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Bartolomé Mesa "TOLO" RSS Feed (Malaga, SPAIN)

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St Petersburg [Limited Edition]
St Petersburg [Limited Edition]
Offered by Fulfillment Express US
Price: $21.14
58 used & new from $13.87

28 of 31 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars THE EXALTED LADY DOES IT AGAIN, October 14, 2014
The newest release of Cecilia Bartoli's ongoing series of "concept" albums in book form, beautifuly crafted and edited, is dedicated to arias long forgotten, apparently exhumed and selected by the singer herself from scores hold in the Mariinsky Theatre Musical Archive in St. Petersburg. These eleven world premiere recordings give us a sample of some of the operatic works performed in Russia during the XVIIIth century, when three Tsaritsas -Anna, Elizabeth and Catherine the Great- ruled supreme, importing composers and singers mainly from Italy. Unfortunately whoever decided the contents of the very chic book (and I suspect Bartoli must be behind it) seems more interested in these queens and their flamboyant court than in the actual composers and music here recorded. While we get irrelevant details of the life of Catherine the Great (such as her husband preferring playing with his toy soldiers to making love to her and even the ludicrous myth of her stallion collapsing of top of her while she was attempting sexual intercourse with the beast!), we get little information of the musical milieu and the musicians and no information whatsoever of the totally unknown pieces. Very dissapointing. The music varies in quality and, as in the Sacrificium album, we could have lived without some of it for another 200 years. But there are other pieces, particularly the slow ones, very beautiful and deserving of several hearings. Bartoli herself shines brighter in these than in those with very fast and florid ornamentation, which, to my ears at least, become rather predictable and tiring. The singerr remains quite unique, with her trademark passionate delivery and spectacular coloratura. It is an interesting album, although inevitably, after Sacrificium and others, doesn't seem so novel any more. I'm happy I bought it, but I think it could have been better documented. Fans of Bartoli of course will love it. She appears in several pictures beautifully dressed and photoshopped as an empress. Cecilia the Great indeed. I couldn't help a little smile while looking at these pictures and listening to the last track, a chorus of exaltation from Mafredini's Carlo Magno, "A noi vivi, donna eccelsa..."


Placido Domingo at the Met
Placido Domingo at the Met
Price: $19.48
51 used & new from $7.27

14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars GLORIOUS DOMINGO, March 30, 2014
Domingo has been always there, from the very beginning of my operagoing years. Singing most of the times gloriously with a darkish tenor voice, manly and sweet, when needed, romantic and heroic, and a warmth that, in a good night (and there've been so many!), caressed the ears and excited the senses. He may not have been blessed with a very easy top (neither was Caruso), but in artistry, musicianship and breadth of repertoty he is peerless. I've had the good fortune of seeing him many times, mainly at Covent Garden, but also the Met, Los Angeles, Teatro Real (Madrid) and Liceu (Barcelona). I will never forget that superb Otello in London, conducted by Carlos Kleiber, followed a few months later by a Rodolfo (Bohème) that brought tears to my eyes. I had the opportunity of asking Dame Eva Turner, that despite being in her ninetiies attended opera performances regularly at the ROH, for her opinion of Domingo's performance of Otello that night and the legendary soprano, wihoutt hesitation, replied that it was the best Otello she had ever heard. And when I dared ask if she was including Martinelli's (widely regarded as a peerles Moor and a tenor idolised by her, who usually called him "the prince of Italian tenors", rolling her r's marvellously) she again repeated, the best I've heard. Not many of the arias and scenes of 39 roles, captured live at the MET, and released now by Sony to celebrate the 45th anniversary of his debut in that house, reach that same level of sublime excellence. How could they? But they never are less than compeling performances and alltogether represent quite a comprehensive sample of Domingo's unique artistry. It would take too much space to mention all my favourites. In the first disc alone (dedicated to Verdi, his -and my- favourite composer) there are several excellent performances from Simon Boccanegra (as Grabiele in 1995 and the bariitone title role in 2010), Don Carlo, Rodolfo (Luisa Miller), La Forza del Destino, Il Trovatore (with a small but superb contibution of Montserrat Caballé, in a recording from 1973 that Sony should release complete), Traviata (as Alfredo and Germont)..., and a spellbinding Otello (Niun mi tema). The second disc (mainly Puccini and verismo) has some great tracks as well (including a Recondita Armonia from 1969, the oldest recording in the set, just a year after his debut in the Met), with a Domingo suitably ardent in most of them. Finally, the third disc, with a selection of excerpts from the French, Russian and German schools (apart from Tan Dun's Emperor Quin, a role in English he created in 2007), is a showcase of Domingo's unparalleled versatility. Of course of many selections one can think of individual performances sung better by other tenors from the past and even the present. But taken as a whole, there in no other singer that could approach him in range and consistent high level of ecellence. Domingo is a miracle and this set will be good testimony for those in the future that didn't have the fortune to see him on stage. The general quality of the sound is very good. The booklet could have been meatier, but has some nice pictures. Highly recommended.


MEElectronics Air Fi Runaway Bluetooth Stereo Wireless + Wired Headphones with Microphone (Black/Gray)
MEElectronics Air Fi Runaway Bluetooth Stereo Wireless + Wired Headphones with Microphone (Black/Gray)
Price: $44.99
35 used & new from $24.47

5.0 out of 5 stars THE BEAUTY OF FREEDOM, January 26, 2014
Not sure why, but I never thought of getting bluetooth wireless headphones. I have the Monster Inspiration for home use and for the go I was happy with the little ones that come along with my iPhone 5S. But now that I had the opportunity of trying these AF-32 made by MEElectronics I don't know how I could manage without them. No more messy wires and the possibility of taking off your jacket without taking off your headphones as well is a welcomed development. You don't feel somehow tied-up any more. It's the beauty of freedom. And you notice that as soon as you wear them. Then you realize how light they are, sitting comfortably on your head and ears, even after a longish period of use. Ideal for nice walks in the park or by the sea. Its grip though is sufficiently tight to even run around. Then you notice the sound. I listen to all kind of music, from opera and jazz to pop and hip-hop (sometimes) and in all kind the voice comes across quite nicely, with the right timbre, while the bass is quite powerful and the treble very clear, without noticeable distortion. They pair very easily with my iPhone and getting or making a call with the in-built microphone couldn't be easier. I still have to use them with my iPad and Macbook, but it should be a pleasure as well. The headphones come in a choice of colours, can be folded to save space when carrying them and they come with a charging cable and an audio cable with two 3.5 mm. jacks to use them with gadgets without bluetooh. My only complain would be that the supplied carrying bag do not protect the headphones at all and it looks and feels quite cheap. The flimsy and simple cardboard box in which they come do not sell them very well either to the prospective purchaser. This minimalist approach in marketing could be praiseworthy for certain quarters, but in times in which looks are paramount maybe don't make much commercial sense. But in the end of course the important thing is not the container, but the content. There the AF32 pass the test and with flying colours.


Ave Maria (Deluxe Version)
Ave Maria (Deluxe Version)
Offered by NO1122
Price: $8.88
35 used & new from $0.32

20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars SO BEAUTIFUL... IT ALMOST HURTS, October 23, 2013
As my reviews of Vittorio Grigòlo's previous albums on the Sony label clearly show, I am a complete admirer of his tenor's voice and his art. Nevertheless I put his new CD in my player with a degree of aprehension. Was this another sugary compilation of sweet sacred melodies so apt for the upcoming Christmas? I have had enough of those. Fortunately, this is a very different kind of disc. There are of course some predictable pieces, from Franck's Panis Angelicus to Schubert's Ave Maria, but most of the tracks in the album are very little known and previously unrecorded songs of prayer that Vittorio learned and sung with the priests of the legendary Sistine Chapel Choir in the Vatican, of which he was a member from the age of 11 to 14. The children of the actual choir join the grown up artist in several of of them and they both sound heavenly. Many of these pieces may not be great music, but all of them are pleasant to hear and have a profound significance in the artist's forming years and it shows. Grigòlo probably has never sung more from the heart than he has here. And in an age of mostly technical and inexpressive singing that is not a quality to be underestimated. So heartly recommended.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 31, 2013 2:16 AM PDT


Ave Maria
Ave Maria
Offered by mirmedia_movies_and_music
Price: $10.67
36 used & new from $3.00

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars SO BEAUTIFUL... IT AMOST HURTS, October 23, 2013
This review is from: Ave Maria (Audio CD)
As my reviews of Vittorio Grigòlo's previous albums on the Sony label clearly show, I am a complete admirer of his tenor's voice and his art. Nevertheless I put his new CD in my player with a degree of aprehension. Was this another sugary compilation of sweet sacred melodies so apt for the upcoming Christmas? I have had enough of those. Fortunately, this is a very different kind of disc. There are of course some predictable pieces, from Franck's Panis Angelicus to Schubert's Ave Maria, but most of the tracks in the album are very little known and previously unrecoded songs of prayer that Vittorio learned and sung with the priests of the legendary Sistine Chapel Choir in the Vatican, of which he was a member from the age of 11 to 14. The children of the actual choir join the grown up artist in several of them and they both sound heavenly. Many of these pieces may not be great music, but all of them are pleasant to hear and have a profound significance in the artist's forming years and it shows. Grigòlo probably has never sung more from the heart than he has here. And in an age of mostly technical and inexpressive singing that is not a quality to be understemated. So heartly recommended.


Verdi at the MET: Legendary Performances from The Metropolitan Opera
Verdi at the MET: Legendary Performances from The Metropolitan Opera
Price: $58.99
29 used & new from $49.99

42 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars GLORIOUS PRESENCE, October 3, 2013
i cannot think of a better way of honouring Verdi's bicentenary than listening to this marvelous set of ten of his most celebrated operas (though it could have been streched to a dozen to include Trovatore and Ernani as well, or Don Carlo and Vespri) performed and brodcast by the Metropolitan opera from the mid thirties to the late sixties, with some of the greatest singers of the past century. All of them have been released before in no authorized editions, with diverse quality of sound. I had most of them and I beleive that the present edition, from the actual tapes curated by the MET, have better sound overall. Particularly the legendary Traviata of Ponselle from 1935 is presented with a restoration that seems to me almost a miracle. I have listened to this recording since its release by Pearl in two vinil discs and later in several CD editions, including the Naxos transfer by Ward Marston, and never thought that anybody could dig out from those old acetate discs (or rather surviving tapes made from the now lost acetates) any more sound. But how wrong I was. In the present incarnation the richness and grandeur of Ponselle 's voice has a presence that I never dreamed possible. It almost brought tears to my eyes. Only for that I would have gladly paid this set asking price. But then you get the 1940 Otello, in opinion of the late John Steane (to me the supreme authority regarding vocal criticism) the best performance by Martinelli and the rest of the principals that have been preserved. Which is like saying the best Otello in recorded history. The other 8 operas are equally superb performances by some of the greatest verdian singers of the past, schooled unlike many of the present "stars" in an almost lost tradition of singing, which combined attack and legato, impeccable phrasing, beautiful tone and expresive declamation. Get it while it lasts.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 24, 2014 3:50 AM PDT


Montserrat Caballe Edition
Montserrat Caballe Edition
Price: $20.95
40 used & new from $6.26

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars SHAME ON SONY, May 28, 2013
Let me be clear. I'm giving two stars to this dreadful mess because I cannot bring myself to rate with one (the lower allowed by Amazon) any Caballé release. I've admired for almost three decades the exquisite art of the Spanish soprano, I have literaly all her recordings (including many pirate issues of live performances) and it saddens me that Sony, owner now of all her legendary RCA recordings, has chosen to celebrate her 80th birthday with this very ill conceived (if any thought was given to it) anthology on 6 CDS. The container is very pretty, nicely designed with some beautiful pictures, but the contents are an incredible mess. I wonder if Robert Russ, credited with the production of this issue, has any appreciation of Caballé singing or indeed of the art of singing in general. The tracks of each CD are a silly mixture, alternating wonderful early recordings with very, very late ones (which ok, she should not have recorded in the first place), that do not belong in any celebration of Caballé's art. Also too many dispensable trifles (including late weird arrangements for her voice of classical and pop tunes) are included, leaving no space for so many wonderful recordings she did for the label (no representation of her magnificent Salome or her ideal interpretation of the Verdi's Requiem, for example). But most damaging of all, many tracks have been savagely cut, leaving out preludes, recitatives and cabalettas and thus shamefully disfiguring her interpretation. As the late British voice critic John Steane has noted, many times the most lovely moment in a Caballé recording happens in the most unexpected place, at the end of the recitative, where some notes that look quite ordinary on the printed score are miraculously trasformed by her voice into a rare moment of extraordinary beauty. Well, the listener of this issue will miss a few of those moments. But what does Sony Corporation (and Robert Russ) know and care? If you want to sample a much better anthology, go for The Sound of Montserrat Caballé, just released by EMI on 5 CDs. Or The Original Jacket Collection [15cd] that Sony itself released some five years ago with a nice selection of some of her finest LPs. There one can find many of the complete tracks horribly butchered in the present issue.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 10, 2014 12:14 AM PDT


Cilea: Adriana Lecouvreur [Blu-ray]
Cilea: Adriana Lecouvreur [Blu-ray]
DVD ~ Angela Gheorghiu
Price: $32.66
35 used & new from $16.35

42 of 48 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars NOT QUITE, April 16, 2012
Lets put aside the obvious. This is a wonderful recording, both in terms of picture and sound (the blu-ray specially glorious). McVicar's production is generally very good, with rich costumes; sort of traditional, but that's a good thing. Mark Elder treats with respect the score and has a great orchestra at his disposal. I don't think this opera has ever sounded better than here. The cast boasts star singers at their peak. Angela Gheorghiu is in excellent voice and Jonas Kaufmann sounds (and looks) magnificent. Olga Borodina and Alessandro Corbelli are very good too. I couldn't bring myself to giving it less than five stars. So here we have a truly great performance, wonderfully recorded, that can be recommended without reservations, right? Well... Not quite.

Adriana Lecouvreur has been sung by many divas (in some cases at the end of their careers). Somehow it must appeal to their oversized egos. It's a role that requires contrasting vocal resources, from very dramatic ousburts to moments of great delicacy and finesse. But also an oustanding personality that must fills the stage, a sort of radiance, in a word "grandeur". Gheorghiu doesn't lack ego, particularlly outside the stage. There are many stories going around, but you only need to listen to her in the interesting bonus "About Adriana" included in this release to realize that. She asked Covent Garden to stage the opera for her, after more of a century ignoring it, and she beleives to be part of a historical event. She also says SHE REALLY WAS Adriana on stage two days before. But to my eyes (and this is of course a subjective perception)she does not have that presence the role ideally asks for. She is coquettish, she is agitated (too agitated even) at almost all times, she acts girlish and she demands attention... but she is not grand. And there are vocal problems as well. Gheorghiu has a good voice, but her lyric soprano cannot fulfill all the demands of the role. She sounds underpowered in some key moments and her important and very dramatic declamation at the end of the third act lacks a force that cannot be disguised simply by hitting your chest. Don't get me wrong, hers is a comitted and very good performance that I would be glad to encounter live in any theatre. But unfortunately there are other recordings that show quite clearly what we're missing here. Particularly a Tokyo performance by Caballé in 1976 (Adriana Lecouvreur [DVD] [2008]). I have rewiewed it already and won't repeat myself. To mention just one example, Gheorghious' Poveri fiori is very good, but Caballe's (sung in what seems a single breath) is pure magic. Gheorghiou is excellent, but Caballé gave a legendary performance, very committed dramatically as well (so much for those that keep repeating she couldn't act); hers was singing for the ages. So by all means get this Covent Garden's recording. I will be returning to it for its overall excellence, great production and recording values, and Jonas Kaufmann's brilliant performance, both vocally and dramatically. But you should also give a chance to that Tokyo performance if you want to experience how magical Adriana de Lecouvreur (and opera) can be.
Comment Comments (13) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 29, 2015 3:55 PM PDT


Mediterraneo
Mediterraneo
Price: $11.74
45 used & new from $3.85

22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars PLAYING FROM THE SOUL, June 22, 2011
This review is from: Mediterraneo (Audio CD)
I love the sound of the guitar. Being a Spaniard from Andalucía, perhaps it should be expected. But my passion has always been opera and baroque music and I think what I find so appealing in that instrument is the way it seems to convey more obviously than others the raw emotions of the player. It is more accessible and to my ears its sound more earthy and sensual. Of course I have admired the sublime art of Andrés Segovia and the mastery of Narciso Yepes and -in a more popular vein- Paco de Lucía. So I approached the debut album of Milos Karadaglic with curiosity and a bit of reservation. Could this handsome young newcomer bring something that I couldn't find in the old masters? Did I need another only guitar CD? Well, the answer to both questions is yes. His chosen repertory is mainly Spanish and well recorded many times over.But I find his playing both fresh and stunning. The sound he extracts from those strings are truly mind-blowing. But he is more than a mere virtuoso. His passion for the instrument since childhood seems to have created a relationship with the instrument close to lovemaking and he gives all of himself, body and soul, to each piece, although I find the first track (Asturias) particularly moving. This is an extraordinary debut album. The half hour little documentary on the DVD is quite interesting too, giving fine close-ups of his playing.

PS. Titled "Mediterráneo" instead of "The Guitar" in the US release.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 22, 2011 11:13 PM PDT


Great Diva Edition (English)
Great Diva Edition (English)
Offered by historical_classical
Price: $79.95
12 used & new from $61.11

5.0 out of 5 stars LA DIVINA AT HER BEST, April 13, 2011
Great survey of the Diva's greatest decade by vocal scholar Jürgen Kesting, with 26 CD's unevenly filled, but with great sound, containing many of Callas' great recordings, live and in studio (now that they are in the public domain). The big booklet is meaty in weight and ideas (unfortunately the Spanish edition -the one I bought- has a sloppy and poor translation from the Deutsch). Beautifully designed and packed, this is a wonderful way to enjoy the art of the Divina, even for those of us that already own all the complete recordings from which this selection has been so expertly made. The sound is great, in some cases better than in my older editions.


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