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CD Review

Giacomo Puccini

Decca 4759379

Puccini Gold

Disc 1

  1. Nessun Dorma (Turandot) / Luciano Pavarotti
  2. Vissi d'arte (Tosca) / Montserrat Caballé
  3. Donna non vidi mai (Manon Lescaut) / Carlo Bergonzi
  4. Un bel di (Madama Butterfly) / Mirella Freni
  5. O mio babbino caro (Gianni Schicci) / Renée Fleming
  6. Recondita armonia (Tosca) / José Carreras
  7. Vogliatemi bene (Madama Butterfly) / Tebaldi/Bergonzi
  8. Humming Chorus (Madama Butterfly) VPO/Karajan
  9. Firenze e come un altro fiorito Roberto Alagna
  10. Tra voi belle (Manon Lescaut) / Luciano Pavarotti
  11. O Mimì, tu più non torni / Pavarotti/Panerai
  12. E lucevan le stelle (Tosca) / Placido Domingo
  13. Chi il bel sogno di Doretta Renée Fleming
  14. Senza Mamma / Joan Sutherland
  15. O soave Fanciulla / Netrebko/Villazón

Disc 2

  1. Che gelida manina (La Bohème) / Jonas Kaufmann
  2. Sì, Mi chiamano Mimì (La Bohème) / Angela Gheorghiu
  3. Ch'ella mi creda libero (La Fanciulla del West) / Placido Domingo
  4. Flower Duet (Madama Butterfly) / Freni/Ludwig
  5. Quando me'n vo (La Bohème) / Anna Netrebko
  6. Intermezzo (Manon Lescaut) / Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra/Riccardo Chailly
  7. In quelle trine morbide (Manon Lescaut) / Kiri te Kanawa
  8. Addio fiorito asil (Madama Butterfly) / Andrea Bocelli
  9. Signore ascolta (Turandot) / Montserrat Caballé
  10. Non piangere Liu (Turandot) / Giuseppe di Stefano
  11. No pazzo son (Manon Lescaut) / Luciano Pavarotti
  12. Crisantemi / Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra/Riccardo Chailly
  13. Dovunque al mondo (Madam Butterfly) / Luciano Pavarotti
  14. Tu che di gel sei cinta (Turandot) / Montserrat Caballé
  15. Nessun Dorma (Turandot) / Pavarotti/Domingo/Carreras

London Philharmonic Orchestra /Zubin Mehta (Trs: 1 (CD1), 9, 14 (CD2)
Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden/Sir Colin Davis (Trs 2,6 (CD1)
Orchestra dell'Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia/Gianandrea Gavazzeni (Tr 3 CD 1)
Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra/Herbert von Karajan (Trs: 4, 8,11 CD1, 4,13, CD 2)
London Philharmonic Orchestra/Sir Charles Mackerras (Tr 5 CD1)
Orchestra dell'Accademia di Santa Cecilia/Tullio Serafin (Tr 7 CD1)
Orchestra del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino/Bruno Bartoletti (Tr 9 CD 1)
National Philharmonic Orchestra/Oliviero de Fabritiis (Tr 10, CD1 Tr 11 CD2)
Philharmonia Orchestra/Giuseppe Sinopoli (Tr 12 CD 1)
English Chamber Orchestra/Jeffrey Tate (Tr 13 CD 1)
National Philharmonic Orchestra/Richard Bonynge (Tr 14 CD 1)
Staatskapelle Dresden/Nicola Luisotti (Tr 15 CD 1)
Prague Philharmonic Orchestra/Marco Amiliato (Tr 1 CD2)
Orchestra del Teatro alla Scala di Milano/Riccardo Chailly (Tr 2 CD 2)
Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden/Zubin Mehta (Tr 3 CD 2)
Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra/Gianandrea Noseda (Tr 5 CD 2)
Orchestra del Teatro Communale di Bologna/Riccardo Chailly (Tr 7 CD 2)
Orchestra del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino/Gianandrea Noseda (Tr 8 CD 2)
Orchrestra dell' Accadamia si Santa Cecilia/Franco Patane (Tr 10 CD 2)
Orchestra del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino/Orchestra del Teatro dell' Opera di Roma/Zubin Mehta (Tr 15 CD 2)
Decca 4759379 2CDs 118m ADD/DDD
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Also available on DVD: Amazon - UK - Germany - Canada - France - Japan - ArkivMusic - CD Universe

This double-CD set featuring the cream of the crop of Puccini recordings for Decca over the past few decades is certainly a delight from start to finish. Obviously released to get some commercial milk out of the composer's 150th anniversary, it also turns out to be attribute to the great international superstars of the company's rostrum over the years ranging from Renata Tebaldi, Mirella Freni, Carlo Bergonzi, Luciano Pavarotti, Renée Fleming, Angela Gheorgiu and the often lambasted Andrea Boccelli.

There are also newer and exciting faces in the form of the seductive Anna Netrebko and Rolando Villazón. The items are pretty predictable but it is always a joy to hear the late lamented Pavarotti in "Nessun Dorma" or the magnificence of Montserrat Caballé's "Vissi d'arte". There's also a lovely "Non piangere Liu" from opera's latest casualty, Giuseppe di Stefano whilst Carlo Bergonzi is definitely supreme in "Donna non vidi mai" from "Manon Lescaut".

There are also some fine excerpts by Joan Sutherland and José Carreras apart from the already mentioned superstars of the modern age. The set is presented with no notes or any form of introduction rather like a film soundtrack. Strictly for non-aficionados who will obviously have the lion's share of the complete recordings in their collections, but entertaining enough nonetheless.

Copyright © 2008, Gerald Fenech

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