Cristobal Colon (1984-1986) is the first of Spanish-American composer Leonardo Balada's two operas based on the life of the explorer. (The second, La Muerte de Colon [1992-1993], is also available on the Naxos label.) The recording of the first work comes from its premiere production in 1989 at Gran Teatre del Liceu, Barcelona, and boasts two international superstars, Jose Carreras and Montserrat Caballe, in the leading roles of Columbus and Queen Isabella.
1997 recording from Montserrat Caballe featuring 16 duets with international stars such as Johnny Hallyday and Khadja Nin from France, Carlos Cano from Spain, Marco Masini from Italy, Gotthard from Switzerland, Rene Froger from Holland & others…
"Barcelona" is an album recorded by Freddie Mercury, the front-man of the popular British rock band Queen, and operatic soprano Montserrat Caballe. The album was recorded in 1987 and 1988, and released in 1988. It is the final solo album recorded by Mercury, who died of AIDS on November 24, 1991. 25 years after the original release of the lead single, Barcelona, has been given a special re-release in an entirely newly orchestrated re-working.
No-one would hold up Adriana Lecouvreur as an example of great musical theatre, and it has all but disappeared from our modern stage mostly, I suspect, due to its laughable plot which culminates in the heroine dying by poisoned violets! This old-school DVD, however, serves it as well as you could imagine with the singers treating this load of old tosh far more seriously than some would say it deserves…– Simon Thompson, MusicWeb International
“Here in Orange, France, on a windswept, night in 1974, they had greatness itself. Pierre Jourdan's film of the event is a priceless document, first of all, in the history of the opera. Stage-settings of Norma are usually hopeless: an offence to the eye, a chafing confutation of the spirit by gross matter. The ancient Roman amphitheatre is at any rate worthy and appropriate, and the Mistral, which threatened to close down the whole show and turn away an audience estimated at 10,000, adds a fine reminder of the power of Nature as it sets the druidical robes billowing and attacks the microphones…
Caballé is regal, and her final scene is a miracle of soft sweet inwardness.
The Naples years, 1815 to 1822, are at the very centre of Rossini's creative life. It is here that genius—''I had facility and lots of instinct''—was put to school. And firmly so: the serious masterpieces of the Naples years take as their subjects the Bible and Shakespeare, Scott and Racine, Tasso and English historical romance.– Richard Osborne, Gramophone [12/1992]
All of these are live recordings so the sound is quite variable. The standard square box contains separate soft plastic sleeves in which the cds are inserted. The advantage is that the cds are well protected (minor risk for scrapes compared to cardboard), but there is no information printed on the sleeve since it is made of plastic. There is some basic information printed on each cd (name, composer, cd #, the act/s and the date of the recording). There is also a small 24pg booklet that introduces the box including some photos as well as content description for each disc (opera, singers, time and location as well as a list of the separate tracks). I have been collecting these boxes for a while and always find it worthwhile as there are gems nicely interspersed in these collections. By Moonfish
"Most operaphiles would not consider the hyper-dynamic Sir Georg Solti to be a likely candidate to conduct La bohème, but they also probably did not expect him to do an excellent La traviata prior to the sensational Angela Gheorghiu debut performance at Covent Garden. Herbert von Karajan’s Decca-London recording with Pavarotti and Freni has traditionally and deservedly set the standard for La bohème recordings, but this one holds up surprisingly well to direct comparison…" ~Fanfare
With "Barcelona", Freddie Mercury realized his long-lived dream of performing with an opera singer; in this case, Montserrat Caballe.
The album was recorded in 1987 and 1988, and released in 1988. It is the final solo album recorded by Mercury.
What does it say that of the six available videos of this opera, the two best were made in 1958 and 1978? Something about the Verdian style and grand Verdi voices, I'm sure, but I'll leave the details to you. The Price/Giacomini performance from the Met is a pretty boring affair, the Urmana/Giordani perfectly acceptable but thrill-free, and the Gorchakova/Gergiev/St. Petersburg original version is both in another class and not particularly idiomatic. Both Hardy DVDs–the '58 from Naples with Tebaldi and Corelli, and this one, from La Scala in 1978, present the opera as the "real thing"..–Robert Levine