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Puccini: Manon Lescaut / Perlea, Bjoerling, Albanese, Et Al


Release Date: 04/12/2005 
Label:  Opera D'oro   Catalog #: 1428   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Giacomo Puccini
Performer:  Jussi BjörlingLicia AlbaneseRobert MerrillEnrico Campi,   ... 
Conductor:  Jonel Perlea
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Rome Opera House OrchestraRome Opera House Chorus
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Mono 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

This "classic" 1954 recording is indeed that: I'd be hard pressed to think of a better performance of this opera, either live or on discs. Soprano and tenor completely inhabit their roles, and when you get right down to it, that's what the success of this opera leans on. I'm pretty certain that Albanese never sounded as young as Manon is supposed to in Act 1; nor is she as tonally lustrous as, say, Freni, Te Kanawa, Caballé, or Tebaldi in the role. But her flawless diction, complete understanding of the Puccini idiom, refusal to cutesy-up or harden at any point, and her utter honesty brings the character entirely to life. She sounds impetuous in the first act, troubled and then swept away in the second, and downhearted, Read more beaten, and pitiful in the third and fourth. She sounds more frail in her last-act aria than any soprano I can recall; Callas, by comparison, sounds too robust and Tebaldi is merely singing a showpiece. It's a stunning performance.


And what a Des Grieux Bjoerling is! Ardent, ringing, specific, tender, and dangerously in love, all with that beautiful, inimitable tone. Merrill sounds luxurious as Lescaut, happy, dumb, and believable, and Calabrese's Geronte is one tough cookie. Jonel Perlea gets at the nervous center of the second-act duet and captures the dreaminess elsewhere, and if his orchestra and chorus are vaguely second rate, well, this isn't Wagner. What a show--at a real bargain price. Sound is respectable, studio mono. [10/17/2005]
--Robert Levine, ClassicsToday.com Read less

Works on This Recording

1. Manon Lescaut by Giacomo Puccini
Performer:  Jussi Björling (Tenor), Licia Albanese (Soprano), Robert Merrill (Baritone),
Enrico Campi (Bass), Mario Carlin (Tenor), Anna Maria Rota (Mezzo Soprano),
Franco Calabrese (Baritone)
Conductor:  Jonel Perlea
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Rome Opera House Orchestra,  Rome Opera House Chorus
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1893; Italy 
Date of Recording: 07/1954 
Venue:  Rome Opera House, Rome, Italy 

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