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The Opera Album / Alagna, Callas, Pavarotti, Gheorghiu, Et Al


Release Date: 08/13/2002 
Label:  Emi Classics   Catalog #: 67830   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Léo DelibesGiacomo PucciniAlfredo CatalaniPietro Mascagni,   ... 
Performer:  Delphine HaidanNatalie DessayPlacido DomingoMaria Callas,   ... 
Conductor:  Michel PlassonJames LevineTullio SerafinGianandrea Gavazzeni,   ... 
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Toulouse Capitole OrchestraPhilharmonia OrchestraRoyal Opera House Covent Garden Orchestra,   ... 
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 2 Hours 29 Mins. 

CD not available: This title is currently only available as an MP3 download.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews

The booklet notes (such as they are, almost two large-type pages) begin: "Welcome to the Opera Album--a celebration of the most famous singers and most popular melodies from the dazzling world of opera." That tells you most of what you need to know about this two-disc compilation, 148 minutes of 37 opera hits from the EMI catalogue. Fortunately that catalogue's an extensive one that includes such greats as Callas (here heard in Catalani's "Ebben? Ne andrò lontana" from La Wally and Norma's "Casta Diva", among others), and current favorites such as the Golden Couple of Gheorghiu and Alagna, and Natalie Dessay, whose Lakmé "Flower Duet" opens the set and whose "Der Hölle Read more Rache" from Magic Flute is one of the most impressive things in it.


There's some miscasting, as in Placido Domingo's "Un aura amorosa" from Mozart's Cosi fan tutte, where his vocal heft and unidiomatic singing do neither him nor the aria much good. Fortunately, the producers also include Domingo's "Celeste Aida" from the 1974 complete Aida with Muti to redress the balance. As with all such unthemed multi-singer compilations, there are some jarring lurches from track to track as we're whipped from one acoustic setting to the next and from scene to out-of-context scene--Verdi's "Anvil Chorus" (Muti and the La Scala chorus) to Dessay's Queen of the Night and then to Traviata's ballroom for Alagna and Gheorghiu in the "Libiamo" duet.


The set should have a cover sticker warning snobs that it's not for them. Who is it for? One, it's for EMI, working yet another compilation set into the mix to generate a few more bucks from its deep catalogue at minimal cost while plugging its current stars in hope that the aura of Callas & Co. will rub off on them. Two, it's for neophytes to the world of opera, attracted by good voices singing good tunes. They may--or may not--graduate to the snob ranks some day, but why not feed them quality alternatives to the Bocellis of the world? Third, it's for opera lovers who may have all this material in their collections but who'd welcome a convenient "greatest hits" album for the car. I'm not ashamed to say that I'm one of them--this set's been a constant treadmill companion, helping defeat the boredom of dreaded exercise. So snobs may sneer, but I say, "let 'em."
--Dan Davis, ClassicsToday.com Read less

Works on This Recording

1. Lakmé: Viens, Mallikà...Sous le dôme épais "Flower Duet" by Léo Delibes
Performer:  Delphine Haidan (Soprano), Natalie Dessay (Soprano)
Conductor:  Michel Plasson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Toulouse Capitole Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1883; France 
2. Tosca: E lucevan le stelle by Giacomo Puccini
Performer:  Placido Domingo (Tenor)
Conductor:  James Levine
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1900; Italy 
3. La Wally: Ebben?... Ne andrò lontana by Alfredo Catalani
Performer:  Maria Callas (Soprano)
Conductor:  Tullio Serafin
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1892; Italy 
Notes: This selection is a monaural recording. 
4. L'Amico Fritz: Suzel, buon dì "Cherry Duet" by Pietro Mascagni
Performer:  Luciano Pavarotti (Tenor), Mirella Freni (Soprano)
Conductor:  Gianandrea Gavazzeni
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1891; Italy 
5. Les contes d'Hoffmann: Belle nuit, o nuit d'amour by Jacques Offenbach
Performer:  Jessye Norman (Soprano), Ann Murray (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  Sylvain Cambreling
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Brussels Théâtre de la Monnaie Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1881; Paris, France 
6. Rusalka, Op. 114/B 203: O moon high up "Song to the moon" by Antonín Dvorák
Performer:  Lucia Popp (Soprano)
Conductor:  Stefan Soltesz
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Munich Radio Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1900; Bohemia 
7. Adriana Lecouvreur: Io son l'umile ancella by Francesco Cilèa
Performer:  Dame Kiri Te Kanawa (Soprano)
Conductor:  Myung-Whun Chung
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1902; Italy 
Notes: This selection begins with "Ecco! respiro appena..." 
8. La Bohème: O soave fanciulla by Giacomo Puccini
Performer:  Angela Gheorghiu (Soprano), Roberto Alagna (Tenor)
Conductor:  Richard Armstrong
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1896; Italy 
9. Madama Butterfly: Un bel dì vedremo by Giacomo Puccini
Performer:  Montserrat Caballé (Soprano)
Conductor:  Sir Charles Mackerras
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1904; Italy 
10. Requiem Mass: Ingemisco by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Luciano Pavarotti (Tenor)
Conductor:  Riccardo Muti
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1874; Italy 
11. Serse, HWV 40: Ombra mai fu "Largo" by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  David Daniels (Countertenor)
Conductor:  Roger Norrington
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1738; London, England 
Notes: This selection begins with "Frondi tenere..." 
12. Le nozze di Figaro, K 492: Non più andrai farfallone amoroso by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Thomas Allen (Baritone)
Conductor:  Riccardo Muti
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1786; Vienna, Austria 
13. Les pêcheurs de perles: Au fond du temple saint by Georges Bizet
Performer:  Ernest Blanc (Baritone), Nicolai Gedda (Tenor)
Conductor:  Pierre Dervaux
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Paris Opéra Comique Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1863; France 
14. Gianni Schicchi: O mio babbino caro by Giacomo Puccini
Performer:  Angela Gheorghiu (Soprano)
Conductor:  Antonio Pappano
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1918; Italy 
15. Rigoletto: La donna è mobile by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Roberto Alagna (Tenor)
Conductor:  Richard Armstrong
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1851; Italy 
16. Il trovatore: Vedi! le fosche notturne "Anvil Chorus" by Giuseppe Verdi
Conductor:  Riccardo Muti
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Chorus
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1853; Italy 
17. Die Zauberflöte, K 620: Der Hölle Rache by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Natalie Dessay (Soprano)
Conductor:  Louis Langrée
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment
Period: Classical 
Written: 1791; Vienna, Austria 
18. La traviata: Libiamo ne' lieti calici "Brindisi" by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Roberto Alagna (Tenor), Angela Gheorghiu (Soprano)
Conductor:  Claudio Abbado
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  London Voices
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1853; Italy 
19. Norma: Casta diva by Vincenzo Bellini
Performer:  Maria Callas (Soprano)
Conductor:  Tullio Serafin
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1831; Italy 
20. Le nozze di Figaro, K 492: Sull' aria...Che soave zeffiretto by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Anna Moffo (Soprano), Elisabeth Schwarzkopf (Soprano)
Conductor:  Carlo Maria Giulini
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1786; Vienna, Austria 
21. Aida: Celeste Aida by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Placido Domingo (Tenor)
Conductor:  Riccardo Muti
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1871; Italy 
Notes: This selection begins with "Se quel guerrier io fossi..." 
22. Tosca: Vissi d'arte, vissi d'amore by Giacomo Puccini
Performer:  Angela Gheorghiu (Soprano)
Conductor:  Antonio Pappano
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1900; Italy 
23. La Bohème: Che gelida manina by Giacomo Puccini
Performer:  Roberto Alagna (Tenor)
Conductor:  Richard Armstrong
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1896; Italy 
24. La Bohème: Si, mi chiamano Mimì by Giacomo Puccini
Performer:  Mirella Freni (Soprano), Nicolai Gedda (Tenor)
Conductor:  Sir Thomas Beecham
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Rome Opera House Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1896; Italy 
25. Carmen: L'amour est un oiseau rebelle "Habañera" by Georges Bizet
Performer:  Victoria de los Angeles (Soprano)
Conductor:  Riccardo Muti
Orchestra/Ensemble:  ORTF National Orchestra,  ORTF National Chorus
Written: 1873-1874 
Notes: Composition written: France (1873 - 1874). 
26. Nabucco: Va, pensiero by Giuseppe Verdi
Conductor:  Riccardo Muti
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Chorus
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1842; Italy 
27. Le nozze di Figaro, K 492: E Susanna non vien...Dove sono by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Elisabeth Schwarzkopf (Soprano)
Conductor:  Carlo Maria Giulini
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1786; Vienna, Austria 
28. Così fan tutte, K 588: Un' aura amorosa by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Placido Domingo (Tenor)
Conductor:  Eugene Kohn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Munich Radio Symphony Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1790; Vienna, Austria 
29. Orfeo ed Euridice: Che farò senza Euridice? by Christoph W. Gluck
Performer:  Anne Sofie von Otter (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  John Eliot Gardiner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Lyon Opera Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1762/1774; Vienna, Austria 
30. Don Giovanni, K 527: Crudele?...Non mi dir, bell' idol mio by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Dame Joan Sutherland (Soprano)
Conductor:  Carlo Maria Giulini
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1787; Prague, Czech Republ 
31. La Bohème: O Mimì, tu più non torni by Giacomo Puccini
Performer:  Robert Merrill (Baritone), Jussi Björling (Tenor)
Conductor:  Sir Thomas Beecham
Orchestra/Ensemble:  RCA Victor Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1896; Italy 
Notes: This selection is a monaural recording. 
32. Andrea Chénier: La mamma morta by Umberto Giordano
Performer:  Maria Callas (Soprano)
Conductor:  Tullio Serafin
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1896; Italy 
Notes: This selection is a monaural recording. 
33. Porgy and Bess: Summertime by George Gershwin
Performer:  Dame Kiri Te Kanawa (Soprano)
Conductor:  John McGlinn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York New Princess Theatre Orchestra,  New York Choral Artists
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1935; USA 
34. Tannhäuser: Dich, teure Halle by Richard Wagner
Performer:  Jessye Norman (Soprano)
Conductor:  Klaus Tennstedt
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1845/1861; Germany 
35. Turandot: Nessun dorma! by Giacomo Puccini
Performer:  José Carreras (Tenor)
Conductor:  Alain Lombard
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Rhine Opera Chorus
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1926; Italy 
36. I Pagliacci: Recitar!...Vesti la giubba by Ruggero Leoncavallo
Performer:  José Carreras (Tenor)
Conductor:  Riccardo Muti
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1892; Italy 
37. Il barbiere di Siviglia: Largo al factotum by Gioachino Rossini
Performer:  Thomas Hampson (Baritone)
Conductor:  Gianluigi Gelmetti
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Toscana Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1816; Italy 

Sound Samples

Lakmé, ACT 1: Dôme épais le jasmin à la rose s'assemble (Lakmé/Mallika)
Tosca (1985 Digital Remaster): E lucevan le stelle
La Wally (1997 Digital Remaster): Ebben?...Ne andrò lontana
L'amico Fritz, Act II: Suzel, buon di
Les Contes d'Hoffmann, ACT FOUR: Belle nuit, ô nuit d'amour (Nicklausse/Giulietta/Choeurs)
Rusalka: Song to the Moon (Act I)
Pagliacci (1989 Digital Remaster): Recitar!...Vesti la giubba (Act I) (1989 Digital Remaster)
Adriana Lecouvreur: Ecco: respiro appena ... Io son l'umile ancella (Act 1)
La Bohème, 'Bohemian Life': O soave fanciulla
Madama Butterfly (1995 Digital Remaster), ACT 2: Un bel dì vedremo
Messa da Requiem, Sequenza:: Ingemisco
Xerxes - Frondi tenere ... Ombra mai fù: Recitativo: Frondi tenere
Le Nozze di Figaro, ACT 1: Non più andrai
Les Pêcheurs de perles (1893 version) (1989 Digital Remaster): Zurga, quand tous deux....Au fond du temple saint (Nadir, Zurga)
Gianni Schicchi: O mio babbino caro (Lauretta)
Rigoletto: La donna è mobile
Il Trovatore: Vedi! le fosche (Anvil Chorus)
Die Zauberflöte K620: Der Hölle Rache
La traviata: Libiamo, ne' lieti calici (Alfredo/Tutti/Violetta - Act I)
Norma (1997 Digital Remaster), ACT 1, Scene 1: Casta diva (Norma/Coro)
Le nozze di Figaro K492 (1989 Digital Remaster), Atto Terzo: Duettino: Sull'aria ... (Susanna/Contessa)
Aida (2001 Digital Remaster): Se quel guerrier io fossi .... Celeste Aida
Tosca, Act 2: Vissi d'arte (Tosca)
La Bohème, 'Bohemian Life': Che gelida manina
La Bohème (1991 Digital Remaster), ATTO PRIMO/ACT 1/ERSTER AKT/PREMIER ACTE: Sì, mi chiamano Mimì (Mimì/Rodolfo)
Carmen (2000 Digital Remaster): Récit & Habanera: Quand je vous aimerai?...L'amour est un oiseau rebelle
Nabucco: Va pensiero, sull'ali dorata
Le Nozze di Figaro K492 (1989 Digital Remaster): Dove sono
Così fan tutte K588: Un' aura amorosa (Act 1)
Orphée et Eurydice, ACT 3, Scène 1 (Eurydice et Orphée): Air: J'ai perdu mon Eurydice (Orphée)
Don Giovanni (Act II): Non mi dir
La Bohème (1997 Digital Remaster): O Mimì, tu più non torni (Act 4)
Andrea Chenier (1997 Digital Remaster): La mamma morta
Il Barbiere di Siviglia, ATTO PRIMO: Cavatina: La ran le lerea ... Largo al factotum (Figaro)
Porgy and Bess: Summertime (DuBose Hayward)
Tannhäuser: Dich, teure Halle, grüss' ich wieder (Elisabeth's Greeting) (Act II)
Turandot (Act III) (1991 Digital Remaster): Nessun dorma

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 Great Album June 20, 2013 By barbara marcus (flushing, NY) See All My Reviews "Year in review of opera's best. Well worth it and an easy download to boot! Bravo" Report Abuse
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