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Prima Voce: Ponselle, Vol. 2

4.6 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Audio CD, April 16, 1995
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$11.79 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details Only 1 left in stock (more on the way). Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.

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Product Details

  • Composer: Charles Gounod, Fromental Halevy, Victor Herbert, Pietro Mascagni, Jules Massenet, et al.
  • Audio CD (April 16, 1995)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Nimbus Records
  • ASIN: B0000037K4
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #250,258 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Format: Audio CD
"In my lifetime, there have been three vocal miracles: Caruso, Ruffo and Ponselle." - Tullio Serafin, conductor.

Briefly a protegee and stage partner of Caruso until his untimely death, Ponselle is as great as her mentor; the ne plus ultra of dramatic sopranos, vocally virtually perfect and close to that as an interpreter. Her range, both in tessitura and repertoire, was extraordinary and she added to her glamour by retiring early to marry, and occasionally threatening a comeback which never materialised. The richness of her lower register, the velvet timbre of her middle range, the security of her top are things of wonder today - and she had that gift of a special vocal intensity and character which etches itself on the memory; it is very easy to bring her voice to mind singing certain memorable phrases inimitably - a gift shared perhaps most notably by Muzio and Callas. Despite singing heavy roles such as Aida incomparably, rivalled only by Emmy Destinn, she could lighten her voice to sing with fluting intensity, as in the famous exotic "Sadko" aria. Everything she sings sounds as if it had been written for her voice and she left a wealth of recorded legacy to prove it.
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Format: Audio CD
One track on this disc is more than worth the price...the performance of Elsa's Dream from Lohengrin. To my knowledge, Ponselle never sung one opera in German complete, but her diction is like that of a native. This performance is so extraordinarily perfect it defies description. Just listen how wonderfully she sungs the fantastic phrase "Des Ritters will Ich wahren, er soll mein Streiter sein" I defy anyone to name any soprano who negotiates the drop to the G flat and rise back up to the G above the staff on the words "...gewahren, er.." more seemlessly. Talk about smooth gear shifting. She could have EASILY been the reigning Wagner soprano in the lighter roles (Elsa, Elizabeth, possibly, Senta and Sieglinde...)well into the '40's and, on the basis of the private recordings, 50's! I cannot fathom why her and so many talented singers have wasted there entire careers singing crappy, stupid, musically vapid and dramatically identical Italian operas. They simply cannot hold a candle to the German works which are easily arguably greater in every possible aspect you can name. I feel deeply sorry for anyone who feels otherwise.
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Format: MP3 Music Verified Purchase
Aside from the instrumental accompaniment, Rosa Ponsell's voice and style demonstrates she is comparable to sopranos in modern recordings. I have regarded Joan Sutherland as the standard for comparison for sopranos, but in my mind this recording elevated Ponselle as a Sutherland equal. By the time I was old enough to appreciate operatic voices, Ponselle was at the end of her career and I heard only her recording of Carmen and never heard her in person. I add this so a reader may put my rating in context, but this is a great recording of an incomparable voice. Pitch, range, clarity of lyrics and precision of execution, Rosa Ponselle had it all.
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Maria Callas was right! Poselle was worthy of admiration & a lofty goal to strive for. Like Mario Lanza she came into life possessing a extraordinary gift. Considering the age of these recordings, Prima Voce has done an amazingly wonderful job on the sound. It has a really natural easy-on-the-ear affect. Somehow they removed the noise without sacrificing the all important voice & orchestra. And, would I purchase more of Ponselle--absolutely!! Ponselle is just so comfortable to listen to--just a soft stirring beauty.......I would hope others will discover her. You'll be glad you did I strongly suspect.
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It seemed to me that the way she used her voice made each performance sound too much like the all the others.
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