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Ben Heppner - Great Tenor Arias / Roberto Abbado, Munich


Release Date: 08/15/1995 
Label:  Rca Victor Red Seal Catalog #: 62504   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Giuseppe VerdiGiacomo PucciniGeorges BizetGiacomo Meyerbeer,   ... 
Performer:  Ben HeppnerJürgen Musser
Conductor:  Roberto Abbado
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Munich Radio Symphony OrchestraBavarian Radio Chorus
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 1 Mins. 

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This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.

Notes and Editorial Reviews

A most rewarding recital. Heppner's sound is similar to Domingo's – consistently firm, plush tone brought to bear in a musically faultless approach, with an understanding of the style required.

In discussing Heppner's attributes, the insert-note writer on the RCA issue sprays about the names of tenors of the past like confetti. In the event the name that immediately came to mind in listening to this comprehensive and eclectic collection of arias and excerpts is that of his older contemporary, Domingo. Their timbre is similar as is their vocal manner — consistently firm, plush tone brought to bear in a musically faultless approach to the piece in hand, with a fair understanding of the style required. A further likeness
Read more comes in Heppner's willingness to tackle Italian, French and German repertory with equal aplomb.

Heppner immediately wins approval by beginning with Marcello's seldom-heard aria from Leoncavallo's Boheme, into which he pours forth generosity of tone and heart. Each of the Verdi items benefits from long-breathed phrasing, a sensitive attention to dynamic levels and excellent Italian. More specifically I like the plangent phrasing of the recitative to Alvaro's aria and the forthright attack on its high-lying phrases, and the manner in which he shades away the high B flat at the end of "Celeste Aida". The Puccini arias are, if anything, even better. The Manon Lescaut and Fanciulla arias bear comparison with either Björling or Domingo in this music, and his "Nessun dorma!" sounds firmer, more Italianate than his performance of it on his complete Turandot (RCA, 12/93). Both pieces from Andrea Chenier catch the mood of the moment — but why have RCA placed the Act 1 Improvviso after the Act 4 solo?

Heppner is less confident and idiomatic in French, which may account for a fluently sung but matter-of-fact Flower Song and for a want of sheer flair in "O Paradis", where the big phrase doesn't open out as it should: here any comparison with Caruso is inadvisable. The Massenet pieces are better. John the Baptist's sad aria from Herodiade brings the most plangent performance of all, not least at "Je ne regrette rien". The Cid Prayer begins, as it should, with an inward recitative and, as in all Heppner's performances, he manages to think himself into character and situation: this is no machismo tenor, but Rodrigue himself before us. As a whole this is a most rewarding recital, well accompanied and warmly recorded.

-- Gramophone [11/1995]

Selections recorded September 27-October 2, 1993, July 4-8 1994, and December 6-8, 1994.
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Works on This Recording

1.
Luisa Miller: Quando le sere al placido by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Ben Heppner (Tenor)
Conductor:  Roberto Abbado
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Munich Radio Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1849; Italy 
Venue:  Herkulessaal, Residenz, Munich, Germany 
Length: 4 Minutes 51 Secs. 
Language: Italian 
Notes: This selection begins "Oh! fede negar potessi..." 
2.
La forza del destino: O, tu che in seno agli angeli by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Jürgen Musser (Clarinet), Ben Heppner (Tenor)
Conductor:  Roberto Abbado
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Munich Radio Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1862/1869; Italy 
Venue:  Herkulessaal, Residenz, Munich, Germany 
Length: 8 Minutes 47 Secs. 
Language: Italian 
Notes: This selection begins "La vita è inferno all'infelice..." 
3.
Aida: Celeste Aida by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Ben Heppner (Tenor)
Conductor:  Roberto Abbado
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Munich Radio Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1871; Italy 
Venue:  Herkulessaal, Residenz, Munich, Germany 
Length: 4 Minutes 12 Secs. 
Language: Italian 
Notes: This selection begins "Se quel guerrier io fossi!..." 
4.
Il trovatore: Ah si, ben mio by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Ben Heppner (Tenor)
Conductor:  Roberto Abbado
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Munich Radio Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1853; Italy 
Venue:  Herkulessaal, Residenz, Munich, Germany 
Length: 3 Minutes 6 Secs. 
Language: Italian 
5.
Il trovatore: Di quella pira by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Ben Heppner (Tenor)
Conductor:  Roberto Abbado
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bavarian Radio Chorus,  Munich Radio Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1853; Italy 
Venue:  Herkulessaal, Residenz, Munich, Germany 
Length: 3 Minutes 14 Secs. 
Language: Italian 
6.
Manon Lescaut: Donna non vidi mai by Giacomo Puccini
Performer:  Ben Heppner (Tenor)
Conductor:  Roberto Abbado
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Munich Radio Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1893; Italy 
Venue:  Herkulessaal, Residenz, Munich, Germany 
Length: 2 Minutes 17 Secs. 
Language: Italian 
7.
Turandot: Nessun dorma! by Giacomo Puccini
Performer:  Ben Heppner (Tenor)
Conductor:  Roberto Abbado
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bavarian Radio Chorus,  Munich Radio Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1926; Italy 
Venue:  Herkulessaal, Residenz, Munich, Germany 
Length: 3 Minutes 3 Secs. 
Language: Italian 
8.
La Fanciulla del West: Ch'ella mi creda libero e lontano by Giacomo Puccini
Performer:  Ben Heppner (Tenor)
Conductor:  Roberto Abbado
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Munich Radio Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1910; Italy 
Venue:  Herkulessaal, Residenz, Munich, Germany 
Length: 2 Minutes 11 Secs. 
Language: Italian 
9.
Carmen: La fleur que tu m'avais jetée "Flower song" by Georges Bizet
Performer:  Ben Heppner (Tenor)
Conductor:  Roberto Abbado
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Munich Radio Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1873-1874; France 
Venue:  Herkulessaal, Residenz, Munich, Germany 
Length: 3 Minutes 44 Secs. 
Language: French 
Notes: Composition written: France (1873 - 1874). 
10.
L'Africaine: O paradis sorti de l'onde by Giacomo Meyerbeer
Performer:  Ben Heppner (Tenor)
Conductor:  Roberto Abbado
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Munich Radio Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1865; Germany 
Venue:  Herkulessaal, Residenz, Munich, Germany 
Length: 2 Minutes 57 Secs. 
Language: French 
Notes: This selection begins "Pays merveilleux..." 
11.
Hérodiade: Adieu donc, vains objets by Jules Massenet
Performer:  Ben Heppner (Tenor)
Conductor:  Roberto Abbado
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Munich Radio Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1881; France 
Venue:  Herkulessaal, Residenz, Munich, Germany 
Length: 5 Minutes 39 Secs. 
Language: French 
Notes: This selection begins "Ne pouvant réprimer..." 
12.
Le Cid: O Souverain, ô juge, ô père by Jules Massenet
Performer:  Ben Heppner (Tenor)
Conductor:  Roberto Abbado
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Munich Radio Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1885; France 
Venue:  Herkulessaal, Residenz, Munich, Germany 
Length: 5 Minutes 7 Secs. 
Language: French 
Notes: This selection begins "Ah! tout est bien fini..." 
13.
Andrea Chénier: Come un bel dì di maggio by Umberto Giordano
Performer:  Ben Heppner (Tenor)
Conductor:  Roberto Abbado
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Munich Radio Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1896; Italy 
Venue:  Herkulessaal, Residenz, Munich, Germany 
Length: 2 Minutes 40 Secs. 
Language: Italian 
14.
Andrea Chénier: Un dì all' azzuro spazio "Improvviso" by Umberto Giordano
Performer:  Ben Heppner (Tenor)
Conductor:  Roberto Abbado
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Munich Radio Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1896; Italy 
Venue:  Herkulessaal, Residenz, Munich, Germany 
Length: 4 Minutes 39 Secs. 
Language: Italian 
Notes: This selection begins "Colpito qui m'avete ov'oi geloso..." 
15.
La Bohème: Musette! O gioia della mia dimora... Testa adorato by Ruggero Leoncavallo
Performer:  Ben Heppner (Tenor)
Conductor:  Roberto Abbado
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Munich Radio Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1897; Italy 
Venue:  Herkulessaal, Residenz, Munich, Germany 
Length: 2 Minutes 52 Secs. 
Language: Italian 
Notes: This selection begins "Musetta! O gioia della mia dimora!..." 

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