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Melba’s Farewell

Melba’s Farewell


Bemberg:

L'amour est pur comme la flamme (from Elaine)

Burleigh, H T:

Jean

Gounod:

Ah! Je ris de me voir (from Faust)

Alerte, alerte! (from Faust)

Lotti:

Pur dicesti, o bocca bella

Massenet:

Don César de Bazan: Sévillana

Puccini:

Vissi d'arte (from Tosca)

Entrate...C'e Rodolfo? (from La Bohème)

Donde lieta usci (from La Bohème)

Addio dolce svegliare (from La Bohème)

Sono andati? Fingevo di dormire (from La Bohème)

O, come e bello e morbido (from La Bohème)

Ronald:

The Sounds of Earth Grow Faint (No. 4 from Four Impressions)

Tosti:

La serenata

Good-Bye! (1880)

trad.:

Swing Low, Sweet Chariot

Verdi:

Mia madre aveva...Piangea cantando...Ave Maria (from Otello)


The farewell performance of Dame Nellie Melba, world-famous prima donna of her day, on the stage of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, where she had sung hundreds of times over an unprecedented span of 40 years, remains a justly famous occasion, of which recorded extracts have been reissued previously. What makes the present release unique?

Firstly, it presents everything that the experimental electrical recording process captured on that evening of 8 June 1926: excerpts from the roles of Desdemona and Mimì, and speeches by Lord Stanley and Dame Nellie herself, ending in tears. Secondly, the original sources are as reliable and clear as may be found today, supplied by the Historic Singers Charitable Trust. Thirdly, those sources have been newly remastered for the first time at the ‘French’ pitch which Melba herself used, rather than the slightly higher concert pitch which is now ubiquitous both in live performances and on record.

The ‘Farewell’ portion of this Eloquence release is complemented by both Melba’s last recording, made six months later, and by the fascinating comparison which may then be made with some of her earliest studio recordings from 1904–10. If nothing else, these arias and songs bear out the astonishment of many listeners, both at the time of Melba’s farewell and ever since, at the remarkable preservation of her voice and of its sovereign qualities of steadiness, purity and beauty.

Gramophone’s principal vocal critic at the time was Herman Klein, who was apt to compare the recordings of singers with their vocal performance on stage, and often unfavourably. Yet when the first records of the ‘Farewell’ were issued, in October 1931, he was unequivocal: they were ‘a remarkably true and faithful reproduction of the voice and method of the last of the Victorian prima donnas; and as such they are bound for all time to command grateful appreciation’.

The presentation of this reissue includes several rarely seen photographs of Melba, and a detailed note by the historian of voices Roger Neill, who co-compiled the recent 4CD Eloquence set of ‘From Melba to Sutherland: Australian Singers on Record’ (4825892). That set was widely acclaimed for the excellence of both recordings and documentation: ‘magnificently curated’ (Limelight); ‘an absolute must-have’ (Gramophone); ‘an astonishing and enthralling cavalcade’ (Opera magazine). ‘Melba’s Farewell’ is sure to attract the same accolades.

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Australian Eloquence - ELQ4828093

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Puccini: Tosca

Puccini: Tosca


Angela Gheorghiu (Floria Tosca), Roberto Alagna (Mario Cavaradossi), Ruggero Raimondi (Baron Scarpia), Maurizio Muraro (Cesare Angelotti), Enrico Fissore (The sacristan), David Cangelosi (Spoletta) & Sorin Coliban (Sciarrone)

The Royal Opera House Chorus & Orchestra, Covent Garden & The Tiffin Boys Choir, Antonio Pappano

Set Design Sylvain Chauvelot

Costume Desgin Christian Gasc

Tosca – the epitome of Italian opera. It is a thrilling story about desire, passion and death. A story about one beloved woman and two men, who fight a duel – one of them is an angel and the other one a demon. Benoît Jacquot, the successful French film director, does not create a stage performance but an opera for the cinema in 2001. A bold idea and an exciting venture – he loves his actors, the close-up shots and he has developed his own style as it turned out in many other of his films before. The result is a wonderful production of one of Puccini’s greatest operas with an amazing set design, beautiful costumes and an emotional performance by Angela Gheorghiu and Roberto Alagna, the opera dream couple at that time, in the main roles and Ruggero Raimondi as counterpart.

Sound Format: PCM Stereo, Dolby Digital 5.1, DTS 5.1

Picture Format: 16:9

DVD 9 / NTSC

Running Time: 125 mins

Subtitles: DE, FR, EN, IT, ES, KOR

FSK: 6

Region Code: 0

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Arthaus Musik - 109292

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Rossini: Guillaume Tell

Rossini: Guillaume Tell


Gerald Finley (Guillaume Tell), Malin Byström (Mathilde), John Osborn (Arnold Melchtal), Sofia Fomina (Jemmy), Nicolas Courjal (Gesler), Alexander Vinogradov (Walter Furst), Enkelejda Shkosa (Hedwige), Eric Halfvarson (Melcthal), Michael Colvin (Rodolphe), Samuel Dale Johnson (Leuthold), Enea Scala (Ruodi)

Royal Opera Chorus & Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Antonio Pappano (conductor) & Damiano Michieletto (director)

Rossini’s final opera helped to lay the foundations of the genre of French grand opéra that dominated European stages throughout the mid-19th century. The opera’s theme is liberty, as exemplified in the struggle against Austrian occupation led by the Swiss archer and patriot Guillaume Tell: in the opera’s most famous scene, Tell shoots an apple from his son’s head, a feat that inspires his countrymen to revolt.

Rossini’s score, here performed in its original French, is one of his most outstanding and packed with glorious arias, choruses and ensembles. The exciting young Italian director Damiano Michieletto makes his Royal Opera House debut with a spectacular and thought-provoking production.

Subtitles: EN/FR/DE/JP/KO

Running time: 216 minutes

Sound format: LPCM & DTS Master Audio 5.1

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Rossini: Guillaume Tell

Rossini: Guillaume Tell


Gerald Finley (Guillaume Tell), Malin Byström (Mathilde), John Osborn (Arnold Melchtal), Sofia Fomina (Jemmy), Nicolas Courjal (Gesler), Alexander Vinogradov (Walter Furst), Enkelejda Shkosa (Hedwige), Eric Halfvarson (Melcthal), Michael Colvin (Rodolphe), Samuel Dale Johnson (Leuthold), Enea Scala (Ruodi)

Royal Opera Chorus & Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Antonio Pappano (conductor) & Damiano Michieletto (director)

Rossini’s final opera helped to lay the foundations of the genre of French grand opéra that dominated European stages throughout the mid-19th century. The opera’s theme is liberty, as exemplified in the struggle against Austrian occupation led by the Swiss archer and patriot Guillaume Tell: in the opera’s most famous scene, Tell shoots an apple from his son’s head, a feat that inspires his countrymen to revolt.

Rossini’s score, here performed in its original French, is one of his most outstanding and packed with glorious arias, choruses and ensembles. The exciting young Italian director Damiano Michieletto makes his Royal Opera House debut with a spectacular and thought-provoking production.

Subtitles: EN/FR/DE/JP/KO

Running time: 216 minutes

Sound format: LPCM & DTS Master Audio 5

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Opus Arte Royal Opera House Collection - OABD7195D

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Offenbach: Les Contes d'Hoffmann

Offenbach: Les Contes d'Hoffmann


Vittorio Grigolo (Hoffmann), Kate Lindsey (Nicklausse/Muse), Christine Rice (Giulietta), Sonya Yoncheva (Antonia), Sofia Fomina (Olympia), Thomas Hampson Coppélius/Dapertutto/Lindorf/Miracle)

Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Royal Opera Chorus, Evelino Pidò (conductor) & John Schlesinger (director)

The final revival of this well-loved production by John Schlesinger provided the perfect vehicle for Vittorio Grigòlo as Hoffmann to display his wonderful voice and masterful acting, surrounded by an exemplary supporting cast, including Sonya Yoncheva in the role of Antonia, and Thomas Hampson as Hoffmann’s arch rivals. The production at the Royal Opera House (November 2016) garnered very good reviews, especially for Vittorio Grigòlo.

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Offenbach: Les Contes d'Hoffmann

Offenbach: Les Contes d'Hoffmann


Vittorio Grigolo (Hoffmann), Kate Lindsey (Nicklausse/Muse), Christine Rice (Giulietta), Sonya Yoncheva (Antonia), Sofia Fomina (Olympia), Thomas Hampson Coppélius/Dapertutto/Lindorf/Miracle)

Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Royal Opera Chorus, Evelino Pidò (conductor) & John Schlesinger (director)

The final revival of this well-loved production by John Schlesinger provided the perfect vehicle for Vittorio Grigòlo as Hoffmann to display his wonderful voice and masterful acting, surrounded by an exemplary supporting cast, including Sonya Yoncheva in the role of Antonia, and Thomas Hampson as Hoffmann’s arch rivals. The production at the Royal Opera House (November 2016) garnered very good reviews, especially for Vittorio Grigòlo.

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Puccini: La fanciulla del West

Puccini: La fanciulla del West


Carol Neblett (Minnie), Plácido Domingo (Dick Johnson), Sherrill Milnes (Jack Rance)

Orchestra of the Royal Opera House & Chorus of the Royal Opera House, Zubin Mehta

This classic recording dating from 1977 is Gramophone magazine’s top choice for the opera and can now be enjoyed for the first time in full SACD hybrid multichannel sound.

Puccini’s late opera La fanciulla del West bristles with drama and intrigue in this newly remastered classic recording with Zubin Mehta conducting the Orchestra and Chorus of the Royal Opera House and starring Plácido Domingo, Sherrill Milnes and Carol Neblett.

“Carol Neblett is a strong Minnie, vocally distinctive and well characterised, while Plácido Domingo and Sherrill Milnes make a good pair of suitors …. Zubin Mehta conducts with real sympathy for the idiom” (Gramophone). And the Penguin Guide to Compact Discs and DVDs (2003/4) enthused “Domingo sings heroically … but the crowning glory of a masterly set is the singing of Carol Neblett … Full atmospheric recording to match.”

Although recorded in multi-channel sound, these memorable performances have previously been available only in the conventional two-channel stereo format. Using state of the art technology which avoids the need for re-mixing, our engineers have remastered the original studio tapes to bring the performances to life as originally intended: in compelling and pristine multi-channel sound.

GGramophone Awards 1978

Record of the Year

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Hybrid Multi-channel

40 Years of the Gramophone Awards

Pentatone Remastered Classics - PTC5186243

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Donizetti: Lucrezia Borgia

Donizetti: Lucrezia Borgia


Joan Sutherland (Lucrezia), Alfredo Kraus (Gennaro), Anne Howells (Maffio Orsini), Stafford Dean (Don Alfonso), Robin Leggate (Jacopo Liveretto), Jonathan Summers (Don Apostolo Gazella), Phillip Gelling (Ascanio Petrucci), Michael Goldthorpe (Oloferno Vitellozzo), Paul Hudson (Gubetta), Francis Egerton (Rustighello), Roderick Kennedy (Astolfo)

Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Royal Opera Chorus, Richard Bonynge, John Copley (dir.)

Donizetti's operatic portrayal of Lucrezia Borgia is one of the most demanding roles for a soprano, and only such accomplished stars as Joan Sutherland have risen to the challenge. Lucrezia was notorious in Renaissance Ferrara as much for her beauty as for the political intrigue and suspicious deaths that surrounded her and her family. Here Sutherland deftly captures the complexity of a powerful, vengeful woman, who is at the same time a loving mother - in the final scenes she chillingly shows her unsuspecting victims the coffins in which they will be buried, but cannot bear the heartbreaking revelations that follow. Richard Bonynge conducts a cast including Alfredo Kraus as Gennaro, supported by the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House and Royal Opera Chorus, in John Copley's production for The Royal Opera. This recording, with English subtitles, is preserved in its original Standard Definition and 4:3 picture format.

NB This product has burnt-in English subtitles and no alternative language-options

“Copley’s flamboyant staging of Donizetti’s tragedy finds Sutherland offering remarkable technical feats though few words and less acting; Alfredo Kraus’s stylish Gennaro partially makes up for her deficiencies.” BBC Music Magazine, August 2017 ***

“Fleet, if not polished...Sutherland tackles the title role with her usual attributes of a voice of considerable size, extention and pinpoint agility, no acting skills but a grand presence...Copley's lavish production is traditional to a T, with the extra fascination of watching 16th-century Italy through the lens of 1980s 'Dallasty' fashion - sleeves have never been bigger.” Opera Now, June 2017 ****

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Opus Arte - OA1237D

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Verdi: Un ballo in maschera

Verdi: Un ballo in maschera


Plácido Domingo (Riccardo), Piero Cappuccilli (Renato), Katia Ricciarelli (Amelia), Elizabeth Bainbridge (Ulrica), Reri Grist (Oscar), William Elvin (Silvano), Gwynne Howell (Samuele), Paul Hudson (Tom), Francis Egerton (Un Giudice), John Carr (Un servo)

Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Royal Opera Chorus, Claudio Abbado (conductor) & Otto Schenk (director)

Illicit love, suspicion, deception and supernatural portents of doom lead to a shocking drama at a masked ball in 1790s Sweden. The incomparable Plácido Domingo stars as the dashing King Gustavus III, whose reforms have inspired talk of assassination among the conservative nobility. Katia Ricciarelli is Gustavuss beloved Amelia, married to his closest friend, Anckarström, sung by Piero Cappuccilli. Claudio Abbado conducts the distinguished cast, supported by the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House and Royal Opera Chorus, in Otto Schenks classic production of this Verdi favourite for The Royal Opera. This recording, with English subtitles, is preserved in its original Standard Definition and 4:3 picture format.

NB This product has burnt-in English subtitles and no alternative language-options

“Abbado motivates this traditional Otto Schenk staging using the Swedish setting. Domingo is a marvellously vivid Gustavo, Cappuccilli an implacable Anckarström, while Grist steals the soprano honours from Ricciarelli.” BBC Music Magazine, August 2017 ****

“What Schenk achieves...is no mean feat: a show in which the main characters meaningfully interact, have credibility and generate sympathy...[Domingo] is enjoying himself as a devil-may-care ruler with a twinkle in both eye and voice...[Cappuccilli] offers a masterclass in what we really mean by ‘Verdi baritone’.” Gramophone Magazine, July 2017

“The Orchestra and Chorus of the Royal Opera House are intelligently conducted by the great Claudio Abbado in this classic 1975 production directed by Otto Schenk, with traditional costumes and attractive sets. This is one of the finest productions of one of Verdi's best operas, with outstanding vocal and acting performances” New Classics, May 2017

“There's Claudio Abbado's fleet and polished conducting, then Plácido Domingo's suavely sung and acted Gustavus, and Piero Cappuccilli's stentorian Anckarström...Perhaps most interesting is Katia Ricciarelli as Amelia, a role a size too big for her, showing off both her stunningly limpid and velvety soprano and at the same time just how she pushed it to tatters.” Opera Now, June 2017 ****

GGramophone Magazine

DVD of the Month - July 2017

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Adam: Giselle

Adam: Giselle


Marianela Nuñez (Giselle) & Vadim Muntagirov (Count Albrecht)

Orchestra of The Royal Opera House, Barry Wordsworth

Choreography Marius Petipa

Production Peter Wright

The quintessential Romantic ballet, Giselle has remained a cornerstone of the classical repertory since its premiere in 1841. Peter Wright’s landmark production for The Royal Ballet does full justice to the work’s emotional and atmospheric power, with John Macfarlane’s designs beautifully capturing the contrast between the human and supernatural worlds. Giselle is one of the most challenging and demanding roles in the repertory and has always been a showcase for exceptional ballerinas. With Marianela Nuñez’s ‘absolute mastery’ of the choreography, she and her Albrecht, Vadim Muntagirov, are ‘technically thrilling’ (Guardian).

Running time: 115 minutes

Sound format: LPCM 2.0 & DTS 5.1 Digital Surround (DVD) LPCM 2.0

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