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Vissi D'arte - The Magnificent Voice Of Montserrat Caballé


Release Date: 02/10/2003 
Label:  Decca   Catalog #: 473704   Spars Code: ADD 
Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus MozartGiuseppe VerdiGiacomo MeyerbeerGiacomo Puccini,   ... 
Performer:  Montserrat CaballéAlexander OliverJosé CarrerasCarlo Bergonzi,   ... 
Conductor:  Sir Colin DavisLamberto GardelliReynald GiovaninettiZubin Mehta,   ... 
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Opera House Covent Garden OrchestraAmbrosian SingersNew Philharmonia Orchestra,   ... 
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 2 Hours 36 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

This generously filled (157 minutes) two-disc set covers a cross-section of Montserrat Caballé's recordings made between 1970 and 1984, spanning most of her prime years. And what a prime! A lyric soprano irresistible in some parts of the spinto repertoire (as in her EMI Aida with Muti), she was incomparable among her peers for breath control that enabled sustained arcs of melting legato phrasing, soft trills, and pianissimos the likes of which had not been heard since Milanov's heyday. She had the vocal range to produce a full low register, a warm middle, and a brilliant top. Her flaws were more sins of omission than commission--a tendency, at least on some of her studio recordings, to slip into blandness, relying on the sheer beauty Read more of her voice to carry the load. While she was high among the top proponents of the Verdi and Puccini roles she sang, her full strengths were revealed in the bel canto operas where her technical virtuosity allowed her to spin ravishing sounds, easily heard throughout this set.


Caballé's bel canto repertoire is somewhat scanted in Decca's collection. We get Adalgisa's duet with Sutherland's Norma, although Caballé was a stunning Norma herself. But she's as stunning an Adalgisa, a role usually taken by mezzos. Here Caballé characterizes Norma's young rival well, warmly shading her lines in "Mira, O Norma" to perfection. She could have given us an unforgettable Lucia too, but the excerpts from her misbegotten Philips recording illustrate conductor Jésus Lopez-Cobos' quaint notion that performances of Donizetti operas should adhere strictly to the Urtext, despite the expectations of the composer that performers would embellish the bare notes. Despite some beautiful if necessarily austere singing, a more traditional approach is something Caballé could, and should have done wonderfully.


Freed of such artificial straitjackets, the selections from Rossini's Elisabetta display her feeling for the idiom. Early Verdi was raw meat for her too, and the scenes from Il corsaro, I masnadieri, and Luisa Miller, especially the latter, where she spins delicately ravishing pianissimos, are superb. She's also good as Amelia in the Un ballo in maschera scenes, dueting fabulously with a golden-voiced José Carreras. But her beautifully sung scene at the graveyard suffers from Colin Davis' bland conducting and her own failure to fully convey Amelia's feelings of terror. In other words, great as Caballé was, she was no Callas.


Caballé starred in several other Davis-conducted complete operas on Philips, including the Tosca from which the set's title aria derives. It suffers slightly from rhythmic slackness, but that incomparable voice pours out such lovely long, effortless lines you just want to keep hitting the repeat button. There's so much more here that ought to be mentioned--her Fiordiligi from Cosi fan tutte, her stunning Turnadot Liú, La Gioconda's "Suicidio!", even her final scene from Strauss' Salome--but it's better to just get the set and hear them yourself. If you do, you'll also get some sterling partners in duets and trios--Bergonzi, Carreras, Pavarotti, and others of that ilk.


The only caveat is to check whether you have most of these 49 tracks, many of them drawn from still-available complete opera sets. If you do, then this set becomes more a convenient way to dip into Caballé's art than the indispensable purchase it should be for Caballé beginners. That, of course, raises the issue of endlessly deleting, recycling, and repackaging that the industry has discovered as a way to milk more juice from its back catalogue. But let's leave that one for another day; meanwhile, enjoy a great voice.
--Dan Davis, ClassicsToday.com Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Così fan tutte, K 588: Temerari!...Come scoglio by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Montserrat Caballé (Soprano)
Conductor:  Sir Colin Davis
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1790; Vienna, Austria 
2.
Così fan tutte, K 588: Ei parte...Per pietà ben mio by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Montserrat Caballé (Soprano)
Conductor:  Sir Colin Davis
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1790; Vienna, Austria 
3.
Il corsaro: Nè sulla terra creatura alcuna by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Montserrat Caballé (Soprano), Alexander Oliver (Tenor)
Conductor:  Lamberto Gardelli
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ambrosian Singers,  New Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1848; Italy 
4.
Il corsaro: Ah conforto è sol la speme by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Alexander Oliver (Tenor), Montserrat Caballé (Soprano)
Conductor:  Lamberto Gardelli
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ambrosian Singers,  New Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1848; Italy 
5.
Il corsaro: La terra, il ciel m'abborrino by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Montserrat Caballé (Soprano), José Carreras (Tenor)
Conductor:  Lamberto Gardelli
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1848; Italy 
6.
I masnadieri: Venerabile Padre by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Montserrat Caballé (Soprano)
Conductor:  Lamberto Gardelli
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1847; Italy 
7.
I masnadieri: Lo sguardo avea degli angeli by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Montserrat Caballé (Soprano)
Conductor:  Lamberto Gardelli
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1847; Italy 
8.
I masnadieri: Qual mare, qual terra...Lassu, lassu by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Montserrat Caballé (Soprano), Carlo Bergonzi (Tenor)
Conductor:  Lamberto Gardelli
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1847; Italy 
9.
Les Huguenots: O beau pays de la Touraine by Giacomo Meyerbeer
Performer:  Montserrat Caballé (Soprano)
Conductor:  Reynald Giovaninetti
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1836; Germany 
10.
Turandot: Signore, ascolta by Giacomo Puccini
Performer:  Montserrat Caballé (Soprano)
Conductor:  Zubin Mehta
Orchestra/Ensemble:  John Alldis Choir,  New Philharmonia Orchestra,  Wandsworth School Boys' Choir
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1926; Italy 
11.
Turandot: Tu, che di gel sei cinta by Giacomo Puccini
Performer:  Montserrat Caballé (Soprano)
Conductor:  Zubin Mehta
Orchestra/Ensemble:  John Alldis Choir,  New Philharmonia Orchestra,  Wandsworth School Boys' Choir
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1926; Italy 
12.
La Gioconda: Suicidio! by Amilcare Ponchielli
Performer:  Montserrat Caballé (Soprano)
Conductor:  Bruno Bartoletti
Orchestra/Ensemble:  National Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1876; Italy 
Notes: This selection is a DDD recording. 
13.
La Gioconda: La barca s'avvicina... i miei compagni by Amilcare Ponchielli
Performer:  Montserrat Caballé (Soprano), Luciano Pavarotti (Tenor), Agnes Baltsa (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  Bruno Bartoletti
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Opera Chorus,  National Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1876; Italy 
Notes: This selection is a DDD recording. 
14.
Andrea Chénier: La mamma morta by Umberto Giordano
Performer:  Montserrat Caballé (Soprano)
Conductor:  Riccardo Chailly
Orchestra/Ensemble:  National Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1896; Italy 
Notes: This selection is a DDD recording. 
15.
Andrea Chénier: Vicino a te by Umberto Giordano
Performer:  Luciano Pavarotti (Tenor), Montserrat Caballé (Soprano)
Conductor:  Riccardo Chailly
Orchestra/Ensemble:  National Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1896; Italy 
Notes: This selection is a DDD recording. 
16.
Andrea Chénier: La nostra morte è il trionfo dell'amor! by Umberto Giordano
Performer:  Montserrat Caballé (Soprano), Luciano Pavarotti (Tenor), Giuseppe Morresi (Bass Baritone)
Conductor:  Riccardo Chailly
Orchestra/Ensemble:  National Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1896; Italy 
Notes: This selection is a DDD recording. 
17.
Un ballo in maschera: Ecco l'orrido campo...Ma dall' arido stelo divulsa by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Montserrat Caballé (Soprano)
Conductor:  Sir Colin Davis
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1859; Italy 
18.
Un ballo in maschera: M'ami, m'ami by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  José Carreras (Tenor), Montserrat Caballé (Soprano)
Conductor:  Sir Colin Davis
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1859; Italy 
19.
Luisa Miller: Padre, ricevi l'estremo addio by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Bonaldo Giaiotti (Bass), Luciano Pavarotti (Tenor), Montserrat Caballé (Soprano)
Conductor:  Peter Maag,  Riccardo Chailly
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Opera Chorus,  National Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1849; Italy 
20.
Mefistofele: Notte cupa, truce by Arrigo Boito
Performer:  Montserrat Caballé (Soprano)
Conductor:  Oliviero de Fabritiis
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Opera Chorus,  National Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1868; Italy 
Notes: This selection is a DDD recording. 
21.
Tosca: Vissi d'arte, vissi d'amore by Giacomo Puccini
Performer:  Montserrat Caballé (Soprano), Ingvar Wixell (Baritone)
Conductor:  Sir Colin Davis
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1900; Italy 
22.
Louise: Depuis le jour by Gustave Charpentier
Performer:  Montserrat Caballé (Soprano)
Conductor:  Reynald Giovaninetti
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1900; France 
23.
Lucia di Lammermoor: Verranno a te sull' aure by Gaetano Donizetti
Performer:  José Carreras (Tenor), Montserrat Caballé (Soprano)
Conductor:  Jesús Lopez-Cobos
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1835; Italy 
24.
Lucia di Lammermoor: Il dolce suono "Mad Scene" by Gaetano Donizetti
Performer:  Vincenzo Bello (Tenor), Samuel Ramey (Bass), Montserrat Caballé (Soprano)
Conductor:  Jesús Lopez-Cobos
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ambrosian Opera Chorus
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1835; Italy 
Notes: This selection is followed by "Ardon gl'incensi..." 
25.
Norma: Mira, o Norma by Vincenzo Bellini
Performer:  Dame Joan Sutherland (Soprano), Montserrat Caballé (Soprano)
Conductor:  Richard Bonynge
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Welsh National Opera Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1831; Italy 
Notes: This selection is a DDD recording.
This selection begins with "Mi chiami, o Norma!..." and is followed by "Si, fino all'ore estreme..." 
26.
Salome, Op. 54: Final Scene by Richard Strauss
Performer:  Montserrat Caballé (Soprano)
Conductor:  Leonard Bernstein
Orchestra/Ensemble:  ORTF National Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1903-1905; Germany 
27.
Elisabetta, regina d'Inghilterra: Quanto è grato all'alma by Gioachino Rossini
Performer:  Montserrat Caballé (Soprano)
Conductor:  Gianfranco Masini
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  Ambrosian Singers
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1815; Italy 
28.
Elisabetta, regina d'Inghilterra: Questo core ben by Gioachino Rossini
Performer:  Montserrat Caballé (Soprano)
Conductor:  Gianfranco Masini
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  Ambrosian Singers
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1815; Italy 

Sound Samples

Così fan tutte ossia La scuola degli amanti, K.588 - Act 1: "Temerari! Sortite!" - "Come scoglio!"
Così fan tutte / Act 2: "Ei parte... senti... ah no!"
Così fan tutte / Act 2: "Per pietà, ben mio, perdona"
Il Corsaro - Act 2: "Né sulla terra creatura alcuna" - "Vola talor dal carcere" - "Seide celebra non gioia e festa"
Il Corsaro - Act 2: "Ah conforto è sol la speme"
Il Corsaro - Act 3: "La terra, il ciel m'abborino..."
I Masnadieri / Act 1: "Venerabile o padre"
I Masnadieri / Act 1: "Lo sguardo avea degli angeli"
I Masnadieri / Act 3: "Qual mare, qual terra"
Elisabetta, Regina d'Inghilterra / Act 1: "Quant'è grato all'alma mia"
Elisabetta, Regina d'Inghilterra / Act 1: "Questo cor ben lo comprende"
Les Huguenots / Act 2: O beau pays de la Touraine
Turandot / Act 1: Signore, ascolta
Turandot / Act 3: Tu che di gel sei cinta
La Gioconda / Act 4: Suicidio!
La Gioconda / Act 4: La barca s'avvicina
Andrea Chénier / Act 3: La mamma morta
Andrea Chénier / Act 4: Vicino a te
Andrea Chénier / Act 4: La nostra morte è il trionfo dell'amor
Un ballo in maschera / Act 2: "Ecco l'orrido campo"
Un ballo in maschera / Act 2: "Ma dall'arido stelo divulsa"
Un ballo in maschera / Act 2: "M'ami, m'ami"
Luisa Miller / Act 3: "Padre, ricevi l'estremo addio"
Mefistofele / Act 4: Notte cupa, truce
Tosca / Act 2: "Vissi d'arte, vissi d'amore"
Louise / Act 3: "Depuis le jour"
Lucia di Lammermoor / Act 1: "Verranno a te sull'aure"
Lucia di Lammermoor / Act 3: "Il dolce suono"
Lucia di Lammermoor / Act 3: "Ardon gl'incensi"
Norma / Act 2: Mi chiami, o Norma!
Norma / Act 2: Deh! con te, con te li prendi
Norma / Act 2: Mira, o Norma
Norma / Act 2: Si, fino all'ore estreme
Salome, Op.54 / Scene 4: "Es ist kein Laut zu vernehmen"

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