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Thread: Operas by Bellini on DVD/Blu-ray/CD

          
   
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  1. #1
    Schigolch
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    Operas by Bellini on DVD/Blu-ray/CD



    Marcello Viotti (2002)

    Filippo Maria Visconti - Michael Volle
    Beatrice di Tenda - Edita Gruberova
    Agnese del Maino - Stefania Kaluza
    Orombello - Raúl Hernández

    Zurich Opera Orchestra

    This is the only Beatrice di Tenda DVD in the market, so it's already a recommendation, as no other option is available.

    Gruberova still sings well the role, though there is already some stress on the top notes. Mr. Volle puts on a villain face, and is convincing as such, unfortunately he is supposed also to sing in Italian... Ms. Kaluza is a solid, though a little bit too mature, Agnese, and Raúl Hernández,... well, he is not a disaster, but he looks like Hardy Har Har looking for Lippy the Lion.

    The Bedermeier look of the scenery is out of touch with the historical settings, but is not too cumbersome, and late movie director Daniel Schmid handles well the staging. Good work from Mr. Viotti in the pit.

    Overall: B-

    Recommended for Bellini lovers.

  2. #2
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    I think that Bellini is unfortunate composer when it comes to DVDs. Apart from one I Puritani, nothing satisfied me. But that's probably because it's co extremely difficult to give his operas justice musically that chances for making it both: musically and visually are minimal.

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    Opera Lively Moderator Top Contributor Member Soave_Fanciulla's Avatar
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    This DVD is worth getting for JDF alone. Wow, what a great job he does with this kind of music, and his acting is improving too. I also liked Nino Madchaize's Elvira - she played her as slightly unstable from the beginning so the mad scene was not unexpected. And she is so gorgeous, particularly in the blue dress in act 1 (and charmingly excited in her curtain call). The two leads had real chemistry and a sense of affection.

    The production is stark but this is appropriate for a play about Puritans - in fact in contrast I found the Met's lace and ruffles rather odd. I thought some of the scenery rather magical, especially the forest backdrop. This is probably better seen on DVD than in the theatre as the frequent close-ups of beautiful expressive people compensate for any dullness in the staging.

    I will be watching this over again. Bellini can sure write a ripping tune, can't he!
    Natalie

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    Opera Lively Moderator Top Contributor Member Soave_Fanciulla's Avatar
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    La Sonnambula



    The only thing that redeems this ridiculous production is the gorgeous singing (particularly JDF). Otherwise the director takes a silly plot and makes it totally incomprehensible. What, no one these days has heard of sleepwalking? And Amina is simultaneously a simple country girl who can't stand up for herself and a mobile-phone-toting sunglasses-wearing diva? And everyone is going to get worked up because she fell asleep in the rehearsal room where there was A Man (gasp)? And then they all shred loads of newspaper (what's that about anyway?).

    I'm really glad I watched it on Met Player and didn't buy it!
    Natalie

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    Senior Member Top Contributor Member HarpsichordConcerto's Avatar
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    ... and if you cannot get enough of La Sonnambula with Juan-Diego Flórez, there is this excellent CD studio recording of it with Cecilia Bartoli (Amina)! Orchestra La Scintilla (on period instruments) under Alessandro De Marchi. This was a rather "different" interpretation of the score (well, perhaps only in our times) because it was supposedly a historically informed performace practice, even for an 1831 score. Best thing to do is to listen to as many clips if you are thinking about buying this.




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  9. #6
    Schigolch
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    June Anderson (Norma)
    Daniela Barcellona (Adalgisa)
    Shin Young Hoon (Pollione)
    Ildar Abdrazakov (Oroveso)

    Orchestra Europa Galante (on period instruments), Fabio Biondi (conductor) - 2001
    Roberto Andò (stage director)

    This was a very interesting Norma, because it was based on a critical edition by Fabio Biondi's brother, Fabrizio, using manuscripts found in Naples and Milan, showing even some things Bellini himself later changed, like the end of the First Act. Biondi also worked with the orchestration and the opera was played with period instruments (or modern reconstructions). The most shocking decision was to use a harpsichord to accompany the recitatives and provide continuo, and some fascinating tempi.

    All this stuff is very interesting, but unfortunately the singers didn't buy into all of Biondi's insights. June Anderson, that in the 1980s looks like the real thing, was already in decline, and she delivers all the notes, with the Casta Diva in G major, but is not giving us back a really convincing Norma. At the end of the performance, she is exhausted.

    Barcellona, an unlikely Adalgisa from a physique du role's point of view, offers here her usual warm, round singing, with easy top notes, but she is divorced from Biondi and the pit. The performance of the brave, young, but desperately inadequate tenor (a late hour replacement) is dismal.

    There are other Biondi's Normas after this one, with singers like Gregory Kunde, that are even more interesting.

    Overall: B, recommended for Belcanto Opera lovers

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    This CD contains selections from full performance that is avaiable only on vinyl. Too bad. How can you select highlights from opera which is one, huge highlight by itself? Still, you should have one or another because performance is truely great. I got it because of Monaco which always made me regret that his Normas (with Callas, two of them) are unlistenable for the quality. But Souliotis is quite a singer as well. During her life she was hailed as next Callas.

    This magnificent rendition of Polline's monologue you will find only on the vinyl:



    FORZAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

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    Senior Member Top Contributor Member Dark_Angel's Avatar
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    Aramis
    I would die for a CD version of that Noma, great vinyl sound quality

    I just listened to a Nabucco with Elena Souliotis and raved about her performance.

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    Opera Lively Media Consultant Top Contributor Member Ann Lander (sospiro)'s Avatar
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    Please could I have some suggestions for a CD of I Puritani.


    I have this one which I love but I want to try a different one.

    "The world calls them its singers and poets and artists and storytellers; but they are just people who have never forgotten the way to fairyland."
    Lucy Maud Montgomery

  14. #10
    Schigolch
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    María Callas, Rolando Panerai, Giuseppe di Stéfano, Nicola Rossi-Lemeni, Tullio Serafin, Milan 1953, EMI

    Maria Callas's Bellini heroines are really at the top of recorded opera history. Her Elvira is just magical here, with a wonderful mad scene. Panerai and Rossi-Lemeni are great, his duet splendid. Di Stefano is perhaps not Bellini's Arturo, but at least an approximation. Serafin introduces all the traditional cuts, and is a little morose at times.... but nothing can beat Callas here!.

    Overall: A





    Joan Sutherland, Piero Cappuccilli, Luciano Pavarotti, Nicolai Ghiaurov, Richard Bonynge, London 1973, DECCA

    A dream cast, with Ms. Sutherland still in great vocal shape and the legendary Arturo of Pavarotti. Cappuccilli and Ghiaurov are solid (fantastic in the "Se tra il buio un fantasma vedrai" section), and Bonynge offers a more complete and in style Puritani than Serafin.

    Overall: A


    Those are really the best, but there are some others quite good, like Callas's Elvira in México, Pagliughi/Filippeschi/Panerai/Bruscantini, Sutherland in 1963, Sills/Pavarotti, Mariella Devia's in Catania,...

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    Senior Member Top Contributor Member Dark_Angel's Avatar
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    I agree 100% with Schigs on those two Puritani.........

    The 1953 EMI Callas is a studio recording so sound is good mono, what a great Elvira she is, mad scence is "insanely" good!

    For modern stereo sound the allstar Sutherland cast is a great one, Pavarotti is so good here and the Decca sound is a sonic blockbuster

    Before you spend too much on any individual Callas opera remember the complete Callas 70 CD studio boxset is an amazing bargain, under $100 new at Amazon USA.....even cheaper used


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    Opera Lively Media Consultant Top Contributor Member Ann Lander (sospiro)'s Avatar
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    Thanks guys. I knew I could rely on you to give good advice.

    I should have qualified my requirements though. I'm not bothered who sings the soprano & tenor roles, I only need them to be competent. Only really interested in the bass & baritone.
    "The world calls them its singers and poets and artists and storytellers; but they are just people who have never forgotten the way to fairyland."
    Lucy Maud Montgomery

  18. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by sospiro View Post
    Thanks guys. I knew I could rely on you to give good advice.

    I should have qualified my requirements though. I'm not bothered who sings the soprano & tenor roles, I only need them to be competent. Only really interested in the bass & baritone.
    Then you should put Pavarotti/Sutherland above Callas/di Stefano. Better lower voices crew there in my opinion.

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  20. #14
    Opera Lively Media Consultant Top Contributor Member Ann Lander (sospiro)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aramis View Post
    Then you should put Pavarotti/Sutherland above Callas/di Stefano IMO. Better lower voices crew there in my opinion.
    Thanks Aramis
    "The world calls them its singers and poets and artists and storytellers; but they are just people who have never forgotten the way to fairyland."
    Lucy Maud Montgomery

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    Nice pieces. The tenor-soprano pair is one of the best to be found in this opera discography. I liked Raimondi especially in the last act, in Arturo's alone scene and in duet afterwards. Gencer is even more expressive than some would accept but doesn't miss the bel canto aspect in her creation. The baritone duo is good as well, but more the Riccardo - Ausensi was singing beautifully all the wall while Mazzoli didn't always sound to me entirely engaged and expressive. We recommend this for all who love the opera and could use another great version of it.

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