
Read more these 15 CDs (under $80.00) makes it very appealing from an entirely different angle.

But nothing is as appealing as Caballé herself. Some singers, regardless of greatness, are difficult to listen to for five, six, seven hours straight. Even with Callas and Pavarotti you might find her intensity and unevenness and his bright tone too much. But with Caballé, particularly at this point in her career (from 1964 to 1972), there's little problem. Her delivery was so varied, her voice so alluring and with such a suave edge to it, containing so many colors and textures, that she never tires the ear. An overdose of beauty is possible, but she also delivers with great drama and dynamic diversity most of the time, making each selection a special occasion--sometimes sheerly vocal, but mostly far deeper.

These 15 CDs catch her when there was almost nothing she could not sing effectively. On stage she could be lazy--New York audiences called her the world's greatest last-act soprano, because that was when she would start actually caring and singing out. She often vocalized instead of articulating words, would drop out of ensembles to save her voice, and was known for canceling performances. Here, she is pristine and fascinating.

The first RCA CD is all bel canto and defines the term: long lines, beauty of tone, embellishments for both effect and further definition of text and feeling; you understand why the Carnegie audience went wild over her first aria from Borgia. In the second and third CDs, recorded in 1964 before her RCA contract, Zarzuela arias and songs by Granados feature amazingly secure and huge high Bs and Cs, alternating with lovely, filigreed staccato (the aria by Chapi-Ramos, CD2, track 4). The Granados draws our focus to the unforced, natural, dark hue of her tone that makes the brilliance of her top notes even more impressive.

The Strauss song recital is good and has some ravishing moments ("Wiegenlied", for one) but Lieder was not really her strong suit: throughout her career she occasionally sprinkled recitals with Schubert and Schumann, but they were limited.

The Verdi Rarities CD show her back on home turf; the aria and cabaletta from Aroldo, for instance, may have a bit of smudged coloratura, but the opulence of the voice from C to C is thrilling and the drama concentrated. The carefree number from Un giorno di regno is delicious. These early Verdi arias exhibit a perfect late-bel canto, early-more melodramatic style, despite her career-long lack of a real trill. (She does something else--sort of a warble--that while enchanting, always was a bit weird.)

The Rossini Rarities alone would make her reputation as a virtuoso. The evenness of range for more than two octaves is here partnered with flawless, wild coloratura and a palette of colors that is magical. Her Willow Song, is simply, delicately sung and capped with the softest high A-flat ever captured by microphone; this is followed by a gigantic reading of the "Inflammatus" from the Stabat Mater, delivered with staggering power. Armida's showpiece, with its two-and-a-half-octave leaps and outlandish fiorature, alternatingly at full voice and at a whisper, must be heard.

The next CD, Zarzuela duets with her tenor husband, Bernabé Marti, is good fun, although while she can be seductive, charming, witty, and subtle, he is happy being loud. A disc of duets with mezzo Shirley Verrett is simply great singing from start to finish, with great drama thrown in in the extended scene between Bolena and Jane Seymour and a wild catfight for the Gioconda duet. Their "Mira o Norma" and the "Barcarolle" from Hoffmann are as smooth as silk, their timbres ideally matched. The Donizetti Rarities CD, with music still considered rare (from Torquato Tasso, Belisario, etc.) is magnificent, not only for her singing and insights, but for the high quality of this little-known music.

The last of the single CDs, "Great Operatic Heroines", is uneven in both sound quality and performance--stunning scenes from Verdi's Otello and Donizetti's Anna Bolena are followed by a disfigured, affected "Depuis le jour" and a "Vissi d'arte" that seems to exist only for its dynamics and for its ascent to and descent from the ultimate high B-flat that seems to take forever.

The Norma is pretty remarkable. Placido Domingo's strained, learn-by-numbers Pollione and Ruggero Raimondi's too-young-sounding Oroveso do not help, but Fiorenz Cossotto's Adalgisa is top notch. After a somewhat pokey start in her big aria, Caballé gains in assurance, drama, beauty, and feeling. She's breathtaking in the duets. The last act finds her at her most compelling in every way--not just the 20-second-long breaths with perfectly poised tone, but in conviction and total portrayal.

As for the controversial Salome, some have considered it an outrageously "soft" portrayal. And while it's true that unlike Solti/Nilsson, this set is not a viscerally exciting experience that thundered in the 20th century, it is a gorgeous piece of very-late-Romantic music, with Strauss' orchestration crystal clear. Caballé presents a beautifully sung, snotty, 16-year-old Salome, probably not nearly crazy enough for the part, but with every dynamic in place and some thrilling, chesty singing to match the big top notes. It's not a first Salome recording (that's Nilsson) in the same way that her Norma is second to a few of Callas', but they're great shows nonetheless.

The accompaniments are first rate and the recordings are mostly just as good. The "Great Operatic Heroines" has been mentioned above and the Granados and Zarzuela solo discs tend to blare at higher levels. The levels on the Salome set are lowish--with Leinsdorf's sultry, non-thriller reading of the piece, this was probably intentional. But in all, this is a bargain and a swell compendium of the art of a very important singer.

--Robert Levine, ClassicsToday.com
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Works on This Recording

1. Norma: Casta diva by Vincenzo Bellini
Performer:  Montserrat Caballé (Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1831; Italy 
2. Il pirata: Oh! s'io potessi dissipar le nubi by Vincenzo Bellini
Performer:  Montserrat Caballé (Soprano)
Conductor:  Carlo Felice Cillario
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1827; Italy 
3. Roberto Devereux: Vivi, ingrato by Gaetano Donizetti
Performer:  Montserrat Caballé (Soprano)
Conductor:  Carlo Felice Cillario
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1837; Italy 
4. Lucrezia Borgia: Tranquillo ei posa by Gaetano Donizetti
Performer:  Montserrat Caballé (Soprano)
Conductor:  Carlo Felice Cillario
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1833; Italy 
5. Maria di Rohan: Havvi un dì by Gaetano Donizetti
Performer:  Montserrat Caballé (Soprano)
Conductor:  Carlo Felice Cillario
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1843; Italy 
6. La canción del olvidó: Canción de Marinela by Simeon José Serrano
Performer:  Montserrat Caballé (Soprano)
Conductor:  Eugenio M. Marco
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1916; Spain 
7. El rey que rabió: Mi tio se figura by Ruperto Chapi
Performer:  Montserrat Caballé (Soprano)
Conductor:  Eugenio M. Marco
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1891; Spain 
8. Bohemios: No quiero que sepa que aqui vengo yo by Amadeo Vives
Performer:  Montserrat Caballé (Soprano)
Conductor:  Eugenio M. Marco
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1904; Spain 
9. El cabo primero: Yo quiero un hombre by Manuel F. Caballero
Performer:  Montserrat Caballé (Soprano)
Conductor:  Eugenio M. Marco
Period: Romantic 
Written: by 1896; Spain 
10. Marina: Pensar en él by Emilio Arrieta
Performer:  Montserrat Caballé (Soprano)
Conductor:  Eugenio M. Marco
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1855/1871; Spain 
11. El niño judío: De España vengo by Pablo Luna y Carné
Performer:  Montserrat Caballé (Soprano)
Conductor:  Eugenio M. Marco
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1918; Spain 
12. La rosa del Azafrán: No me duele que se vaya by Jacinto Guerrero
Performer:  Montserrat Caballé (Soprano)
Conductor:  Eugenio M. Marco
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1930; Spain 
13. Don Gil de Alcalá: Bendita cruz by Manuel Penella
Performer:  Montserrat Caballé (Soprano)
Conductor:  Eugenio M. Marco
Period: 20th Century 
Written: Spain 
14. Colección (7) de canciones amatorias: no 5, Descúbrase el pensamiento de mi secreto cuidado by Enrique Granados
Performer:  Montserrat Caballé (Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: Spain 
15. Colección (7) de canciones amatorias: no 6, Mañanica era by Enrique Granados
Performer:  Montserrat Caballé (Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: Spain 
16. Colección (7) de canciones amatorias: no 2, Llorad corazón by Enrique Granados
Performer:  Montserrat Caballé (Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: Spain 
17. Colección (7) de canciones amatorias: no 1, Mira que soy niña by Enrique Granados
Performer:  Montserrat Caballé (Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: Spain 
18. Colección (7) de canciones amatorias: no 3, No lloréis, ojuelos by Enrique Granados
Performer:  Montserrat Caballé (Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: Spain 
19. Colección (7) de canciones amatorias: no 4, Iban al pinar by Enrique Granados
Performer:  Montserrat Caballé (Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: Spain 
20. Colección (7) de canciones amatorias: no 7, Gracia mía by Enrique Granados
Performer:  Montserrat Caballé (Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: Spain 
21. Tonadillas en un estilo antiguo: no 9, La maja dolorosa I-III by Enrique Granados
Performer:  Montserrat Caballé (Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1910-1911; Spain 
22. Tonadillas en un estilo antiguo: no 7, El tra-la-la y el punteado by Enrique Granados
Performer:  Montserrat Caballé (Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1910-1911; Spain 
23. Tonadillas en un estilo antiguo: no 6, El mirar de la maja by Enrique Granados
Performer:  Montserrat Caballé (Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1910-1911; Spain 
24. Tonadillas en un estilo antiguo: no 2, Callejeo by Enrique Granados
Performer:  Montserrat Caballé (Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1910-1911; Spain 
25. Tonadillas en un estilo antiguo: no 1, Amor y odio by Enrique Granados
Performer:  Montserrat Caballé (Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1910-1911; Spain 
26. Tonadillas en un estilo antiguo: no 3, El majo discreto by Enrique Granados
Performer:  Montserrat Caballé (Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1910-1911; Spain 
27. Tonadillas en un estilo antiguo: no 5, El majo tímido by Enrique Granados
Performer:  Montserrat Caballé (Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1910-1911; Spain 
28. Tonadillas en un estilo antiguo: no 8, La maja de Goya by Enrique Granados
Performer:  Montserrat Caballé (Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1910-1911; Spain 
29. Lieder (6), Op. 37: no 2, Ich liebe dich by Richard Strauss
Performer:  Montserrat Caballé (Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1898; Germany 
30. Lieder (8), Op. 10: no 1, Zueignung by Richard Strauss
Performer:  Montserrat Caballé (Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1885; Germany 
31. Lieder (5), Op. 32: no 1, Ich trage meine Minne by Richard Strauss
Performer:  Montserrat Caballé (Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1896; Germany 
32. Lieder (5), Op. 48: no 1, Freundliche Vision by Richard Strauss
Performer:  Montserrat Caballé (Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
33. Lieder (5), Op. 69: no 5, Schlechtes Wetter by Richard Strauss
Performer:  Montserrat Caballé (Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1918; Germany 
34. Lieder (5), Op. 39: no 4, Befreit by Richard Strauss
Performer:  Montserrat Caballé (Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
35. Lieder (4), Op. 27: no 4, Morgen by Richard Strauss
Performer:  Montserrat Caballé (Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1894; Germany 
36. Lieder (8), Op. 10: no 3, Die Nacht by Richard Strauss
Performer:  Montserrat Caballé (Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1885; Germany 
37. Lieder (4), Op. 27: no 2, Cäcilie by Richard Strauss
Performer:  Montserrat Caballé (Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1894; Germany 
38. Un giorno di regno: Ah! non m'hanno ingannata! by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Montserrat Caballé (Soprano)
Conductor:  Anton Guadagno
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1840; Italy 
39. I lombardi: Qual prodigio by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Montserrat Caballé (Soprano)
Conductor:  Anton Guadagno
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1843; Italy 
40. I due Foscari: Tu al cui sguardo onnipossente by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Montserrat Caballé (Soprano)
Conductor:  Anton Guadagno
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1844; Italy 
41. Alzira: Riposa, tutte, in suo dolor vegliante by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Montserrat Caballé (Soprano)
Conductor:  Anton Guadagno
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1845; Italy 
42. Attila: Liberamente or piangi...Oh! nel fuggente nuvolo by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Montserrat Caballé (Soprano)
Conductor:  Anton Guadagno
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1846; Italy 
43. Il corsaro: Non so le tetre immagini by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Montserrat Caballé (Soprano)
Conductor:  Anton Guadagno
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1848; Italy 
44. Aroldo: Ah! Dagli scanni eterei by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Montserrat Caballé (Soprano)
Conductor:  Anton Guadagno
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1857; Italy 
45. La donna del lago: Tanti affetti in tal momento by Gioachino Rossini
Performer:  Montserrat Caballé (Soprano)
Conductor:  Carlo Felice Cillario
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1819; Italy 
46. Otello: O tu, del mio dolor by Gioachino Rossini
Performer:  Montserrat Caballé (Soprano)
Conductor:  Carlo Felice Cillario
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1816; Italy 
47. Stabat mater: Inflammatus et accensus by Gioachino Rossini
Performer:  Montserrat Caballé (Soprano)
Conductor:  Carlo Felice Cillario
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1832/1842; Italy 
48. Armida: D'amore al dolce impero by Gioachino Rossini
Performer:  Montserrat Caballé (Soprano)
Conductor:  Carlo Felice Cillario
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1817; Italy 
49. Tancredi: O patria! by Gioachino Rossini
Performer:  Montserrat Caballé (Soprano)
Conductor:  Carlo Felice Cillario
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1813; Italy 
50. L'assedio di Corinto: L'ora fatal...Giusto ciel! by Gioachino Rossini
Performer:  Montserrat Caballé (Soprano)
Conductor:  Carlo Felice Cillario
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1826; Italy 
51. El caserío: Buenos días. ¡Ya viniste! by Jesus Guridi
Performer:  Bernabé Marti (Tenor), Montserrat Caballé (Soprano)
Conductor:  Eugenio M. Marco
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1926; Spain 
52. La generala: Mi dulce sueño de adolescente by Amadeo Vives
Performer:  Bernabé Marti (Tenor), Montserrat Caballé (Soprano)
Conductor:  Eugenio M. Marco
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1912; Spain 
53. La leyenda del beso: Amor, mi raza sabe conquistar by Reveriano Soutullo
Performer:  Bernabé Marti (Tenor), Montserrat Caballé (Soprano)
Conductor:  Eugenio M. Marco
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1924; Spain 
54. Luisa Fernanda: Caballero del alto plumero "Flower Duet" by Federico Moreno-Torroba
Performer:  Bernabé Marti (Tenor), Montserrat Caballé (Soprano)
Conductor:  Eugenio M. Marco
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1932; Spain 
55. La Dolores: Dolores mia by Tomás Bretón
Performer:  Bernabé Marti (Tenor), Montserrat Caballé (Soprano)
Conductor:  Eugenio M. Marco
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1895; Spain 
56. El dúo de la africana: Understand the grave "Duo-Jota by Manuel F. Caballero
Performer:  Bernabé Marti (Tenor), Montserrat Caballé (Soprano)
Conductor:  Eugenio M. Marco
Period: Romantic 
57. Norma: Mira, o Norma by Vincenzo Bellini
Performer:  Montserrat Caballé (Soprano), Shirley Verrett (Mezzo Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1831; Italy 
58. Semiramide: Serbami ognor...Alle più calde immagini by Gioachino Rossini
Performer:  Montserrat Caballé (Soprano), Shirley Verrett (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  Anton Guadagno
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1823; Italy 
59. Anna Bolena: Dio, che mi vedi...Sul capo...Va, infelice by Gaetano Donizetti
Performer:  Montserrat Caballé (Soprano), Shirley Verrett (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  Anton Guadagno
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1830; Italy 
60. Les contes d'Hoffmann: Belle nuit, o nuit d'amour by Jacques Offenbach
Performer:  Shirley Verrett (Mezzo Soprano), Montserrat Caballé (Soprano)
Conductor:  Anton Guadagno
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1881; Paris, France 
61. Aida: Amore, amore, gaudio, tormento by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Shirley Verrett (Mezzo Soprano), Montserrat Caballé (Soprano)
Conductor:  Anton Guadagno
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1871; Italy 
62. Madama Butterfly: Scuoti quella fronda "Flower Duet" by Giacomo Puccini
Performer:  Shirley Verrett (Mezzo Soprano), Montserrat Caballé (Soprano)
Conductor:  Anton Guadagno
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1904; Italy 
63. La Gioconda: É un anatema by Amilcare Ponchielli
Performer:  Shirley Verrett (Mezzo Soprano), Montserrat Caballé (Soprano)
Conductor:  Anton Guadagno
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1876; Italy 
64. Torquato Tasso: Trono e corona by Gaetano Donizetti
Performer:  Montserrat Caballé (Soprano)
Conductor:  Carlo Felice Cillario
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1833; Italy 
65. Gemma di Vergy: Lascia, Guido, ch'io possa vendicare by Gaetano Donizetti
Performer:  Montserrat Caballé (Soprano)
Conductor:  Carlo Felice Cillario
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1834; Italy 
66. Belisario: Plauso! Voci di gioia by Gaetano Donizetti
Performer:  Montserrat Caballé (Soprano)
Conductor:  Carlo Felice Cillario
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1836; Italy 

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