Author Topic: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD  (Read 344167 times)

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Offline André

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Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
« Reply #560 on: August 29, 2020, 03:06:38 PM »
Two extraordinarily good recitals by two extraordinarily different tenors: Jon Vickers and Alain Vanzo.  :)

Last week I attended an exposition titled Paris au temps du postimpressionnisme : Signac et les Indépendants. I was struck at how strikingly characterful each painting was even while using variations of the same pointillist technique. Studying the paintings of Signac, Seurat, Luce and hearing Vickers and Vanzo, I found similar qualities of technical perfection, painstaking attention to detail and the overwhelming desire to give nothing but perfection to the listener. The basic vocal material is hugely different but the quality of the finished product is simply amazing.

Within their respective choice of repertoire each artist is unassailable. There was never any overlap between their roles. Possibly only Don José, which Vanzo first sang at 45 (1973). Vanzo’s forte was the french repertoire, his signature roles Faust, Roméo, Werther, des Grieux, Gérard, Nadir, Rossini’s Almaviva (in French). Vickers excelled in the italian repertoire (Verdi, verismo), a few carefully chosen roles such as Samson and Grimes and of course in Wagner, where he had practically no competition.

As different as could be, a reminder of how amazingly rich and diverse the operatic scene can be.



Same as this one (don’t buy the two, the contents are identical):



01 - Faust : Cavatine
02 - Mireille : Anges du paradis
03 - Roméo et Juliette : Cavatine
04 - Roméo et Juliette : Air du tombeau
05 - Richard Coeur de Lion : Si l’univers entier m’oublie
06 - Benvenuto Cellini : Sur les monts les plus sauvages
07 - Mignon : Adieu Mignon, courage
08 - Les Pêcheurs de perles : Romance de Nadir
09 - La Jolie Fille de Perth : Sérénade
10 - Le Roi d’Ys : Aubade
11 - Lakmé : Ah! viens dans la forêt profonde
12 - Manon : Le rêve de des Grieux
13 - Manon : Air de Saint Sulpice
14 - Le Rêve passe (Georges Krier)
Premier enregistrement d’Alain Vanzo 1954
15 - Interview : 1982 avec Jacques Bertrand
16 - Werther : Pourquoi me réveiller
17 - La Navarraise : O bien aimée
18 - Les Vêpres siciliennes : O jours de peine
19 - Don Carlos : Je l’ai perdue
20 - Elle était si jolie




Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
« Reply #561 on: August 29, 2020, 11:37:55 PM »
Two extraordinarily good recitals by two extraordinarily different tenors: Jon Vickers and Alain Vanzo.  :)

Last week I attended an exposition titled Paris au temps du postimpressionnisme : Signac et les Indépendants. I was struck at how strikingly characterful each painting was even while using variations of the same pointillist technique. Studying the paintings of Signac, Seurat, Luce and hearing Vickers and Vanzo, I found similar qualities of technical perfection, painstaking attention to detail and the overwhelming desire to give nothing but perfection to the listener. The basic vocal material is hugely different but the quality of the finished product is simply amazing.

Within their respective choice of repertoire each artist is unassailable. There was never any overlap between their roles. Possibly only Don José, which Vanzo first sang at 45 (1973). Vanzo’s forte was the french repertoire, his signature roles Faust, Roméo, Werther, des Grieux, Gérard, Nadir, Rossini’s Almaviva (in French). Vickers excelled in the italian repertoire (Verdi, verismo), a few carefully chosen roles such as Samson and Grimes and of course in Wagner, where he had practically no competition.

As different as could be, a reminder of how amazingly rich and diverse the operatic scene can be.



Same as this one (don’t buy the two, the contents are identical):



01 - Faust : Cavatine
02 - Mireille : Anges du paradis
03 - Roméo et Juliette : Cavatine
04 - Roméo et Juliette : Air du tombeau
05 - Richard Coeur de Lion : Si l’univers entier m’oublie
06 - Benvenuto Cellini : Sur les monts les plus sauvages
07 - Mignon : Adieu Mignon, courage
08 - Les Pêcheurs de perles : Romance de Nadir
09 - La Jolie Fille de Perth : Sérénade
10 - Le Roi d’Ys : Aubade
11 - Lakmé : Ah! viens dans la forêt profonde
12 - Manon : Le rêve de des Grieux
13 - Manon : Air de Saint Sulpice
14 - Le Rêve passe (Georges Krier)
Premier enregistrement d’Alain Vanzo 1954
15 - Interview : 1982 avec Jacques Bertrand
16 - Werther : Pourquoi me réveiller
17 - La Navarraise : O bien aimée
18 - Les Vêpres siciliennes : O jours de peine
19 - Don Carlos : Je l’ai perdue
20 - Elle était si jolie




I don't know the Vanzo disc, but he is a singer who has impressed me greatly in the French repertoire. I should seek it out. The Vickers has long been one of my favourite ever tenor recital discs and it surprises me that it is so little known. Originally released by RCA, it had to wait for the independent label VAI to give it a CD release.
\"A beautiful voice is not enough.\" Maria Callas

Offline André

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Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
« Reply #562 on: August 30, 2020, 05:10:46 AM »
Indeed. One of Vickers’ most striking qualities is his ability to sing softly and yet produce a big - almost huge - sound. The need to rein in that vocal flood means that he is extremely attentive to verbal and dynamic nuances, lest he overwhelm the mikes (and the listener) with decibels. Less well-endowed tenors who must strain to achieve the requisite heft at ff dynamics, with Vickers it’s the other way around: he must marshal all his artistry to fine down the voice at p or pp levels.

I just noticed that both recitals have one item in common: Don Carlo’s Io l’ho perduta (Je l’ai perdue with Vanzo). I will listen to both back to back to compare   :).

Offline Pohjolas Daughter

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Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
« Reply #563 on: August 30, 2020, 05:17:22 AM »
Hadn't heard of Alain Vanzo before now, but will look for him on YT (for the time being anyway).

PD

Offline KevinP

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Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
« Reply #564 on: August 31, 2020, 11:27:11 PM »
Jessye Norman needs a nice, large box set, even if it's all previously released material. A lot of her titles are OOP and going for fairly hefty prices.

Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
« Reply #565 on: September 01, 2020, 01:18:06 AM »


A few weeks ago I reviewed Renée Fleming's excellent disc of American opera arias and today I turn to Dawn Upshaw's disc, which takes its title, The World So Wide, from the first item in the recital, Laurie's Song from Aaron Copland's The Tender Land. It makes a lovely opener and Upshaw is perfectly cast as the young girl who yearns to escape and see the world.

At about 45 minutes, the disc is quite short measure, however,  and not everything is as good as the first track. The piece from Tanía León's Scourge of Hyacinths is tediously declamatory and afforded me the least enjoyment on the disc. I'd also suggest that Upshaw's is not the right voice for Barber's Cleopatra, a role that was written for the much more opulent voice of Leontyne Price. Upshaw's lighter, brighter sounds do not conjure up the woman of whom Enobarbus says,

Quote
Age cannot wither her, nor custom stale
Her infinite variety. Other women cloy
The appetites they feed, but she makes hungry
Where most she satisfies, for vilest things
Become themselves in her, that the holy priests
Bless her when she is riggish.

I enjoyed the excerpt from John Adams Nixon in China rather more than the Gramophone reviewer, who fund it "tediously protracted", and I suppose you either like Adams's style or you don't. Whatever your feelings, Upshaw delivers Pat Nixon's This is prophetic brilliantly. She is also superb in the more Broadway influenced What a movie from Bernstein's Trouble in Tahiti, but I thought her singing of Lonely house (an aria sung by the male character of Sam Kaplan in Street Scene) just a little too overtly operatic. Teresa Stratas manages it better on her second disc of Weill songs and arias.

After the Copland and Benstein, the most successful item on the disc is Willow Song from Douglas Moore's The Ballad of Baby Doe, which responds well to her charming, uncomplicated manner. So too, one would think, does the final item (and the only item she shares with Fleming on her disc), Ain't it a pretty night from Carlisle Floyd's Susannah, but here I have to admit I prefer the rather more sensuos tones of Fleming, who suggests a far more highly charged eroticism behind the apparent simplicity of the music.

A mixed bag, then, and not so successful as her disc of Broadway songs entitled I Wish It So, but worth a listen for the unusual repertoire and for some excellent performances.
\"A beautiful voice is not enough.\" Maria Callas

Offline Pohjolas Daughter

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Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
« Reply #566 on: September 01, 2020, 04:05:48 AM »
Jessye Norman needs a nice, large box set, even if it's all previously released material. A lot of her titles are OOP and going for fairly hefty prices.
A great idea!

PD


Offline knight66

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Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
« Reply #568 on: September 01, 2020, 05:15:45 AM »
I probably have most of what I want that will be in that box. What I do want is that whichever company recorded her singing the two main arias from Berlioz Damnation would issue them. For some reason they have never appeared.

Mike
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Offline André

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Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
« Reply #569 on: September 02, 2020, 10:02:17 AM »
Indeed. One of Vickers’ most striking qualities is his ability to sing softly and yet produce a big - almost huge - sound. The need to rein in that vocal flood means that he is extremely attentive to verbal and dynamic nuances, lest he overwhelm the mikes (and the listener) with decibels. Less well-endowed tenors who must strain to achieve the requisite heft at ff dynamics, with Vickers it’s the other way around: he must marshal all his artistry to fine down the voice at p or pp levels.

I just noticed that both recitals have one item in common: Don Carlo’s Io l’ho perduta (Je l’ai perdue with Vanzo). I will listen to both back to back to compare   :).

I may be prejudiced, but I think Vanzo is much superior to Vickers here. Don Carlo’s despair is felt in an interpretation of the utmost verbal and vocal refinement. Vanzo’s use of mixed voice at the second iteration of ‘Je l’ai perdue’ (‘Io l’ho perduta’ in Vickers’ italian version) is spectacularly beautiful. Vickers’ anguish is of a more generalized sort and he seems to express frustration rather than genuine despair. Vanzo is both aristocratic and profoundly human.

In ‘È la solita storia OTOH it’s exactly the reverse that happens. I listened to a late (1986) live performance by Vanzo, accompanied by a piano, and even making allowances for the passing of years, his is an uninteresting rendition of this beautiful aria.

Sometimes singer and music don’t match well. That’s the case with ‘M’appari from Martha by Vickers. His singing is studied, unflowing and too loud throughout. Give me Joseph Schmidt any time (in the original German).

When Vickers hits the right musical nerve though, nobody approaches him: Recondita armonia is sung as in a dream, the painter lost in intimate thoughts. Superb use of soft dynamics here, much better than the explosive attack of a Corelli or Del Monaco on the opening words. And his Otello is simply to die for (no pun intended). Role and singer have been matched in heaven by Verdi himself.

Offline André

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Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
« Reply #570 on: December 04, 2020, 01:25:49 PM »
Cross-posted from WAYL2

Quote


Two composers only: Berlioz and Massenet. From the former Brueggergosman sings the song cycle Les Nuits d’été. The rest is from the operatic repertoire, including three strategically placed orchestral excerpts. The recital is one of the best I’ve heard. The Berlioz is of course a favourite and I dare say this is the best of them all, both as voice and interpretation. Brueggergosman is endowed with a powerful voice that is vibrant yet pure on top, warm and velvety in the middle and low registers. The high reaches of Teresa’s aria from Benvenuto Cellini and from Massenet’s La Vierge hold no terror for her. Her French diction is absolutely perfect. Yoav Talmi secures rich playing from the Quebec Symphony. Excellent sound. Extase indeed.

Offline André

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Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
« Reply #571 on: January 04, 2021, 05:59:10 PM »




A collection of french and italian opera arias. The programme is strangely put together, as if designed to appeal to two very different kinds of audiences and, in the process, failing to satisfy either. Bernheim, a Frenchman despite his germanic sounding name, sings the Gounod, Massenet and Godard arias almost to perfection, with clear, elegant enunciation and an open-voiced emission that allows for a nice array of shadings - beautiful high register in head voice. He reminds me of the young Alagna: a lyric tenor with a decent shot at spinto tones.

One can clearly identify his limitations, though: loud dynamics and dramatic projection do not show him in the best of light. As Nemorino and Rodolfo he is vocally suited and dramatically believable. In the three Verdi arias he is too light of voice even if he hits the notes without forcing his tone. The lack of ‘metal’ in the voice is apparent.

For his superb Des Grieux, Roméo, Faust and Dante this is a recital to return to. Note that this is the same tenor that took the part of Faust in the Christophe Rousset version of the original version of Gounod’s Faust. The high C in Salut, demeure chaste et pure was taken with a beautiful piano dulcet tone. In the current recital he gives us the customary stentorian high C. I much prefer it taken pianissimo.

Offline knight66

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Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
« Reply #572 on: January 13, 2021, 04:35:05 AM »
I have been listening to a disc that has sat on my shelves for some time and hardly listened to. Sarah Connelly singing Handel. The disc is named Heroes and Heroines, Harry Christopher conducts The Symphony of Harmony and Invention.

Connelly is one of two or three top flight UK altos, as well as a special voice she is an outstanding actress. When I started listening to Handel and other composers Janet Baker was at her best and I became addicted to her work. She could do no wrong. I bought her LPs and I saw her live fairly often, then was in choir for some performances. Unfortunately, for me, she imprinted herself so firmly on my tastes that I have compared all other altos to her performances and almost inevitably found them wanting.

Singers fall into two categories in the following respect.

1) What you hear initially is pretty much what you get all night, in terms of the basic sound. Many very great singers do this: Margaret Price, Janowitz, Connelly, Alagna, Gwynne Howell, Domingo etc. They are not lacking in expression, it is provided through phrasing, volume and word pointing.

2) The other category colour the voice, tapering it to the meaning of the words and the instrumentalisation around them. Baker, Fischer Dieskau, Gobbi, Fassbaender Callas etc. Remaining very much recognisable but like chameleons. This colouring sometimes uses a word such as ‘round’ and concentrates the sound to make the roundest tone possible. Vickers often chose a word and gave it an individual sound. It should not stick out like a sore thumb. But across sung music, it can help paint a picture, often a psychological picture.

Actors also divide along these lines. Paul Scholfield always one tone, Oliver constantly pulling in sounds around the basic voice.

This is a personal, artistic decision and some of the less overtly expressive singers are amongst my favourites. But once imprinted on my aural retina what some of the likes of Callas Gobbi, Vickers and Baker produced has been very hard to displace.

So, the work of some superb singers has sat on shelves relatively ignored. And it is time I reevaluated the terrific work so many do.

Connelly is having a stellar career. She certainly is expressive and as well as excelling as Handel’s Julius Caesar she has contributed to two Mahler Das Lied von der Erde recordings in which she equals any earlier colleagues. She had a recent break for cancer treatment, it has been successful. During lockdown she decided to test her stamina singing Das Lied live from Covent Garden. The voice was as firm and round as ever and she sustained the intensity of a heavy piece. She was relieved that the experiment was a success. Once performing life can get back to having live audiences, she will again be in front of us. 

This is an excellent disc and I have enjoyed listening through twice today. It is a rich, even voice and she has a superb technique. She is expressive, just not hyper expressive. The disc is nicely constructed. There are pieces from Alcina, Ariodante, Solomon, Alcina and Herclues. Each new work is introduced by an instrumental movement, then the arias. Handel’s insight into the human condition provides everything from near deranged to resigned.

Strongly recommended.

Mike

 
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Offline André

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Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
« Reply #573 on: January 13, 2021, 08:22:31 AM »
Very interesting, Mike !

Along those lines I would put singers like Nilsson, Danco, Tebaldi, Simionato, Björling, Simoneau and Kurt Moll in the first category: same basic sound whatever phrase they are singing. Which does not mean the singing is dull. Colour and character are achieved through micro changes in the emission.

In the second category, the chameleons, I would include Martha Mödl, Astrid Varnay, Giuseppe di Stefano as well as all these ‘meteors’ who flashed brightly but only too briefly: Sass, Souliotis, Studer - all singers who ‘acted’ through the voice and possibly ruined it through overuse.

Offline knight66

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Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
« Reply #574 on: January 13, 2021, 08:45:13 AM »
Yes André, there may be something in that last point you made. Some singers do put too much pressure on the equipment or abuse it to obtain effects. Callas did that and it may have contributed to her decline, she had a short career from her best work to the end it was about ten years. Her contemporary Tebaldi had a long career, Leontyne Price too; the security of the voice was paramount and good health was maintained.

Obviously some singers found how to deploy colours and preserve the voice. It is possibly an almost philosophical matter of the pure sound of the pure voice carrying all the emitted sound.

What I picked up about actors came from a radio discussion where Scholfield was quoted as refusing to modify his basic voice to portray Otello as being black, in contrast to Olivier who frequently did modify his voice. I had already thought about this as a singer, where did my expressivity come from?

Kathleen Ferrier was superbly expressive, but always with the same basic sound. But I don’t think she showed psychological insight. People like Baker could sound cold or warm, a smile in the voice and make the words onomatopoeic. She could empty the voice of tone and sound hollow. Very few modern singers seem to explore this at all.

Sutherland was old school, well trained but apart from fireworks, dull. Netrebko sometimes attempts Callas like expressivity, but it is crude and laid on from the outside, a mere effect.

Mike
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Offline Pohjolas Daughter

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Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
« Reply #575 on: January 13, 2021, 09:29:35 AM »
I have been listening to a disc that has sat on my shelves for some time and hardly listened to. Sarah Connelly singing Handel. The disc is named Heroes and Heroines, Harry Christopher conducts The Symphony of Harmony and Invention.

Connelly is one of two or three top flight UK altos, as well as a special voice she is an outstanding actress. When I started listening to Handel and other composers Janet Baker was at her best and I became addicted to her work. She could do no wrong. I bought her LPs and I saw her live fairly often, then was in choir for some performances. Unfortunately, for me, she imprinted herself so firmly on my tastes that I have compared all other altos to her performances and almost inevitably found them wanting.

Singers fall into two categories in the following respect.

1) What you hear initially is pretty much what you get all night, in terms of the basic sound. Many very great singers do this: Margaret Price, Janowitz, Connelly, Alagna, Gwynne Howell, Domingo etc. They are not lacking in expression, it is provided through phrasing, volume and word pointing.

2) The other category colour the voice, tapering it to the meaning of the words and the instrumentalisation around them. Baker, Fischer Dieskau, Gobbi, Fassbaender Callas etc. Remaining very much recognisable but like chameleons. This colouring sometimes uses a word such as ‘round’ and concentrates the sound to make the roundest tone possible. Vickers often chose a word and gave it an individual sound. It should not stick out like a sore thumb. But across sung music, it can help paint a picture, often a psychological picture.

Actors also divide along these lines. Paul Scholfield always one tone, Oliver constantly pulling in sounds around the basic voice.

This is a personal, artistic decision and some of the less overtly expressive singers are amongst my favourites. But once imprinted on my aural retina what some of the likes of Callas Gobbi, Vickers and Baker produced has been very hard to displace.

So, the work of some superb singers has sat on shelves relatively ignored. And it is time I reevaluated the terrific work so many do.

Connelly is having a stellar career. She certainly is expressive and as well as excelling as Handel’s Julius Caesar she has contributed to two Mahler Das Lied von der Erde recordings in which she equals any earlier colleagues. She had a recent break for cancer treatment, it has been successful. During lockdown she decided to test her stamina singing Das Lied live from Covent Garden. The voice was as firm and round as ever and she sustained the intensity of a heavy piece. She was relieved that the experiment was a success. Once performing life can get back to having live audiences, she will again be in front of us. 

This is an excellent disc and I have enjoyed listening through twice today. It is a rich, even voice and she has a superb technique. She is expressive, just not hyper expressive. The disc is nicely constructed. There are pieces from Alcina, Ariodante, Solomon, Alcina and Herclues. Each new work is introduced by an instrumental movement, then the arias. Handel’s insight into the human condition provides everything from near deranged to resigned.

Strongly recommended.

Mike
I've heard of Sarah Connelly before, but don't have any of her recordings.  Good for you for revisiting your CD!  For a fairly long time, I listened to vocal recitals but haven't done so lately.  I should go back to that.  :)  Currently enjoying this on youtube (prompted by your post):  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Pikxc3jVL0

And regarding your comment:  "Unfortunately, for me, she imprinted herself so firmly on my tastes that I have compared all other altos to her performances and almost inevitably found them wanting."

Don't you just hate when that happens?  ;) :)

PD
« Last Edit: January 13, 2021, 09:34:08 AM by Pohjolas Daughter »

Offline knight66

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Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
« Reply #576 on: January 13, 2021, 10:08:26 AM »
I've heard of Sarah Connelly before, but don't have any of her recordings.  Good for you for revisiting your CD!  For a fairly long time, I listened to vocal recitals but haven't done so lately.  I should go back to that.  :)  Currently enjoying this on youtube (prompted by your post):  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Pikxc3jVL0

And regarding your comment:  "Unfortunately, for me, she imprinted herself so firmly on my tastes that I have compared all other altos to her performances and almost inevitably found them wanting."

Don't you just hate when that happens?  ;) :)

PD

I just am watching the link, thanks. Extraordinarily slow, but beautiful: she is sustaining it. It is on the disc I mentioned above. The aria allows a good range of interpretations from lament, sadness through to fury. A wonderful piece. If you enjoy Handel i recommend the Glyndebourne Theodora great performances from Lorraine Hunt Lieberson and David Daniels. She and Harry Bickett funded her disc of Handel arias and she is a tremendously expressive singer who keeps the voice pure. A very special singer. Watch out, she is the sort who spoils you for others in the same roles.

Mike
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I wasted time: and time wasted me.

Offline Pohjolas Daughter

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Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
« Reply #577 on: January 13, 2021, 10:37:20 AM »
I just am watching the link, thanks. Extraordinarily slow, but beautiful: she is sustaining it. It is on the disc I mentioned above. The aria allows a good range of interpretations from lament, sadness through to fury. A wonderful piece. If you enjoy Handel i recommend the Glyndebourne Theodora great performances from Lorraine Hunt Lieberson and David Daniels. She and Harry Bickett funded her disc of Handel arias and she is a tremendously expressive singer who keeps the voice pure. A very special singer. Watch out, she is the sort who spoils you for others in the same roles.

Mike
I'm a big fan of Lorraine Hunt Lieberson!  I hope to get ahold of some of her complete opera recordings, but do own a number of her recital CDs.  So tragic that her life ended so young.  :(

PD

Offline knight66

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Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
« Reply #578 on: January 13, 2021, 10:44:34 AM »
Ah, great, you know her. I get a lot more out of her singing once she became a mezzo, but she was a terrifically good musician, so the soprano work is very good. It is a shame there are not more discs, not very many to get hold of. If you have a favourite, I would be interested to know about it.

Mike
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Offline Pohjolas Daughter

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Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
« Reply #579 on: January 14, 2021, 09:20:08 AM »
Ah, great, you know her. I get a lot more out of her singing once she became a mezzo, but she was a terrifically good musician, so the soprano work is very good. It is a shame there are not more discs, not very many to get hold of. If you have a favourite, I would be interested to know about it.

Mike
Hi Mike,

A favorite one of hers:  her Bach CD    I'm trying to figure out where I put my copy of it!  At least I copied it over to my iTunes.  It will turn up--eventually.  :(  This one I also quite enjoy:    I need to revisit my other ones.  I also own: 





and lastly...."Sings Peter Lieberson Neruda Songs"

I might also have excerpts from Ariodante...need to double-check on that.

PD

p.s.  Are all of the images showing up at your end?  Some of them are only showing as blue squares with a question mark in them at my end.