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Profile for K. Ali > Reviews


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Customer Reviews: 11
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Helpful Votes: 201

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Renee Fleming: By Request
Renee Fleming: By Request
Offered by Fulfillment Express US
Price: $13.10
82 used & new from $0.66

38 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For Fleming fans and neophytes, September 24, 2003
First things first: I'm a Fleming fan, but I do not blindly support everything she does. She's not perfect, and I'm willing to admit when she's done something she shouldn't. Having said that, her voice is so gorgeous that it's really hard not to forgive her. On to this CD. ... this CD is a compilation. It's intended for people who want a retrospective of her recorded material thus far. However, it's also for true fans like myself, because though we might have all the albums from which these recordings were taken, we would certainly want the three new tracks. And these new tracks do not disappoint. I heard Fleming's Violetta in Houston this year, and her Act I aria was so refreshingly and brilliantly sung that I wished she would record it. And here it is! There are some changes; for instance, she doesn't hit a high E at the end, but rather sings according to the original score. As for the second new track, "Cäcilie," which Renée sings at just about every recital and concert, it is gorgeously sung with full orchestra, for the first time on Decca. I strongly disagree with the editor's comments on "You'll Never Walk Alone," because Renée's recording is anything but over-the-top. Instead, it is refreshingly understated and earnest. The effect is that it becomes a moving song rather than a showpiece. The real standout tracks for me are both Mozart arias, the arias from "Manon" and "Rusalka," which are two roles she has truly made her own, and "Mariettas Lied." And, of course, her "Summertime" is stunning, with a jaw-dropping glissando at the end. So, in sum, I'll say that Fleming fans will not want to be without this CD, because the new tracks make it worth having. And it is a wonderful first CD for new listeners. If you like this CD, you will not want to be without "Beautiful Voice" and "Renée Fleming," and you may also want to explore her "Mozart Arias" and "Signatures," as well as her full-length opera recordings of "Cosi fan tutte," "Rusalka," and "Manon" on DVD (forthcoming). The last thing I'd like to mention is that the orchestral introductions of at least two tracks--"Casta diva" and "O silver moon"--are not included on this CD. But considering that the disc runs almost 78 minutes, we can understand.

Cracking the GRE: 2002 Edition
Cracking the GRE: 2002 Edition
by Karen Lurie
Edition: Paperback
20 used & new from $0.01

20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Do get this book, July 1, 2001
If you're studying for the GRE, this book is a must. It contains a full overview of the types of questions that you will find on the exam, and at the end it has three practice sections for each of the test sections, organized by easy, medium, and hard, for the verbal, quantitative, and analytical. Full explanations of the answers follow. As for the CD, it gives a lot of trouble with the drills, but with the full sections I haven't encountered any problems. The information you get about your performance is very helpful--average time per question type, time spent per question, score, etc. IMPORTANT: The only bummer is that each of the three sections is set for 45 minutes, which is in fact the time allowed only for the quantitative. (On the real test the verbal is 30 and analytical 60.) To solve this all you have to do is check the box that says "untimed," and then time yourself. I recommend this book for especially for higher scorers who want to hone their skills. Please do not consider these materials a substitute for actual GRE practice, however. If you're serious about studying for the GRE, get the official ETS books and software in addition to Princeton Review, which will help you with strategy.

Richard Strauss - Arabella / Thielemann, Te Kanawa, Brendel, Metropolitan Opera
Richard Strauss - Arabella / Thielemann, Te Kanawa, Brendel, Metropolitan Opera
DVD ~ Kiri Te Kanawa
Price: $16.65
49 used & new from $7.99

56 of 59 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Excellent DVD of an excellent performance, June 30, 2001
How lucky we are to have this gorgeous Metropolitan Opera production on such a high-quality DVD! If you missed the original 1995 telecast of this opera, you have yet to discover the joys of this production. Arabella is a comedy of manners set in 1860s Vienna. Arabella's parents have a fading fortune, so they can afford to marry off only one of their two daughters; the other, Zdenka, they dress as a boy and refer to as Zdenke. I won't give away the rest of the story; it's really worth it to let this magnificent performance unfold and find out what happens that way. The cast was the best that could possibly be assembled at the time, with Wolfgang Brendel, quite convincing as the young, hot-blooded Mandryka, in his debut of the role. Kiri Te Kanawa is a legendary Strauss singer, and though she is often criticized for poor interpretation, in this opera her subtle acting shines. For example, look at her reaction when she meets Mandryka, the man she had been crushing on witho!ut knowing who he was. Her singing is consistently beautiful and soft, and her stage presence is radiant, in spite of her fifty years at the time of this taping. Arabella is supposed to be about twenty years old, and Kiri truly exudes the youth of the character, yet manages to convey the maturity that colors her almost maternal relationship with her younger sister Zdenka. Helga Dernesch and Donald McIntyre are animated as Arabella's parents. Marie McLaughlin is a passionate Zdenka. We really feel for her throughout the opera, as she longs for femininity and love. A special bonus in this production is the now-stellar Nathalie Dessay as Die Fiakermilli. She flaunts her coloratura in Act II. Christinan Thielemann is a sensitive conductor, and the MET orchestra plays flawlessly. The DVD transfer is superb. Subtitles available in German (original language), French, English, and Chinese. (Special note: Renée Fleming will perform in this same production at the MET in November 2001. G!et your tickets!)

Kiri Te Kanawa - Home & Afar
Kiri Te Kanawa - Home & Afar
DVD ~ Kiri Te Kanawa
15 used & new from $2.74

19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Kiri the legendary soprano, June 27, 2001
This review is from: Kiri Te Kanawa - Home & Afar (DVD)
This is Kiri Te Kanawa at her finest. On this excellently transferred DVD we get to see her perform in her home country New Zealand and at a beautiful English chapel. The energy and excitement of the outdoor NZ concert really breathe through the screen. She sings "Io son l'umile ancella," "In quelle trine morbide," "Pace, pace, mio dio," "Tu, che di gel sei cinta," AND "Ch'il bel sogno di Doretta," one of her signature arias, which is mysteriously OMITTED from the listing on the back and inside covers! (It is itself worth the price of the DVD.) The NZ selection concludes with two Maori songs, one of them sung a capella, and "I Could Have Danced All Night." The second half of the program consists of two Handel arias ("Non disperar" and "Care selve") and Mozart's "Exsultate, jubilate!" in its entirety. Everyone familiar with Kiri Te Kanawa knows that she never leaves one of her headlining concerts without singing "O mio babbino caro", which here runs during the end credits. A very satisfying program. Note that between a few segments there is commentary by Kiri, which ties the whole program together very nicely. No subtitles. Excellent sound. Winner of the Silver Medal in Arts Performance at the 1993 NY Intl Film and TV Festival.

Massenet - Thaïs / Fleming, Hampson, Sabbatini, Shkosa, Vidal, Devellereau, Cals, Yves Abel
Massenet - Thaïs / Fleming, Hampson, Sabbatini, Shkosa, Vidal, Devellereau, Cals, Yves Abel
Price: $33.87
69 used & new from $1.92

5.0 out of 5 stars Worth a listen, May 19, 2001
I take the opera and the performance for what they are. My fellow opera buffs tend to forget that humans perform operas, not flawless musical beings. The story of Thaïs is beautiful. The voices are gorgeous. Renée Fleming's voice is gorgeous, and I feel her performance. Give it a chance.

Kiri Te Kanawa: Sole e Amore - Puccini Arias
Kiri Te Kanawa: Sole e Amore - Puccini Arias
67 used & new from $0.01

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars My favorite soprano, past her prime, April 18, 2001
Kiri was my first diva, and it was at her concert seven years ago that I became enthralled with opera. However, I find this album difficult to listen to because nearly all of the arias have already been recorded, and were recorded when she was in her prime. This album was recorded when she was 52-53. Get her 1983 album "Verdi and Puccini", where she sings seven Puccini arias (including "Un bel di", Doretta's song, "O mio babbino caro," "Vissi d'arte") with astounding beauty and ease. However, if you are a big Kiri fan, you will enjoy "Sole e amore," as it includes three Puccini songs which she had not previously recorded and for which her voice is ideal. Also, the arias from "Manon Lescaut" are superbly performed.

Renée Fleming
Renée Fleming
Price: $11.99
125 used & new from $0.01

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gorgeous, October 24, 2000
This review is from: Renée Fleming (Audio CD)
Fleming sings beautifully, and I'd like to recommend this CD especially to younger people and those not familiar with opera. It comes with full text and translations, and samples beautiful arias from popular operas--Surely a good introduction to the art of the soprano. Note that, contrary to what the album's title (simply "Renee Fleming") might suggest, this is not a CD of her signature arias. Instead, it's a nice treat for her fans to hear their favorite diva sing opera favorites.

Sugar Cane Alley (Cancelled)
Sugar Cane Alley (Cancelled)

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars de rigueur, October 23, 2000
This review is from: Sugar Cane Alley (Cancelled) (DVD)
As a French major and prospective teacher of French, I ofcourse find this a valuable tool for the classroom--BUT it's so muchmore than that! Since it's so often used in the classroom people tendto neglect that this is an outstanding film, beautifully put togetherwith some memorable acting. Anyone studying West Indian literaturewill get a chance to see in full color an outstanding representationof life in colonial Caribbean. (French teachers can also note that inusing a DVD you have the advantage of switching off the subtitles formore advanced students. And certainly native speakers will appreciatethis feature.) END

Mermaids (Magical Beings)
Mermaids (Magical Beings)
by Elizabeth Ratisseau
Edition: Hardcover
43 used & new from $0.08

34 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A beautiful book, July 31, 2000
This has to be one the most drop-dead-gorgeous books I've seen. The pages have a luxuriant blue luster, and the illustrations--many of which I had not seen before--have been remarkably chosen. The literary excerpts, including words of Shakespeare, Wilde, Yeats, are the sort that you would underline while reading those works, for their sheer beauty. Note that this is not a scholarly work and teaches nothing of the history of mermaids. However, it gives an impression, overall, of the sadness and beauty of the mermaid experience.

Sirens: Symbols of Seduction
Sirens: Symbols of Seduction
by Meri Franco-Lao
Edition: Hardcover
25 used & new from $4.45

23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Very Good Resource, July 31, 2000
In researching a paper I am currently writing on the mermaid in literature, I was surpised at the dearth of scholarship on this subject. Lao's book is more a coffee table piece than a scholarly discourse, but it is nicely researched and has pointed me to numerous literary works in which mermaids are mentioned. I must say that the illustrations are not nearly as interesting as those in, say, Ratisseau's beautiful book, but there is more substance here.

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