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Thread: Operas by Puccini on DVD/Blu-Ray/CD

          
   
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  1. #31
    Senior Member Involved Member Itullian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dark_Angel View Post
    This Puccini boxset is really essential, contains all Tebaldi Decca studio recordings from 1950s, 1960s.
    These are really great performances not live radio broadcasts or lesser known artists

    yeah, and look at the tenors!! awesome

  2. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dark_Angel View Post
    This Puccini boxset is really essential, contains all Tebaldi Decca studio recordings from 1950s, 1960s.
    These are really great performances not live radio broadcasts or lesser known artists

    Tebaldi was a gorgeous Butterfly, Mimi, Minnie. Never heard her Tosca or Manon though. (apart from clips). A nice box set indeed from this finest of singers.

  3. #33
    Senior Member Top Contributor Member Dark_Angel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yashin View Post
    Tebaldi was a gorgeous Butterfly, Mimi, Minnie. Never heard her Tosca or Manon though. (apart from clips). A nice box set indeed from this finest of singers.
    When I first purchased this set years ago I thought is was just a general Puccini greatest opera collection, but it soon dawned on me that every opera featured Tebaldi studio recording making it even more valuable. The packaging really gives no clue and should give major emphasis to Renata, would be a real positive selling point......

  4. #34
    Opera Lively Site Owner / Administrator / Chief Editor Top Contributor Member Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)'s Avatar
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    I can't believe I've never reviewed this:



    I've had it for a long time and I'm re-watching it today. Without doing a formal review, I'll write up some thoughts later today.
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

  5. #35
    Opera Lively Site Owner / Administrator / Chief Editor Top Contributor Member Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)'s Avatar
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    Il Tabarro by Puccini and Giuseppe Adami (after Didier Gold's stage play), composed in 1916, on blu-ray disc, released by TDK and Rai Trade in 2009.

    Il Tabarro = underrated masterpiece!

    This review applies to the first part of the Il Trittico in the above-mentioned blu-ray disc (a worldwide, all region product recorded live in Modena on February 8, 2007, sung in Italian with English, Italian, French, German and Spanish subtitles, available on Amazon for about $35).

    Julian Reynolds conducts extremely well the Orchestra della Fondazione Arturo Toscanini for the Teatro Communale di Modena.

    Michele is Alberto Mastromarino (incredibly excellent). Giorgetta is Amarilli Nizza (very convincing actress and a good dramatic soprano with a few flaws). Luigi is Rubens Pellizaro (he does very well). Il Tinca is Alessandro Cosentino. Il Talpa, Alessandro Spina. La Frugola is Annamaria Chiuri. All three comprimarios do much more than a decent job and add to the enjoyment of the performance.

    -----------

    I believe this to be one of the best operas ever composed. It is simply outstanding. It has a strong claim to being the best representative of the Verismo sub-genre. It is compact, well designed in its structure, and has an incredibly atmospheric score that has been compared to film scores, given the skilful tone painting and variety of its musical illustration. It has advanced harmonies that are innovative and point the way to modernist music. The libretto is of high dramatic and literary quality. Strong characters are developed quite well given the 1 hour running time. The drama is very powerful, with symbolic touches like the dusk setting (day light at first, then getting darker and darker). It's a rendition of the Grand Guignol theatrical style, done by a musical genius at the peak of his powers. Opera doesn't get much better than this.

    This particular production signed by Cristina Pezzoli is extremely successful. I'd call it Il Tabarro like Puccini would have wanted it. Vocal performances are very good; these singers are committed to the material and interpret it with a good deal of passion. Their acting is first rate, and notably catch the darkness of the story. The lead soprano is good at dramatic singing even though she gets a bit strident at times. No such failures exist among her colleagues who deliver solid renditions of their parts.

    Sets are super-realistic with a barge parked under one of the Seine bridges, and lighting uses devices such as real fire to add to the impression that we are witnessing the "real' events as they unfold - just like it must be in Verismo.

    The orchestra and conductor do a stupendous job. Once more, regional Italian houses teach other opera companies how the works that belong to their cultural heritage must be staged and played.

    All these superior qualities get enhanced by a sound track that is DTS 7.1 - yes, that's right, not 5.1 but 7.1, which fortunately my home theater is prepared to handle - I do have 8 speakers and a receiver that reads 7.1 HD sound. The aural experience delivered by this blu-ray disc is unforgettable.

    This is a grade A++ performance of a grade A++ opera in a technically accomplished package, and is highly recommended, of course (I'd say, essential buy).
    Last edited by Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva); January 4th, 2014 at 08:38 PM.
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

  6. #36
    Opera Lively Moderator Top Contributor Member Soave_Fanciulla's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva) View Post
    Il Tabarro by Puccini and Giuseppe Adami (after Didier Gold's stage play), composed in 1916, on blu-ray disc, released by TDK and Rai Trade in 2009.

    Il Tabarro = underrated masterpiece!

    This review applies to the first part of the Il Trittico in the above-mentioned blu-ray disc (a worldwide, all region product recorded live in Modena on February 8, 2007, sung in Italian with English, Italian, French, German and Spanish subtitles, available on Amazon for about $35).

    I believe this to be one of the best operas ever composed. It is simply outstanding. It has a strong claim to being the best representative of the Verismo sub-genre. It is compact, well designed in its structure, and has an incredibly atmospheric score that has been compared to film scores, given the skilful tone painting and variety of its musical illustration. It has advanced harmonies that are innovative and point the way to modernist music. The libretto is of high dramatic and literary quality. Strong characters are developed quite well given the 1 hour running time. The drama is very powerful, with symbolic touches like the dusk setting (day light at first, then getting darker and darker). It's a rendition of the Grand Guignol theatrical style, done by a musical genius at the peak of his powers. Opera doesn't get much better than this.

    This particular production signed by Cristina Pezzoli is extremely successful. I'd call it Il Tabarro like Puccini would have wanted it. Vocal performances are very good; these singers are committed to the material and interpret it with a good deal of passion. Their acting is first rate, and notably catch the darkness of the story. The lead soprano is good at dramatic singing even though she gets a bit strident at times. No such failures exist among her colleagues who deliver solid renditions of their parts.

    Sets are super-realistic with a barge parked under one of the Seine bridges, and lighting uses devices such as real fire to add to the impression that we are witnessing the "real' events as they unfold - just like it must be in Verismo.

    The orchestra and conductor do a stupendous job. Once more, regional Italian houses teach other opera companies how the works that belong to their cultural heritage must be staged and played.

    All these superior qualities get enhanced by a sound track that is DTS 7.1 - yes, that's right, not 5.1 but 7.1, which fortunately my home theater is prepared to handle - I do have 8 speakers and a receiver that reads 7.1 HD sound. The aural experience delivered by this blu-ray disc is unforgettable.

    This is a grade A++ performance of a grade A++ opera in a technically accomplished package, and is highly recommended, of course (I'd say, essential buy).

    Julian Reynolds conducts extremely well the Orchestra della Fondazione Arturo Toscanini for the Teatro Communale di Modena.

    Michele is Alberto Mastromarino (incredibly excellent). Giorgetta is Amarilli Nizza (very convincing actress and a good dramatic soprano with a few flaws). Luigi is Rubens Pellizaro (he does very well). Il Tinca is Alessandro Cosentino. Il Talpa, Alessandro Spina. La Frugola is Annamaria Chiuri. All three comprimarios do much more than a decent job and add to the enjoyment of the performance.
    Yes I think Il Tabarro is definitely underrated. The music is really strong and beautiful. I prefer the DVD version from ROH, though, because Westbroek is so much strong than Nizza.
    Natalie

  7. #37
    Opera Lively Site Owner / Administrator / Chief Editor Top Contributor Member Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)'s Avatar
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    Suor Angelica by Puccini and Giovacchino Forzano (original story), one-act Verismo opera composed in 1918, premiered at the Metropolitan Opera house in New York City on December 14, 1918, sung in Italian. This is part of the same excellent TDK/Rai Trade blu-ray disc reviewed above.

    Suor Angelica is the neglected child of ll Trittico, often dumped from productions in favor of a 2-hour Tabarro/Schicchi or the paring of the other operas with stuff like I Pagliacci, The Miserly Knight, etc.

    It was Puccini's favorite of the Trittico operas, and the composer was flabbergasted with opera companies' practices of not giving all three together, which he vehemently called "a betrayal."

    Let's say that it's not my favorite, although my appreciation for it has grown substantially after I interviewed last week the very intelligent, cultured, and insightful American soprano Jill Gardner, who is about to perform it for Opera Carolina (this very long - 2hours! the longest to date! - interview is under transcription and will appear shortly on Opera Lively). I'm very fond of Ms. Gardner (we've interviewed her before for Tosca and I met her in person a couple of times) who studies very seriously her roles and their sources, and digs out incredible nuances and insights - she is also a phenomenal singer and a very attractive lady. Fortunately, Opera Carolina is presenting all three operas together, something that now that I've looked into this with more detail and listened to Ms. Gardner's insights, I see that it makes all the sense in the world because there is indeed a story arc that Puccini masterfully was going for, thus his dismay at people separating the three pieces.

    So, this product shares with the other operas the exquisite sound track and orchestra (although this is all less visible for the much more delicate Suor Angelica score as compared to the phenomenal intensity of Il Tabarro).

    It also shares with the other two operas, the leading soprano Amarilli Nizza, and she continues to act and sing well. The other major role, that of the Zia Principessa, is done by the excellent Annamaria Chiuri who had a brief part in the first opera. The Coro di Voce Bianche del Teatro Communale di Modena sings very, very beautifully. La Badessa is a correct Elisa Fortunati.

    I like Ms. Cristina Pezzoli's production very much. The sets are minimalistic - the way I like them - with heavy columns and stairs rendering well the oppressive atmosphere of the convent. Costumes are the simple, sober nun attire, of course. Lighting is very good - another characteristic of this production.

    One of the interesting points in Suor Angelica is how Puccini transfers to La Zia Principessa the characteristics of his evil male characters like Scarpia. Ms. Chiuri here interprets very well the cold, solemn, heartless old woman. Ms. Nizza is appropriately fierce and defiant in this scene - she captures very well what Sister Angelica is as a character, just like Ms. Gardner told me she intends to do.

    By the way, the insert for this product contains a brief (but well written) essay on the three operas, a one-page synopsis for all three, all of the above repeated in English, French, and German, and numerous color production pictures. A list of musical numbers with characters is given, but without durations. The runtime is of course 180 minutes, since Puccini precisely gave to each one of his three operas a duration of one hour. There are no extras.

    Well, whether or not one likes this opera is subject to individual taste (I'm liking it more, now), but this is again, a rather flawless, grade A++ rendition of it.

    I'll re-watch Gianni Schicchi later, since now I'll be pausing my high-brow entertainment to watch my low-brow entertainment (NFL playoffs - Chiefs vs. Colts followed by Saints vs. Eagles).
    Last edited by Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva); January 4th, 2014 at 09:18 PM.
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

  8. #38
    Opera Lively Site Owner / Administrator / Chief Editor Top Contributor Member Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Soave_Fanciulla View Post
    Yes I think Il Tabarro is definitely underrated. The music is really strong and beautiful. I prefer the DVD version from ROH, though, because Westbroek is so much strong than Nizza.
    I haven't seen the ROH version, but do suspect that you have a good point, since Ms. Nizza is a good actress but is indeed the one cast member who shows vocal issues in this production, like I said, and I love Westbroek, so, I look forward to watching the ROH one.
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

  9. #39
    Opera Lively Moderator Top Contributor Member Amfortas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva) View Post
    I haven't seen the ROH version, but do suspect that you have a good point, since Ms. Nizza is a good actress but is indeed the one cast member who shows vocal issues in this production, like I said, and I love Westbroek, so, I look forward to watching the ROH one.
    The ROH Suor Angelica is worth a look, too, with a poignantly altered setting and a powerful performance by Ermonela Jaho.

  10. #40
    Opera Lively Site Owner / Administrator / Chief Editor Top Contributor Member Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)'s Avatar
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    Gianni Schicchi by Puccini and Giovacchino Forzano, composed in 1917-18, opera buffa in one act, sung in Italian, based on an episode in Dante's Divine Comedy, premiered at the Metropolitan Opera House in 1918. This is part of the same excellent TDK/Rai Trade blu-ray disc reviewed above; same orchestra and conductor, same sound tracks/subtitles, etc., recorded live at the same house.

    The excellent Alberto Mastromarino is the title role. Lauretta is a (by now, a bit tired) Amarilli Nizza. Zita, La Vecchia, is the fabulous Annamaria Chiuri. Rinuccio is a shaky at first, but improved with warm-up, Andrea Giovannini. Simone is a very good Alessandro Spina. Other comprimarios are a bit of a mixed bag, but generally good.

    The high production values continue in the third opera of the Triptych, the delightful comedy Gianni Schicchi. Costumes, wigs, and make-up, are all very well done and funny. Acting is first rate by all involved (a bit less by Giovannini and Nizza, but especially the comprimarios are all gifted actors and actresses). The sets are handsome and efficient, with good blocking. The orchestra continues to perform very well.

    Singing in the third opera is a notch below the first two, given that here we have a relatively unremarkable tenor, and the soprano who has just sung Il Tabarro and Suor Angelica is a bit spent, delivering a rather generic O mio babbino caro. The tenor, after warming up, does put together a compelling Avete torto, which is not without difficulty. Mr. Mastromarino on the other hand nails the title role, and Ms. Chiuri remains impressive. I'd say we get here A-, which given the even better first two performances, doesn't bother the overall grade of A+, highly recommended, for this excellent product that renders very well Puccini's fine evening of Grand Guignol-style entertainment.

    For an in-depth look into the composer's intention and the psychological and sociological arc of the Triptych, read the excellent answers by soprano Jill Gardner in her Opera Lively interview, [here].
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

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  12. #41
    Senior Member Top Contributor Member Dark_Angel's Avatar
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    These 10CD ultra cheap collections are really great, I have several now this Tebaldi set was purchased mainly to obtain several long tracks from 1956 live Mitropoulos Tosca from MET broadcast, it is a great performance in very good live sound and the best Tosca I have heard by Tebaldi (and I have most of them) and among the best of any Tosca available (Callas 1953 remains the reference)

    The cost of buying complete Tosca CD set on Myto label is 3x the entire 10CD box price, nice overall selection from 1950s glory days of La Regina mixing live and studio sources, there are extended selections from her main opera characters sometimes multiple performances to compare.......you should buy these 10CD sets for singers you especially like

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  14. #42
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    I hate to appear plebian, but I thought that Puccini wrote La Boheme ...

    Oh, wait: he DID! And here are some thoughts on my favorite three:

    1. At the top of the list is the version on Art Haus with Inva Mula, Aquiles Machado, Laura Giordano, and Fabio Maria Capitanucci. Vocally nearly perfect with top drawer staging. Musetta (Giordano) is awesome!Performed at the Teatro Reale in Madrid in March 2006. Sets are almost as good as Zeffirerlli's with the boys' garret being better. Jesus Lopez Cobos' conducting is superb. All of the emotional impact is portrayed without excess. Mula is clearly drained at the end, requiring Machado to hold onto her for a brief time. It is Bohme as Boheme was meant to be experienced. Blu ray is of an excellence that exceeds my ability to describe it. 5 kleenex rating.

    2. The Met's HD performance of 2008 with Georghiu, Vargas, Tezier and Ainhoa Arteta. Zeffirelli's sets have never been excelled. It is an ezquisite rendition with all singers doing a splendid job. Nicola Luisotti is at the helm. Dramatics are of a very high quality. Pic and sound, while not Blu ray, are excellent. 4 1/2 kleenes rating.

    3. This one may surprise you: Opera Australia's 1993 production with Cheryl Barker (Mimi), David Hobson (Rodolfo), Roger Lemke (Marcello) and Christine Douglas (Musetta). Staged by Baz Luhrmann, it moves the action to 1950s Paris. What makes this one work so well is the youthful appearance of the singers, with camera work that rivals that of the cinema. Voice quality of the singers is of less quality than the prior two sets, but the "willful suspension of disbelief' factor is huge! My copy is from Image Entertainment, but it has been re-released on Kultur. No Blu ray, but it has decent 5.1 surround. 5 kleenex rating.

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  16. #43
    Opera Lively Moderator Top Contributor Member Soave_Fanciulla's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnGerald View Post
    I hate to appear plebian, but I thought that Puccini wrote La Boheme ...

    Oh, wait: he DID! And here are some thoughts on my favorite three:

    1. At the top of the list is the version on Art Haus with Inva Mula, Aquiles Machado, Laura Giordano, and Fabio Maria Capitanucci. Vocally nearly perfect with top drawer staging. Musetta (Giordano) is awesome!Performed at the Teatro Reale in Madrid in March 2006. Sets are almost as good as Zeffirerlli's with the boys' garret being better. Jesus Lopez Cobos' conducting is superb. All of the emotional impact is portrayed without excess. Mula is clearly drained at the end, requiring Machado to hold onto her for a brief time. It is Bohme as Boheme was meant to be experienced. Blu ray is of an excellence that exceeds my ability to describe it. 5 kleenex rating.

    2. The Met's HD performance of 2008 with Georghiu, Vargas, Tezier and Ainhoa Arteta. Zeffirelli's sets have never been excelled. It is an ezquisite rendition with all singers doing a splendid job. Nicola Luisotti is at the helm. Dramatics are of a very high quality. Pic and sound, while not Blu ray, are excellent. 4 1/2 kleenes rating.

    3. This one may surprise you: Opera Australia's 1993 production with Cheryl Barker (Mimi), David Hobson (Rodolfo), Roger Lemke (Marcello) and Christine Douglas (Musetta). Staged by Baz Luhrmann, it moves the action to 1950s Paris. What makes this one work so well is the youthful appearance of the singers, with camera work that rivals that of the cinema. Voice quality of the singers is of less quality than the prior two sets, but the "willful suspension of disbelief' factor is huge! My copy is from Image Entertainment, but it has been re-released on Kultur. No Blu ray, but it has decent 5.1 surround. 5 kleenex rating.
    Yes, I love that final version. Great production and committed shouldering of personas.
    Natalie

  17. #44
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    For pure listening Licia Albanese and B.Gigli La Boheme . She died august 15 this year at 105. Greatest la Boheme of all time.
    The one with Di Stefano Callas and Moffo was good too but nothing so sensitive as the Albanese one. O suave fanciulla (act 1$
    And Dunque e proprio finite Addiio dulce svegliare(act 3) compared to the Albanese Pierce duets and the Callas Di Stefano or the Tebaldi Del Monaco all which are good but that Gigli Albanese one might just get to you.

  18. #45
    Opera Lively Moderator Top Contributor Member Amfortas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnGerald View Post
    I hate to appear plebian, but I thought that Puccini wrote La Boheme ...
    You mean Leoncavallo.

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