WGBH Radio WGBH Radio theclassicalstation.org

The Very Best Of Montserrat Caballé


Release Date: 04/22/2003 
Label:  Emi Classics   Catalog #: 75891   Spars Code: ADD 
Composer:  Giuseppe VerdiArrigo BoitoPietro MascagniJoaquin Turina,   ... 
Performer:  Montserrat CaballéElisabeth BainbridgeThomas AllenAstrid Varnay,   ... 
Conductor:  Anton GuadagnoCarlo Maria GiuliniJulius RudelRiccardo Muti,   ... 
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic OrchestraRoyal Opera House Covent Garden OrchestraLondon Symphony Orchestra,   ... 
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 2 Hours 32 Mins. 

In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews

Unlike some of the titles in EMI's "The Very Best Of ..." series, the Montserrat Caballé entry really does include many of her very best recordings. They're mostly found on Disc 2, whose 75 minutes are shared between Puccini and Bellini arias and include some of the most glorious soprano singing you'll ever hear. Ten of the 11 Puccini items are newly transferred and constitute a great improvement over previous reissues, the newly opened sound ameliorating some of the closed-in quality of those discs and lending bloom and freshness to Caballé's voice. This is particularly telling in "Vissi d'arte" and "Un bel di", though it's everywhere apparent to those familiar with her 1970 all-Puccini recital Read more with Charles Mackerras' idiomatic conducting. Only the aria from Le Villi is missing from that disc, replaced by Turandot's "In questa reggia" from her later complete version with Alain Lombard. Thus, this set includes a sample of her Liù ("Signor ascolta") and her ice-Empress, both roles she sang on stage.


In the excerpts from Bellini's I puritani with Muti and Il pirata with Gavazzeni we get coloratura fireworks of the sort she would toss off effortlessly, along with ravishing pianissimos and stunning breath control. If Caballé sometimes sounds understated alongside Callas' versions, so does everyone else, and her technical aplomb and tonal beauty can't be faulted.


If Disc 2 includes many of Caballé's many "very bests", so does the first disc, albeit with some items that are just below that level. It's curious for example that EMI has chosen the Aida arias ("Ritorna vincitor" and "O patria mia") from a 1971 recital disc with Gaudagno in preference to excerpting them from her excellent complete recording with Muti made a few years later, where she exhibits far more passion and smoother sustained high notes.


But then there's her wonderful "Tu che le vanità" from the complete Don Carlo with Giulini, and a moving "Sombre forêt" from Rossini's William Tell with Gardelli, among other highlights. Also included are delicious Spanish songs, in which she excelled--Turina's "Canto a Sevilla" and Montsalvatge's "Cinco canciones negras"--with surprisingly idiomatic piano accompaniments by Alexis Weissenberg. Unless you already have most of these oft-reissued selections, you need this set.
--Dan Davis, ClassicsToday.com Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Aida: Ritorna vincitor! by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Montserrat Caballé (Soprano)
Conductor:  Anton Guadagno
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1871; Italy 
Length: 6 Minutes 17 Secs. 
2.
Aida: O patria mia by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Montserrat Caballé (Soprano)
Conductor:  Anton Guadagno
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1871; Italy 
Length: 6 Minutes 56 Secs. 
3.
La forza del destino: Pace, pace, mio Dio by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Montserrat Caballé (Soprano)
Conductor:  Anton Guadagno
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1862/1869; Italy 
Length: 5 Minutes 35 Secs. 
4.
Macbeth: Una macchia è qui tuttora "Sleepwalking Scene" by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Elisabeth Bainbridge (Mezzo Soprano), Thomas Allen (Baritone), Montserrat Caballé (Soprano)
Conductor:  Anton Guadagno
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1847/1865; Italy 
Length: 6 Minutes 27 Secs. 
5.
Don Carlos: Tu, che la vanitá conoscesti del mondo by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Montserrat Caballé (Soprano)
Conductor:  Carlo Maria Giulini
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1867/1884; Italy 
Length: 11 Minutes 2 Secs. 
6.
Ave Maria by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Montserrat Caballé (Soprano)
Conductor:  Anton Guadagno
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1880; Italy 
Length: 4 Minutes 22 Secs. 
7.
Mefistofele: L'altra notte in fondo al mare by Arrigo Boito
Performer:  Montserrat Caballé (Soprano)
Conductor:  Julius Rudel
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1868; Italy 
Length: 6 Minutes 24 Secs. 
8.
Cavalleria Rusticana: Voi lo sapete, o Mamma by Pietro Mascagni
Performer:  Astrid Varnay (Soprano), Montserrat Caballé (Soprano)
Conductor:  Riccardo Muti
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1890; Italy 
Length: 4 Minutes 0 Secs. 
9.
Canto a Sevilla, Op. 37 by Joaquin Turina
Performer:  Alexis Weissenberg (Piano), Montserrat Caballé (Soprano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1927; Spain 
Length: 3 Minutes 55 Secs. 
10.
Canciones negras (5): no 1, Cuba dentro de un piano by Xavier Montsalvatge
Performer:  Montserrat Caballé (Soprano), Alexis Weissenberg (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1945; Spain 
Length: 4 Minutes 18 Secs. 
11.
Canciones negras (5): no 3, Chévere by Xavier Montsalvatge
Performer:  Montserrat Caballé (Soprano), Alexis Weissenberg (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1945; Spain 
Length: 1 Minutes 59 Secs. 
12.
Canciones negras (5): no 2, Punto de Habanera by Xavier Montsalvatge
Performer:  Montserrat Caballé (Soprano), Alexis Weissenberg (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1945; Spain 
Length: 1 Minutes 55 Secs. 
13.
Canciones negras (5): no 4, Canción de cuna para dormir a un negrito by Xavier Montsalvatge
Performer:  Montserrat Caballé (Soprano), Alexis Weissenberg (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1945; Spain 
Length: 2 Minutes 47 Secs. 
14.
Canciones negras (5): no 5, Canto negro by Xavier Montsalvatge
Performer:  Montserrat Caballé (Soprano), Alexis Weissenberg (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1945; Spain 
Length: 1 Minutes 9 Secs. 
15.
Manon Lescaut: In quelle trine morbide by Giacomo Puccini
Performer:  Montserrat Caballé (Soprano)
Conductor:  Bruno Bartoletti
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1893; Italy 
Length: 2 Minutes 18 Secs. 
16.
La Bohème: Donde lieta uscì by Giacomo Puccini
Performer:  Montserrat Caballé (Soprano)
Conductor:  Sir Charles Mackerras
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1896; Italy 
Length: 3 Minutes 24 Secs. 
17.
Tosca: Vissi d'arte, vissi d'amore by Giacomo Puccini
Performer:  Montserrat Caballé (Soprano)
Conductor:  Sir Charles Mackerras
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1900; Italy 
Length: 3 Minutes 36 Secs. 
18.
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 
Length: 5 Minutes 24 Secs. 
19.
Madama Butterfly: Tu, tu, piccolo iddio [Death of Butterfly] by Giacomo Puccini
Performer:  Montserrat Caballé (Soprano)
Conductor:  Sir Charles Mackerras
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1904; Italy 
Length: 2 Minutes 35 Secs. 
20.
Turandot: Signore, ascolta by Giacomo Puccini
Performer:  Montserrat Caballé (Soprano)
Conductor:  Sir Charles Mackerras
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1926; Italy 
Length: 2 Minutes 29 Secs. 
21.
Turandot: In questa reggia by Giacomo Puccini
Performer:  Montserrat Caballé (Soprano)
Conductor:  Sir Charles Mackerras
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1926; Italy 
Length: 7 Minutes 6 Secs. 
22.
Turandot: Tu, che di gel sei cinta by Giacomo Puccini
Performer:  Montserrat Caballé (Soprano)
Conductor:  Sir Charles Mackerras
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1926; Italy 
Length: 2 Minutes 28 Secs. 
23.
Gianni Schicchi: O mio babbino caro by Giacomo Puccini
Performer:  Montserrat Caballé (Soprano)
Conductor:  Sir Charles Mackerras
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1918; Italy 
Length: 2 Minutes 44 Secs. 
24.
La Rondine: Ch'il bel sogno di Doretta by Giacomo Puccini
Performer:  Montserrat Caballé (Soprano)
Conductor:  Sir Charles Mackerras
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1917; Italy 
Length: 3 Minutes 5 Secs. 
25.
I puritani: Son vergin vezzosa "Polacca" by Vincenzo Bellini
Performer:  Agostino Ferrin (Bass), Alfredo Kraus (Tenor), Julia Hamari (Mezzo Soprano),
Montserrat Caballé (Soprano), Stefan Elenkov (Bass)
Conductor:  Riccardo Muti
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ambrosian Opera Chorus,  Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1835; Italy 
Length: 5 Minutes 21 Secs. 
26.
I puritani: Qui la voce sua soave by Vincenzo Bellini
Performer:  Montserrat Caballé (Soprano), Agostino Ferrin (Bass), Matteo Manuguerra (Baritone)
Conductor:  Riccardo Muti
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1835; Italy 
Length: 10 Minutes 27 Secs. 
Notes: This selection begins with "Rendetemi la speme..." 
27.
I puritani: Vien, diletto, è in ciel la luna by Vincenzo Bellini
Performer:  Matteo Manuguerra (Baritone), Montserrat Caballé (Soprano), Agostino Ferrin (Bass)
Conductor:  Riccardo Muti
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1835; Italy 
Length: 6 Minutes 27 Secs. 
28.
Il pirata: Oh! s'io potessi dissipar le nubi by Vincenzo Bellini
Performer:  Flora Rafanelli (Mezzo Soprano), Montserrat Caballé (Soprano)
Conductor:  Gianandrea Gavazzeni
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Italian Radio Symphony Orchestra Rome,  Italian Radio Chorus Rome
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1827; Italy 
Length: 4 Minutes 13 Secs. 
29.
Il pirata: Col sorriso d'innocenza by Vincenzo Bellini
Performer:  Montserrat Caballé (Soprano)
Conductor:  Riccardo Muti
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Italian Radio Symphony Orchestra Rome,  Italian Radio Chorus Rome
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1827; Italy 
Length: 3 Minutes 28 Secs. 
30.
Il pirata: Oh! sole! ti vela by Vincenzo Bellini
Performer:  Flora Rafanelli (Mezzo Soprano), Montserrat Caballé (Soprano)
Conductor:  Riccardo Muti
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Italian Radio Symphony Orchestra Rome,  Italian Radio Chorus Rome
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1827; Italy 
Length: 4 Minutes 4 Secs. 
31.
La Bohème: Si, mi chiamano Mimì by Giacomo Puccini
Performer:  Montserrat Caballé (Soprano)
Conductor:  Sir Charles Mackerras
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1896; Italy 
Length: 5 Minutes 15 Secs. 
32.
Guillaume Tell: Sombre forêt by Gioachino Rossini
Performer:  Montserrat Caballé (Soprano)
Conductor:  Lamberto Gardelli
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Length: 8 Minutes 13 Secs. 
Notes: This selection begins with "Ils s'eloignent enfin..." 

Sound Samples

Aida (1995 Digital Remaster): Ritorna vincitor! (Act 1)
Aida (1995 Digital Remaster): Qui, Radamès, verrà! ... O cieli azzuri (Act 3)
La Forza del Destino: Pace, pace (Act 4)
Macbeth (1988 Digital Remaster): Una macchia è qui tuttora! (Atto IV)
Don Carlo (1988 Digital Remaster): Tu che le vanità
Otello, Act IV: Ave Maria
Mefistofele (1987 Digital Remaster): L'altra notte in fondo al mare (Act 3)
Cavalleria Rusticana (1987 Digital Remaster): Voi lo sapete, o mamma (Santuzza/Mamma Lucia)
Guillaume Tell, Acte II (1988 Digital Remaster): Ils s'éloignent enfin....Sombre forêt
Canto a Sevilla Op. 37 (2001 Digital Remaster): Las Fuenecitas del Parque
Cinco Canciones Negras (2001 Digital Remaster): Cuba dentro de un piano (R.Alberti)
Cinco Canciones Negras (2001 Digital Remaster): Chevère (N.Guillén)
Cinco Canciones Negras (2001 Digital Remaster): Punto de Habanera (N.Lujan)
Cinco Canciones Negras (2001 Digital Remaster): Canción de cuna para dormir a un negrito (I.P. Valdes)
Cinco Canciones Negras (2001 Digital Remaster): Canto negro (N.Guillén)
Manon Lescaut (1993 Digital Remaster), ATTO SECONDO/ACT 2/ZWEITER AKT/DEUXIEME ACTE: In quelle trine morbide (Manon)
La Bohème (1987 Digital Remaster): Sì. Mi chiamano Mimì
La Bohème (1987 Digital Remaster): Donde lieta uscì (Mimì's Farewell)
Tosca (2002 Digital Remaster): Vissi d'arte
Madama Butterfly Lib. Giacosa and Illica (2002 Digital Remaster), ACT 2: Un bel dì vedremo
Madama Butterfly Lib. Giacosa and Illica (2002 Digital Remaster): Tu? tu? piccolo iddio
Turandot (2002 Digital Remaster): Signore, ascolta
Turandot (1994 Digital Remaster), Act 2, Scene 2: In questa reggia (Turandot, Corwd, Calaf)
Turandot (2002 Digital Remaster): Tu che di gel sei cincta
Gianni Schicchi (2002 Digital Remaster): O mio babbino caro (Lauretta)
La Rondine Act I: Chi il bel sogno di Doretta (2002 Digital Remaster)
I Puritani (1988 Digital Remaster), Atto Primo, Scena terza: Son vergin vezzosa (Elvira/Enrichetta/Arturo/Giorgio/Coro)
I Puritani (1988 Digital Remaster), Atto Secondo: O rendetemi la speme ... Qui la voce sua soave mi chiamava ...
I Puritani (1988 Digital Remaster), Atto Secondo: Tornò il riso sul suo aspetto
Il Pirata (1992 Digital Remaster): Oh! s'io potessi dissipar le nubi..
Il Pirata (1992 Digital Remaster): Col sorriso d'innocenza
Il Pirata (1992 Digital Remaster): Qual suono ferale echeggia

Customer Reviews

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




YOU MUST BE A SUBSCRIBER TO LISTEN - TRY IT FREE!
Listen to all your favorite classical music for only $20/month.
Sign up for your monthly subscription service and get unlimited access to the most comprehensive digital catalog of classical music in the world - new releases. bestsellers, advanced releases and more.
Aleady a subscriber? Sign In