6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on April 1, 2003
THIS IS ONE OF THOSE LOST TREASURES BECAUSE IT'S OUT OF STOCK,IF YOU ARE LOOKING FOR A PUCCINI ARIAS ALBUM THIS IS A MUST AND A COLLECTOR'S JEWEL,THE ARIAS,THE ORCHESTRA,CABALLÉ'S BEAUTIFUL VOICE,AND INCRDIBLE PERFORMANCES,MAKE THIS ALBUM A REAL CLASSIC,YOU'LL LOVE IT,YOU'LL NEVER REGRET !
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on July 25, 2003
Caballe in the 1970s was consider one of the great bel canto sopranos of our time. She was worshipped when she sang Norma and Borgia. Why this album is being ignore I'll never understand.
She is at her best here. The lines and the piano singing are second to none. This, in my opinion, is the best Puccinian singing I can think of. Her only rival in verisimo is probably Leontyne Price. She surpasses Tebaldi and Callas.
I highly recommend this album. And I also recommend her exquisite Liu in Puccini's Turandot and her powerhouse Tosca.
on September 17, 2007
An indispensable, treasurable recital that has sadly long been out of print on CD. You can find most of its contents contained within EMI's Very Best of Montserrat Caballe compilation. What they left out, though, is a crime.
I will always feel a bit of nostalgia for this particular recital, since it was one the the first operatic recordings I ever purchased (the other was Joan Sutherland's Verdi Bellini Donizetti recital).
In my mind, three arias make the case for why this is one of the greatest recordings on the past century:
Signore, Ascolta!- Just listen to La Caballe float that final note. In a word, heavenly.
Sola, Perduta, Abbandonata- NOT included in the "Very Best" compilation. A shame, since Montserrat delivers a spine-chilling rendition of Manon Lescault's final aria. The vocal heft, solid technique, and absence of bad taste and coarseness serves as a lesson to divas-in-training.
Se Come Voi Piccina- A forgotten gem from Puccini's Le Villi, one of his two early operatic failures. Montserrat weaves a magical, ephemeral tapestry of warmth and reverie. Just takes your breath away.
I cannot say it enough- I have since purchased a great many recital discs, and this one has never lost its place on my list of great recordings.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on April 2, 2003
IF YOU ARE A MUSIC FAN,YOU'LL ENJOY IT AND LOVE IT,BEAUTIFUL VOICE,BEATIFUL PIANISSIMOS,THIS IS A HARD TO FIND,A COLLECTOR'S JEWEL.
on November 22, 2013
This is one of the most beautiful things I have ever heard.
Puccini, Caballe and a luscious orchestra - what more could one ask for?
I have listened to the whole range of female opera singers, and Monserrat Caballe remains my favorite.
There is a purity to her tone and breath that avoids the melodramatic histrionics of other revered divas.
Do your ears, your heart and your soul a favor - buy a copy, and you'll probably play it as much as I do mine.
3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on October 31, 2005
This 1970's EMI album features Montserrat Caballe, in glorious voice, singing magnificent, virtually unsurpassed interpretations of arias by that most celebrated, mainstream staple composer of opera houses Giacomo Puccini. The sound quality has been digitally remastered and sounds voluminous, rich, crisp and powerful, like the voice of the star soprano herself. The hefty, iron-lunged and beautifully lyrical soprano was such a phenomenon in her day that it's hard to remembe she was one of the many sopranos singing similar operas along with Joan Sutherland and Beverly Sills. She was probably most remembered for her nearly stereotypical big diva presence and moreover her gifted pianissimi, soft, floating notes. Montserrat Caballe came to the opera scene like a newly discovered comet. Born and bred in Catalonia, Spain, she was fluent in Spanish and French and later Italian when she trained for opera. She quickly became the finest exponent of the bel canto repertoire and forgotten masterpieces. She excelled as Donizetti's Lucrezia Borgia, the Queen in Roberto Devereaux, Tosca, Queen Elisabeth De Valois in Don Carlos, the heroine in Rossini's Guillame Tell and Boito's Mefistofele, Madame Butterfly and other juicy roles. Caballe is still very much alive today and is adored by fans. Hers was a voice that is not easily forgotten. Though she lacked dramatic insight in her portrayals when compared most notably with Maria Callas, and Caballe was known for tra-la-la-ing her way through arias when she forgot the words or had a hard time enunciating the foreign text, she is still opera's bigger names. Dozens of EMI recordings attest to her legacy.
This album opens with an aria from Turandot. She sings the slave girl Liu's aria "Signore, ascolta!" as she tries to persuade Calaf not to make an attempt to answer the enigmas of the ice-cold Empress Turandot, whom he has just seen for the first time and fallen in love with. The aria is beautifully rendered in Caballe's hands for the aria requires pianissimi and breath control and dulcet tones, all which were staples of Caballe's singing. But Caballe had a firmness and stentorian quality to her voice that I feel is more suitable for Turandot herself. I never found her to be a credible slave girl Liu. Caballe's stature and voice is Turandot all the way. The second track is Madame Butterfly's ever famous "Un Bel Di" her song of hope that one day her Pinkerton will come back for her. Caballe captures the achingly passionate yearning perfectly. The anguished tone in Butterfly's "Tu! Tu! Piccolo Iddio!" as she gets rid of her son so that she may commit suicide is thunderous and powerfully executed. Manon Lescaut was another heroine that Caballe essayed although I much prefer Mirella Freni's portrayal. Caballe, however, is outstanding, especially in her dramatic, desperate-sounding account of "Sola Perduta Abbandonata" in which Manon gives in to a feeling of hopelessness. Her account of Vissi D'Arte is breathtaking and mellifluous, sounding a lot more like Madame Butterfly's "Un Bel Di". I have heard better, frankly, especially the Vissi's of Leontyne Price and Katia Ricciarelli. However this kind of prayer-like aria was a specialty of Caballe's. I never felt that Caballe made a fine Mimi from La Boheme but her Mi Chiamo Mimi is brilliant. All in all, this is a fine recording if you are a fan of Caballe and her way of singing Puccini. This is probably her greatest album.