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Shirley Verrett Edition Box set


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Audio CD, Box set, April 30, 2013
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Product Details

  • Conductor: Various
  • Composer: Schubert, Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninov, Copland, Falla, et al.
  • Audio CD (April 30, 2013)
  • Number of Discs: 4
  • Format: Box set
  • Note on Boxed Sets: During shipping, discs in boxed sets occasionally become dislodged without damage. Please examine and play these discs. If you are not completely satisfied, we'll refund or replace your purchase.
  • Label: Newton Classics
  • ASIN: B00BF3B7V2
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #501,363 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Editorial Reviews

Verrett was not just an opera singer but also a considerable artist in concert and recital whose deep musicianship and intelligence allowed her to explore a large repertory with commanding insight. Almost all the material on these discs, recorded relatively early on in Verrett's long career, testifies to her artistry outside the opera house.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By D. Lee Edwards on May 10, 2013
The four recordings in this set have been available as MP3 downloads but here are presented newly remastered on CD. Originally recorded by RCA, now owned by Sony, these are issued by Newton Classics. It is a pleasure to have these records of the recently deceased Shirley Verrett at the very beginning of her international career in the mid-60s. The first CD "Singin' in the Storm" is a collection of folk songs and protest songs accompanied by Leonard de Paur with orchestra and chorus (1965-66). I find the arrangements of these songs a bit hokey but it is interesting to hear Verrett sing in a relaxed popular style so different from her usual operatic voice. The second CD "Carnegie hall recital" was recorded live 30 Jan, 1965. This is a beautiful recital with well-chosen groups of songs from Schubert, Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninov, Copland and a group of spirituals, ending with an encore of Mozart's Alleluja from Exsultate jubilate. Charles Wadsworth provides expert collaboration on the piano. The third CD is "Spanish Songs" recorded in 1964. Also accompanied by Wadsworth on the piano, Verrett makes effective use of chest voice and infuses these passionate songs with much feeling. These are the best known canciones including the composers Falla, Nin, Granados, Obradors, Montsalvatge, & Turina. The fourth CD is "Sacred Music by Vivaldi" conducted by Renato Fasano with chorus and orchestra. Three pieces are presented: Credo in E minor RV 591, Stabat Mater in F minor RV 621, and Beatus vir in C major, RV 597. Most of the movements are sung by chorus and Verrett has a few solos in each piece. This recording was made in June, 1966, one year after she recorded her beautiful Orfeo in Gluck's Orfeo ed Euridice with the same Virtuosi di Roma conducted by Renato Fasano (July 1965).
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Jim D. on June 23, 2013
Mezzo-soprano Shirley Verrett overcame racism to build an international reputation as a classical singer. There's no opera here--these four albums were recorded early in her career (1964-66, before her Met debut), and were clearly designed to let her show what else she could do. The Vivaldi bears no relation to Early Music as it is performed today, with its modern orchestra, and the Polyphonic Ensemble of Rome probably an opera house chorus on its day off. Verrett only sings a solo `Stabat Mater' with strings, but performs with a dignity and elegance worth any amount of period style. The collection of folk and protest songs is likewise very much a product of its time (though the arrangement of "When Johnny Comes Marching Home" is very effective). Best in the set are the two recital discs: a concert from Carnegie Hall--with a surprisingly agile encore of the Alleluia from Mozart's "Exsultate jubilate"--and a program of Spanish songs, both accompanied by Charles Wadsworth. Discs are all on the short side, as they replicate exactly the original albums; a background essay, but no texts.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By E. S. Wilks on May 18, 2013
The much-loved mezzo-soprano Shirley Verrett (1931-2010) was born in New Orleans, LA and raised in Los Angeles, CA. She sang in church and showed early musical abilities. Although her family initially discouraged a singing career, she studied with Anna Fitziu, Marion Szekely Freschl, and Hall Johnson. In 1961 she won the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions.
From her 1957 operatic debut in Britten's "The Rape of Lucretia" though her final performances in the 1990s, Ms. Verrett had a varied career from opera to Broadway and from recitals to spirituals. In her memoir, published in 2003, she spoke frankly about the racism she encountered in the American classical music world. In the early 1960s Conductor Leopold Stokowski invited her to perform with the Houston Symphony but had to withdraw the invitation because the orchestra board refused to accept a black soloist. She later performed triumphantly with the renowned Philadelphia Orchestra under Stokowski. In 1996 she joined the faculty of the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance as a Professor of Voice.
Admirers of this amazingly versatile artist will certainly welcome this 4-CD album of performances recorded from earlier in her career. The contents of Disc 1 range from spirituals to songs by Pete Seeger and Kurt Weill. Disc 2 contains songs by Copland, Rachmaninov, Schubert, and Tchaikovsky, plus Mozart's ever-popular "Exsultate, jubilate" that were recorded during a 1965 Carnegie Hall recital. Disc 3 contains Spanish songs by Manuel de Falla, Enrique Granados, Xavier Montsalvatge, Joaquin Nin, Fernando Obradors, and Joaquin Turina. Disc 4 presents yet another facet of Ms. Verrett's talent - three sacred works by Antonio Vivaldi: "Credo" (RV 591), "Stabat Mater" (RV 621), and "Beatus vir" (RV 597).
This album is definitely a "must-have" for all who love great singing and admire Ms. Verrett's will to succeed despite career difficulties.
Ted Wilks
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Much-loved mezzo soprano Shirley Verrett is celebrated in this four-cd set, a collection of many favorites and best performances. The volumes are organized by performance venues, all from the mid-1960s. The volumes the Storm, Carnegie Hall, Spanish Songs, and Vivaldi provide four different concerts, compiling an Edition. Ms. Verrett's exquisite tone and texture shine through the years to remind the musical world of her unforgettable talent and skill.

The booklet, while brief, gives the audience a glimpse of Ms. Verrett's history and successes. Her public audiences, voice students, choir directors looking for special pieces for training, and opera aficionados will all enjoy this presentation. Shirley Verrett shared her glorious voice for decades in concerts, recitals, and opera, setting the standard for generations to come.
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