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Aria: Opera Without Words

4.1 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Audio CD, February 13, 2007
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Jean Yves Thibaudet brings a lifelong passion for opera to his new CD of irresistible operatic melodies: Aria - Opera Without Words, an album that combines the intimacy of the piano recital with the drama and romance of the opera house. Following the huge success of his recording of the complete solo piano music of Erik Satie, this new album is a very personal collection of timeless classics and new transcriptions - including several by Thibaudet himself. Aria - Opera Without Words includes arrangements of many of the best-loved arias of opera including Puccini's "Vissi d'arte" from Tosca and "O mio babbino caro" from Gianni Schicchi, and the sparkling "Jewel Song" from Gounod`s Faust. Thibaudet even provides a thrilling portrait of Wagner's mighty "Ride of the Valkyries." These performances are not just arrangements of popular classics, they are also piano works in their own right.

Amazon.com

French pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet has had a lifelong devotion to vocal repertoire, and it was inevitable that he would record an "opera without words" program. He is co-arranger of several selections on this disc, which is dedicated by Thibaudet to all the singers with whom he has performed. Listened to in one sitting, the disc is perhaps too much of a good thing. Savored a couple of tracks at a time, however, it offers considerable pleasure. Among today's big-name pianists, Thibaudet is one of those most frequently praised for "singing tone." He displays it exquisitely throughout this program, beginning with the initial track, a fantasy on two arias from Samson et Dalila. Among the other tracks, a few do disappointingly little to enhance what one would find in a piano-vocal score ("Vissi d'arte" is an obvious example). On the other hand, Thibaudet's full technical arsenal is magisterially deployed in "Soirée de Vienne," a concoction of Johann Strauss waltz themes including that of Die Fledermaus; a "sonata-fantasy" based on Madama Butterfly -- at 12 minutes, the longest track on the disc; and Louis Brassin's formidable arrangement of the "Ride of the Valkyries," which Thibaudet tosses off with staggering ease. -- Roger Pines
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2:52
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3:24
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (February 13, 2007)
  • First Edition edition
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Decca
  • ASIN: B000M9BTPE
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #67,041 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
French piano virtuoso Jean Yves Thibaudet brings his lifelong passion for opera to his new album of irresistible operatic melodies called Aria Opera Without Words. This cd is a collection of opera's most enduring music in piano arrangements from touching simplicity to thrilling virtuosity. Jean Yves Thibaudet who is often called the Poet of the piano again brings his uniquely accessible artistry to the widest classical audience with an album that combines the intimacy of the piano recital with the drama and romance of the opera house. The album showcases the full palette of sound colors he produces when he plays composers like Debussy and Ravel for which he is internationally renowned. These performances are not just arrangements of popular classics, they are also piano works in their own right. Bellini's Casta Diva, in which the heroine of his opera Norma sings to the moon goddess, becomes a Romantic nocturne which sounds like it could have been composed by Chopin. The album also includes arrangements of many of the best loved arias of opera including Puccini's Vissi darte from Tosca and O mio babbino caro and the sparkling jewel song from Gounod's Faust. For this recording Jean Yves Thibaudet explored both established transcriptions and new arrangements. The Puccini arias are performed in versions by the American pianist Yvar Mikashoff who Jean Yves Thibaudet met before his death in 1993. As a tribute a large part of the album is devoted to Mikashoff's four part sonata fantasy which paints a portrait of Puccini's tragic heroine Madama Butterfly. Two of the most evocative tracks have been arranged by Jean Yves Thibaudet himself working with acclaimed composer Randy Kerber best known for his film score The Color Purple.Read more ›
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Format: Audio CD
Jean-Yves Thibaudet's new recording is very pleasant to listen to. As expected, his playing is flawless and endlessly romantic in style; very poetic performances. His selection of repertoire is nice; however, the transcriptions themselves cannot compare to those by Liszt, in which Thibaudt dazzled listeners with his earlier recorded disc.

Overall, the playing is superb, the music is both warmly familiar and interesting and this is an excellent edition to the music lover's collection.
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Format: Audio CD
Sensitive and beautifully expressive playing, Thibaudet captures the essence of the singers art with his piano. Recording quality excellent.

Can't stop listening to this superb recording. Buy it now!
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
For all those who love OPERA and its everlasting great ARIAS, this special CD will be a lovely surprise and a very precious collection item. The great keyboard virtuoso Jean-Yves Thibaudet - who confesses in the accompanying booklet his passion for operatic genre and for all those wonderful voices living in it - pays his affectionate tribute to its grand masters, by recording this second disc devoted to piano transcriptions. This time, take the stage transcriptions from operas by Puccini, Wagner, Bellini, Saint Saens, Richard Strauss, Gluck, Korngold or Johann Strauss son.

Thibaudet's passion for opera and his stunning virtuosity seem to supply an undiminished inspiration in expressing the whole gamut of feelings and moods considered for long time the exclusive realm of the human voice. Thibaudet preeminently proves here that the piano can stand on an equal footing with human voice, that it can shine in its own right and not be regarded as a mere second-rank partner in the singing equation. If I were urged to argue my above statement by presenting a short list of highlights from this recording, I would definitely face a great difficulty, as all these lovely transcriptions and their magisterial interpretation are simply glowing. Notwithstanding, I would mention in the first place the magic transcription of Bellini's `Casta Diva' by Yvan Mikhashoff. Truly, a marvel!

I invite you to witness Jean-Yves Thiaudet's joy of playing the piano and making it sing with unmatched pathos and sensitivity. The effect is simply a mind-blowing experience not to be missed!
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Format: Audio CD
So easy to listen to. He plays so smoothly. Such a joy to hear.
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Format: Audio CD
I saw in these pages an ad regarding Jean Yves Thibaudet, the pianist, in one of his recent numerous CDs. First I was attracted by the beautiful presentation of the CD and an invitation to hear samples of it. After listening to some of them, I was immediately caught by his elegant style, his finesse and the profound expression he gives to each interpretation. I couldn't resist the temptation to order one and I decided on the spot, to order one more for a dear friend. So when I received the package and played mine at my home, I realized I was done a good choice. It is so wonderful that I play it over and over and I'm very happy I bought it.
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Format: Audio CD
In "Aria: Opera without Words" Jean-Yves Thibaudet has chosen arrangements, and sometimes co-arranged operatic melodies in a way that allows the piano to enhance the original rather than being a substitute for the voice. I had thought I would never buy an instrumental arrangement of arias, especially after hearing the sentimental renderings of a certain popular classical violinist, but I heard several tracks of "Aria" on KUSC-FM and immediately purchased two copies, one for me and one for a Christmas present.
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