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    $14.99 $13.61 list($19.98)
    1. The Very Best of The Irish Tenors
    $14.99 $13.20 list($17.98)
    2. Ellis Island
    $163.99 $128.75 list($181.98)
    3. Wagner - Der Ring des Nibelungen
    $14.99 $12.00 list($18.98)
    4. Andrea Bocelli - The Opera Album
    $13.99 $12.22 list($16.98)
    5. The Irish Tenors / McNamara, McDermott,
    $17.98 $13.63
    6. Vivaldi - Concertos / New London
    $14.99 $10.78 list($17.98)
    7. A Time to Remember
    $30.49 $27.80 list($33.98)
    8. Britten - War Requiem / Vishnievskaya
    $13.99 $12.55 list($17.98)
    9. Live in Belfast
    $13.99 $12.75 list($17.98)
    10. We Three Kings
    $13.99 $10.75 list($15.98)
    11. Home for Christmas
    $30.99 $14.94
    12. Great Is Thy Faithfulness
    $14.99 $11.71 list($16.98)
    13. Remembrance
    $14.99 $13.00 list($16.98)
    14. Long Time Ago - Copland / Dawn
    $11.98 $6.99
    15. La Domoiselle elue/Opera Arias
    $23.50 list($67.98)
    16. Wagner: Lohengrin
    $35.98 $29.95
    17. Aida-Complete Opera
    $8.98 $5.73
    18. Prima Voce - Marian Anderson /
    $50.98 $39.00
    19. Mozart - Idomeneo / Rolfe Johnson
    $45.99 $35.00 list($50.98)
    20. Tannhäuser / Domingo, Studer,

    1. The Very Best of The Irish Tenors
    list price: $19.98
    our price: $14.99
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B000069JJ6
    Catlog: Music
    Sales Rank: 1110
    Average Customer Review: 4.86 out of 5 stars
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    Amazon.com

    In the short time since they grouped together a few years ago to form their sensationally successful trio, the Irish Tenors have already put out an impressive array of recordings and DVDs, including some bona fide gooseflesh-inducing live concert performances. So, if you still have the enviable pleasure of discovering these amazing vocalists--or want to turn a friend on to their musical charms--this compilation CD will do the trick nicely. It brings together such classics as "Danny Boy," "Toora Loora Looral," "Last Rose of Summer," and "When Irish Eyes Are Smiling" (featuring John McDermott)--all rendered with the kind of passionate, heartfelt, and harmonious crooning that is their signature style, whether they're singing as an ensemble or as highlighted soloists. And even if you have the complete Irish Tenors, this anthology includes several numbers not found on their previously released CDs. Hard to think of a sweeter treat for a fan of singing too good to ever go out of fashion.--Sarah Chin ... Read more

    Reviews (7)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Love it!
    What a fun CD! And frankly, I love "Molly Malone"! I do wish they'd do less unison singing and get into more harmony. And too many ballads for my taste, but the uptunes are good for playing over and over! Their voices are all gorgeous. You'll enjoy this one for certain!

    5-0 out of 5 stars I Love It!! hmmm... where can I rate this 25,000 stars...?
    I would recommend this to everyone! It has all four irish tenors, and it has a mixture of different songs from all their CD's! The only problem, in my opinion at least, is why do they have "Molly Malone" on it? There certainly are much more appreciated songs than that, and it certainly isn't one of their best. I wish they had "Red Is The Rose" with Finbar Wright singing in it instead of John Mcdermott for once. Maybe they'll have that on their next album they're working on! Can't Wait!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    (Ah-em... you can tell I'm enthusiastic...)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Magnificent Texas Concert and CD
    My wife and I attended the Irish Tenors concert in Ft Worth, Texas last night,February 27,2003, where we purchased this CD.A number of the selections they sang last night are included in this CD which is a "must purchase" for all fans of these magnificent singers. Buy this CD and you will thank yourself for years to come for your wise decision.

    Paul R. McConahy
    Arlington, Texas

    5-0 out of 5 stars Absolutely the very BEST!!!!!
    This has to be my very favorite CD of all time. As I have everything else The Irish Tenors have recorded, I just love this one because it's got all my favorites from all the CDs.
    I especially can't get enough of Finbar's MAGGIE, and this has to be the VERY BEST version of DANNY BOY. I think Amazing Grace is one of the best songs that they have done with John McDermott. And the closest one can get to hearing angels sing is when one listens to Nearer My God To Thee. Their voices are all pure joy to listen to. And of course, all the fun numbers they do together is just a thrill. This CD has it all!!!!
    This is one CD which I listen to even while I sleep.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Good, not the Very Best.....
    This album, while good, is more for people who want to complete their Irish Tenors collection on CD. The DVD and videos contained more songs than were contained in the CDs of the same names. This CD appears to collect those missing cuts and combine them with some of the best performances from the works to date. It is quite good, but not the "very best". I have all the Irish Tenors CDs and enjoy listening to them again and again. I would suggest buying Belfast first if you are buying your first Irish Tenors CD. It includes performances by all 4 of these gifted singers and is the strongest CD overall. ... Read more


    2. Ellis Island
    list price: $17.98
    our price: $14.99
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B000059TBG
    Catlog: Music
    Sales Rank: 4505
    Average Customer Review: 4.79 out of 5 stars
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    Amazon.com

    The Irish Tenors' fourth album sees the trio of Anthony Kearns, Ronan Tynan, and Finbar Wright paying a sentimental musical tribute to Ellis Island, the hallowed landmark that met the majority of immigrants entering the United States at the beginning of the 20th century. Needless to say, the Tenors' repertoire this time around is full of reflective ballads of love, loss, and homesickness, including the original "Isle of Hope, Isle of Tears" that opens this disc. Throughout this studio recording, the Irish Tenors are in fine form and backed by a soft-hued orchestra that never interferes with their soaring vocals. Traditional tunes include "My Wild Irish Rose," "How Are Things in Glocca Mora," and, of course, "Danny Boy" (the last sung by all three tenors, with refreshingly simple solo piano accompaniment). Thankfully, the threesome didn't forget that the immigrants had fun, too, as evidenced by some lighthearted fare; "The Courtin' Medley" features the Tenors at their most upbeat and comical. Ellis Island is a moving aural portrait of the struggles and triumphs of the Irish émigrés and a must-have for fans of the threesome. Newcomers may enjoy the Tenors' debut disc even more, as the earlier live album is a slightly more upbeat and spirited affair. --Jason Verlinde ... Read more

    Reviews (48)

    5-0 out of 5 stars IT'S WORN OUT ALREADY !!!!!!!!
    anthony

    I bought the CD as soon as it hit the market and I've listened to it so much it's time for a new one. The voices are even more glorious than all the other CD's, tapes and videos I have. IF THAT'S POSSIBLE. The great thing about this CD is the little booklet of the songs which is inside it. I'm too busy listening to the beautiful voices to pay much attention to the words, but it is helpful. I can't wait for the video to arrive, and I hope the acoustics are better than the PBS special. NOTHING SHOULD MAR THE HEAVENLY SOUNDS OF THE VOICES OF THE IRISH TENORS. Anthony's "Love thee dearest"...Finbar's "Forty shades of green" and Ronan's "Wild Irish Rose" are just beautiful. From their #1 Fan. Joan Way

    5-0 out of 5 stars Worth the Wait
    It's been a long wait, but the cd is worth it. Fans of the Irish Tenors will not be disappointed in the sweet music offered here. While I enjoy Ronan Tynan and Finbar Wright, it's Anthony Kearns who shines the brightest here. From the clarion opening of Isle of Hope, Isle of Tears, Anthony sings with a purity and richness of tone that is sensational. Love Thee Dearest and The Croppy Boy showcase his gift. There are familiar favorites here, My Wild Irish Rose and the Rose of Tralee by Ronan, as well as some far less famliar to the American public, i.e. the two medleys (one in Irish!). All of it is highly enjoyable, although I do have a suggestion for those who like Eric Bogle's music. Ronan's version of the Green Fields of France is pleasant, but for emotional impact buy John McDermott's cd Remembrance. For that matter, it'd be great to hear John singing with the tenors again.

    If you're looking for something you'll enjoy many times, this is a perfect purchase. If you don't have the rest of the collection, get those performances, too. The videos and DVD are outstanding! And if you drive someone crazy by playing them over and over, so what? What a way to go!

    5-0 out of 5 stars How Are Things In Glocca Morra?
    Long a fan of Irish music, I have turned to a series of artists to satiate my appetite. Bing Crosby and John McCormick have been succeeded by the Irish Tenors.

    This CD has a bit more of an Irish American theme as "Isle Of Hope, Isle Of Tears" and "God Bless America" illustrate. Interspersed among these tunes are traditional Irish tunes such as "Macushla" and "Croppy Boy", along with newer songs, such as "The Green Fields Of France" and "How are Things In Glocca Morra?"

    The singing is excellent, the words understandable. I appreciate the inclusion the lyrics of the songs contained on the insert of the cover. These are songs you will want to learn, whose stories you will want to research. I have. Listen again and again!

    5-0 out of 5 stars The Best Historical CD Ever!
    I think this is best CD since Live in Belfast! it also has 2 songs not included on the video! it's a unique album of how the immigration to Ellis Island and New York turned out. It also has songs of the war such as The Green Fields Of France (The Best One) or, the croppy boy. I would recommend this to anyone!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Are you second or third generation?
    For anyone who ever had a grandparent or great-grandparent come through Ellis Island, one song makes buying the whole CD worthwhile. Ellis Island speaks for all of us who admired the courage of our relatives who left homes forever and sailed to this safe haven. The balance of the CD is certainly worthwhile, but Ellis Island will continue to linger in your mind. ... Read more


    3. Wagner - Der Ring des Nibelungen (Ring Cycle) / Sir Georg Solti
    list price: $181.98
    our price: $163.99
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B0000042H4
    Catlog: Music
    Sales Rank: 7234
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    Amazon.com essential recording

    Modern storage media (CD/DVD) offer both high fidelity and great reliability in the playback of music. Yet only a bit more than a generation ago, the possibilities inherent in the long-playing record inspired John Culshaw, a young producer for Decca, to attempt the most ambitious recording project ever contemplated up to that time--a complete studio recording of the Ring. Though other Rings were issued after this landmark enterprise, none have equaled the Decca Ring in popularity. There are those who prefer live performances, or who feel that the sound and theatrical effects in this recording are overdone; nonetheless this remains the benchmark Ring, as shown by its seemingly endless rerelease schedule. The Ring effort was high profile at the time and helped nail down Sir Georg Solti's status as a "superstar" conductor and authoritative interpreter of the Wagnerian repertory. Another key contributor to the success of the project was the uniform excellence in the casting. Definitive performances given include Neidlinger's nietzschean Alberich, Stolze's whining Mime, Boehme's rumbling Fafnir, along with Nilsson in her prime-more a force of nature than a human voice. The care lavished on the capture of the music was unmatched at the time of the recording, and still leaves this as one of the best sounding Rings even today, when the oldest part (Rheingold) has reached its 40th anniversary. --Christian C. Rix ... Read more

    Reviews (86)

    5-0 out of 5 stars The only version worthy of Wagner
    I own a number of recordings of this work: this one, one conducted by Karajan, and a very bad recording with Flagstad from a live performance from La Scala. This one tops the list all the time. Though I enjoy the Karajan version, there are things he does which I think are completely wrong, even if they are tradition. Wagner wrote certain crudities into the score (like the steerhorns in Gotterdammerung) and hearing them played by the mellow and very musical trombones removes the ruggedness Wagner was looking for. Solti, on the other hand, tried to be faithful to Wagner, even by using the crude and unmusical steerhorns. The result was electrifying. One of the things that make this RING better than most all other version is the fact it was recorded not to make music, but to make drama. Other recordings are faithful to the music, but the real drama is lost.

    Some critics disapprove of some of the "sound affects" that were used in this recording. True, hitting a piece of railroad track with a hammer to give us the impressive sound of Donner's hammer in Das Rhinegold may be over the top, but it adds super great theatre to the work, and I think it is what Wagner would have approved of, since we were meant to hear that hammer (and after all, it is the hammer of a god, shouldn't it have more of a ring than a mortal blow would?).

    The sound affects while Siegfried is forging his sword only add to the tension of the scene. We are not just hearing great singing, we are hearing great drama. All the forging sounds are written into the score (Wagner even indicates where large heavy hammers are to hit the anvil, and when small ones are) and for once we actually hear them clearly. In performance, they usually fade into nothing. Then there is the exciting sound of the anvil being cut in half and falling to the ground. One never hears that in performance, nor on any other recordings of the ring. Yet, Wagner wanted us to hear and see it, and he wrote as such in his score.

    Sometimes Solti is accused of being too brash and noisy, well, this is Wagner's noisiest opera (excepting Rienzi, where the entire chorus of soldiers are to be hitting their shields with their swords during one scene, a thing one NEVER sees or hears in performance), and his most exciting work. The RING rushes forward, even though it is very long, pulling us into a very different world from our own. Solti never loses momentum.

    The little touches, or sound affects, add to the drama before us. We hear Woton strike the rock calling forth Loge on Brunhilde's rock. We hear his spear break. We sense the entire world burning up and being renewed at the end of Brunhilde's immolation scene.

    All recordings of the RING are fabulous, it is hard to find a bad one, but this one towers over them all because it makes the work a whole. I guess in some ways it is closer to what Wagner hoped with his idea of drama, music, and words getting equal treatment. This recording is musical, it is dramatic, and the words are heard. It is the only one out there that gives us a complete work unifying everything into a wondrous whole.

    It is expensive but well worth the price.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Solti's Ring is the greatest Wagner recording ever.
    There have been many recordings of the Ring made by some of the world's most prominant conductors. Unforntualetly some of the recordings by these conductors and performers just don't quite make it. But in the late 1950's to the 1960's George Solti and the Vienna Philharmonic did much more and make it. Solti's Ring is an example of how great this oprea can be if performed right. Decca really does a fine job at remastering this one. The performance itself tops all others. Perhaps the only other challenger is the Karajan recording that was made in the 60's. But yet Solti provides a much more thrilling recording. The "Entrance of the gods in the Valhala" sequence is done very well. This is one of the most beautiful sounding moments not only the "Ring" but in all of opera. Wachter does a fine job singing Donner's big moment in this sequence. But of course it does not end their. Even though at some parts of "Ride of the Valkyries " are tend to slow down a little, Solti still provides a classic sequence. Don't forget about Berit Lindholms part. Nothing makes the music even more thrilling then the sound of her awesome voice singing the "Hotojo". In "The Twilight of the God's, the orchestra gives a thrilling performance especially the part where the trumpets echoes the famous "Sword motiv".

    Regardless of what other great recordings there are Solti's Ring will remain the greatest one forever.

    5-0 out of 5 stars An utter masterpiece.
    No conductor does Wagner like Solti. I've heard numerous recordings of the Ring and this one tops them all. Solti brings not only beautiful music, but tension and drama to this recording of the grand epic. The sound effects are a large part of what makes the drama. Examples are:
    -"Das Rheingold" - Donner's hammer.
    -"Die Walkure" - Wotan striking the rock.
    -"Siegfried" - forging of the sword.
    -"Gotterdammerung" - crackling of the immolation fire.
    I first became introduced to the Ring through Levine's rendition. I was only focused on the music, as I knew nothing of the story, and I must admit that Levine's recordings of this work are musically perfect. But as I became more familiar with the story, I expanded my listening repertoire to other recordings, seeking to hear more than mere music as I went. Solti's recording offers everything a Ring fanatic could wish for, including a cast of some of the best singers in operatic history. Through this superb combination of sound effects, creative tempo variation, brassiness, and singing voices that are as powerful as they are accurate, we sense, as Wagner intended, the world burning down before us--a sense that we do not get while listening to Levine's version. I highly recommend this recording not only for Wagner fans, but for anybody with an appetite for serious drama.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Difficult to call.
    I feel that the tempo, casting and general style of Solti's Ring is great. The performances and the quality of recording are of a particularly high standard. Of course there is Nilsson but I think Gerhard Stolz is great, as Mime, as Aegithus in Solti's 'Elektra', as Herod in Solti's 'Salome'. He always plays the revolting characters with great drammatic effect.

    For me the first act of Siegfried embodies all that is great in Solti's Ring Cycle, appropriately paced with the drammatic tension created by the discourse between Siegfried and Mime keeping you totally hooked.

    Solti's Ring also has problems. When it comes to the big scores such as 'Ride of the Walkyries', 'Siegfried's Funeral March' (in particular) and the finale to Twilight of the Gods, Solti's bombastic style can be quite irritating.
    He seems to have a habit of placing undue emphasis on the brass which has the effect of drowning out the strings. Such pieces are played too loudly and lack subtlety. 'Siegfried's funeral march' for me is particularly disappointing. Indeed I have noticed a trend in many of Solti's works to drown out the strings; 'Salome' and 'Elektra' for example. The orchestral emphasis (in particular on brass)in these recordings serves to make it difficult to discern the lyrics.

    So, in some respects I think this is a brilliant recording but for the big scores Solti completely messes up. Whilst I have not heard any other of the 'classic' recordings I would imagine Bohm's rendition is worth its salt if his 'Tristan und Isolde' is anything to go by. I feel that Bohm produces a better orchestral balance than Solti on the whole.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Tremendous Music, Tremendous Bargain
    You can argue about the best version of the Ring Cycle but no reasonable individual can disagree with the proposition that the Solti Ring is superb. The cast is simply incredible, featuring the incomparable Birgit Nilsson as Brunnhilde and a wonderful Wolfgang Windgassen as Siegfried. A galaxy of other great singers give outstanding performances. These recordings were made over a period of years but Solti maintains a remarkable consistency of style and interpretation. The great Vienna Phimharmonic has ravishing sound. Transferred to CD from the original stereo recordings, the engineers did an excellent job of preserving the wonderful sound. These recordings have a bit more noise than modern digital recordings but the quality of the music is appropriately preserved. A bonus is that this is the most reasonably priced Ring set available. ... Read more


    4. Andrea Bocelli - The Opera Album ~ Aria
    list price: $18.98
    our price: $14.99
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B0000069CO
    Catlog: Music
    Sales Rank: 4983
    Average Customer Review: 3.79 out of 5 stars
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    Amazon.com

    Andre Bocelli is no opera singer, but he shows far more potential inthis album than does another pop-vocalist tenor-wannabe, Michael Bolton. For onething, he can shake off the crooner mannerisms and really sing when performingmusic that calls for it. At his best, he has a rich, dark timbre and an easy,unforced top. At other times, however, the tone turns dry and thin and the highnotes are constricted, the inconsistency suggesting a lack of technique. Neverdoes one get the impression that he could be heard over a medium-sized orchestrawithout amplification. This isn't bad singing per se, but there is much betterout there, readily available on disc. --Sarah Bryan Miller ... Read more

    Reviews (81)

    5-0 out of 5 stars A fantastic voice for the new century
    Pay attention carefully to what me and the guy below me (John) say. You also may want to take a look at the other reviews and note their criticisms. I will start off by saying that I had no knowledge of Andrea Bocelli before his debut on PBS a couple years ago. I don't know if he did pop music before he worked in classical and operatic music. But to me, it doesn't matter if people say he's done a "cross-over," because I hear him for what he brings to these arias. Sure he may be new at this to everyone else, but it takes a lot of hard work and dedication to sing arias. They aren't like pop songs that you just sing the notes and words. I hear much emotion and expression in these arias as he sings. The most spectacular thing about him though is his VOICE. I haven't heard a purer, sweeter, more versatile voice with such control since the early days of dear Luciano Pavarotti. I'm sorry, but I personally cannot stand to hear the nasal voice that many tenors possess. If it's not nasal, then it's whiney. But with Andrea, it is exactly what I consider to be "beautiful." He sings each aria with all the gusto and spunk that they need, yet caresses every note with his silky chords. I hope he continues to pursue work in this area, as we do not have what I consider to be good tenors around. Pavarotti is well past his prime, so someone needs to take his place. I see that it could be Andrea Bocelli. Some of the other reviewers are harsh on Bocelli, saying he's just a pop singer that wants to be an opera star. Even the critic at the top, Sarah Bryan Miller, says he's a wannabe, and that he wouldn't be able to sing over a medium sized orchestra without any amplification. I beg to differ. His voice is very strong, even for his age. It takes many years of singing to get the vocal chords to be the usual strength that we're used to hearing in opera. He still has time. For now though, if you like to hear a "true" tenor sound (even though he has some fantastic baritone notes), I would definitely get this CD. He is unlike any others since Pavarotti, and he's probably better than Pavarotti was. Take it for what it's worth to you, and I won't tell you that you eat whitebread and twinkies either.

    2-0 out of 5 stars Sorry to rain on everyone's parade here, but.......
    I am a very devout Andrea Bocelli fan who went out and bought this album on Labor Day 1998. My second Andrea Bocelli album purchase, I wasn't impressed (sorry to say) by the quality of this recording. Most of the songs sound shallow and overproduced, unlike on Viaggio Italiano, which had more convincing renditions. And he's done a horrid rendition of "Di Rigori Armato Il Seno" from Rosenkavalier. He sounds like he was obviously doing drugs. Fortunately, though, that's the only song I've EVER heard him sing on which he sounded horrible. The selections "Questa o Quella" and "Recondita Armonia" (and the front cover) are the only reasons I love this album. Especially "Che Gelida Manina" didn't have anything special in Andrea's version except for the gorgeous high C (which he held for like six seconds). I'll have to say José Carreras' version (when he played Rodolfo in La Bohème at the Met in 1983, the year I was born) is SO MUCH BETTER. Bocelli has better works out there. Sorry, Andrea baby, hopefully this will be the first and last time you'll EVER hear me trash you.

    5-0 out of 5 stars What a wonderful Album to the superstar Tenor Andrea Bocelli
    I love this CD a lot , he touches the heart , it's a combination between the pure warm feeling voice and a great music I don't know but this Cd is a piece of art and I advice each one to purchase one . ENjoy

    3-0 out of 5 stars The opera buffs continue to miss the entire point
    I gave this 3 stars for the main reason that I wasn't crazy about the selection/order of arias, I didn't think it made for a natural flow of tracks. I would have preferred for maybe a few tracks of the same opera before moving onto the next.

    But looking over the other reviews it really surprises me how the serious opera listeners think they can dissuade or discourage Bocelli fans by simply running off a list of legendary names (the logic being one listen to these greats and Bocelli will be all but forgotton) or pointing out things like "he could not be heard over an orchestra" and therefore his fans should not enjoy his recordings. This is being very presumtious and completely ignores what Bocelli is all about.

    Bocelli is NOT an opera singer in the true sense of the term... he has not built a career that way, but more importantly his sound is not purely opera either. But that's exactly WHY he's been able to carve out a career and a large following and been able to expose people to this kind of music... As great as top-quality serious tenors are (the ones who can be heard over an orchestra), most people's impression from hearing them at first is not favorable. It's just too much of everything for the average ear to take in... Some would say it's a type of singing so highly specialized that it doesn't sound "human" and therefore they cannot relate to it. Bocelli instead has a far more relateable sound, he brings a certain type of popular sensibility to his singing most people instantly find pleasureable. He combines this with seriousness and enough passion and enough technique to the music he is singing that people can't help but equate him with opera. Simply put: his voice has the better qualities the general public associates with opera singing (smooth delivery, beautiful high notes, pleasing tone), and none of the qualities they are usually turned off by (overpowering/piercing power, overwhealming intensity, complex phrasing, sound they cannot relate to).

    I don't believe his desired intent with these opera recordings is to make people forget Pavarotti in his prime and turn the opera world on it's ear. Instead he tries to "evoke" an opera singer's image and sound in the minds of people who would otherwise not even begin to have interest in opera. That's a very big difference, so it makes no sense to even try to bring up the legendary tenor names as if these are valid comparison points. Also it makes no difference whatsoever if Bocelli is closely miked or not since he is not competing for stage vocal power agaist real career opera tenors, his aim is for the general public not serious opera buffs.

    As for this CD, my favorite track was the first ("Quest o quella"). Bocelli's phrasing was spot on perfect for that. Some of the following tracks seemed less than perfect. My guess is the production was rushed and Bocelli did not have much preparation and study to give his all for so many diverse arias. For example, this was his first recording of "Che gelida manina" and to me it sounded a bit dead, but I prefer the one the recorded for the "La Boheme" full opera CD... it was MUCH better focused and polished, a definite improvement. Same for "E lucevan le stelle" here compared to the much more dramatic, passionate rendition Bocelli delivered on the full "Tosca" CD. This proves to me Bocelli is capable of improving his interpretations and could do better than what was in this earlier attempt but he needs the right direction to accomplish that.

    I'm not a fan of so many diverse arias on one CD so that's basically why I prefer some other Bocelli recordings to this one.

    4-0 out of 5 stars What touches one may not touch another
    I have loved opera all my life and like most found the BIG tenors to be magnificent and awe inspiring. No Bocelli does not have the sustained volume of the "classics" but there is something VERY important to be said about him - - he tends to touch the hearts of people who would not normally listen to opera. His voice has character, texture and tenderness that makes one feel like they are somewhere else. There is nothing wrong with saying he is not the most magnificent tenor ... however, if he instills a love of the music and draws people to the art - - how can one not appreciate how magnificent this is. Emotion is not based on perfection but upon the artists ability to touch others. Bocelli consistantly accomplishes this. The BIG tenors are so disciplined that sometimes they are dry - though technically near perfection. I will take passion over perfection much of the time. I listen to make my heart soar ... not to be a critic. My spouse of 30 years was raised on a farm and could never understand listening to music where one does not understand the words. And yet ... Bocelli's music affects him deeply and often brings tears to his eyes ... this is a miracle. It seems to me that most Bocelli fans love the artist and the passion and emotion that he he brings to the notes rather than the perfection of their execution. I am one of them. ... Read more


    5. The Irish Tenors / McNamara, McDermott, Kearns, Tynan
    list price: $16.98
    our price: $13.99
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B00000I7I1
    Catlog: Music
    Sales Rank: 6075
    Average Customer Review: 4.89 out of 5 stars
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    Amazon.com

    Forty years after theClancy Brothers found popularity singing traditional Irish folksongs to an American audience, along comes the Irish Tenors, the trio ofJohn McDermott, Anthony Kearns, and Ronan Tynan. Backed by plenty of coverage on public television, the three tenors perform a soothing and nostalgic mix of Emerald Isle tunes--from "Danny Boy" to "When Irish Eyes Are Smiling," along with a few surprises. Recorded live at the Royal Dublin Society Main Hall with a light orchestra, the album gives each of the three vocalists his chance in the spotlight. Fans of John McDermott should be sure to seek out the artist's solo discs such as Remembrance, which are far more intimate (and musically diverse) fare. --Jason Verlinde ... Read more

    Reviews (154)

    5-0 out of 5 stars A magnificent performance, an oasis from the ordinary!
    John McDermott has been my favorite performer ever since I first listened to his "Battlefields of Green" collection (which is only slightly different from the "Danny Boy" album). Thanks to the Internet I was able to find and purchase all of his music. (By the way, Amazon, if it's possible, I'm sure his audience would like you to sell his other recordings, "Love Is A Voyage" and "When I Grow Too Old To Dream"). So when I learned that he would be featured on "The Irish Tenors" special I was very anxious to see the program. Of course, as millions who saw "The Irish Tenors" discovered, it was a magnificent performance. Although I've listened to this CD well over a hundred times, it just seems to get better. Whether singly or together, each performance is superb. Ronan Tynan's rendition of "The Town I Loved So Well" is incredible. His personality exudes a love for singing and joy in life that the audience can sense. His vocal range, from beautifully tender to extremely powerful, was captivating. (Is Amazon going to make available his CD, "My Life Belongs To You?" anytime soon? Many of us would like to purchase it). Anthony Kearns' singing will delight many. My ten-year-old son says he is his favorite singer and he wants to buy any music he has made (although I don't believe he has any releases as yet). His bouncy renditions of "Eileen Og" and "The Darlin' Girl from Clare" are worth listening to over and over. But it's the dramatic, passionate performance he lends to "Grace" that I love. What a joy to hear him sing! John McDermott's beautiful singing of "Voyage" and his deeply moving, emotional "The Old Man" were wonderful. He has the most beautiful voice I've ever heard. The amazing thing, though, is how magnificent these mens' voice sound together - a superb blending of talent. The orchestration is perfect, arousing our feelings with just the right touch. A wonderful recording, light years beyond the mundane.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Awesome!!
    After watching the Irish Tenors on PBS I immediately went out and bought the CD. I listen to it ever day and enjoy it now as much as I did the first time I heard it. I also have a tape that I listen to when I go walking on my lunch break. I loved Anthony Kearns' singing of "Boolavogue" and "Grace", Ronan Tynan's rendition of "The Town I Love So Well" and John McDermott's "The Old Man" and the "Voyage". When they sang "Spanish Lady" and "Will Ye Go, Lassie, Go?" they looked like they were really enjoying themselves and it made it fun to watch them. I also bought the video so not only can I enjoy the music but I can enjoy their performance as well. I was so hoping to see them when they come to the West Coast but alas I was disappointed to hear that they will not be making a stop in Canada. I hope they will visit us in the near future.

    I hope another TV special is in the works. The power, passion, and beauty of their singing makes me want to hear more. They are truly a joy to listen to.

    5-0 out of 5 stars There are not enough stars to rate this CD
    For those of us who love to curl up on the couch and listen to truly beautiful music, this is one CD you won't regret buying. With a "light orchestra", these talented men managed to turn out some of the most gorgeous and lush music I have ever heard. It must be said, however, if music brings out your emotions, have a box of tissues close by. Anthony Kearns singing "Grace" will send you reaching for them, as will Ronan Tynan's "The Town I Loved So Well". Let's talk about John McDermott. He's not Irish (He is a Scot). But the most heart rending "Danny Boy" I have never heard before. "Voyage" was so beautiful, it made me sob. Now that we have established I am a hopeless sap, please trust me when I say that this music touches the deep recesses of the soul. If this CD fails to warm and satisfy you, then your heart is just too hard! This is healing music from the "True Doctors of Soul" ....Irish Soul, that is.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Will You Go Lassie, Will You Go?
    Long a fan of Irish music, I have turned to a series of artists to satiate my appetite. Bing Crosby and John McCormick have been succeeded by the Irish Tenors.

    This CD is an enchanting blend of the very traditional Irish-American songs, such as "Danny Boy" and "When Irish Eyes Are Smiling", some traditional Irish songs, such as "Will you Go Lassie?" and "Spanish Lady" and a few with which I had been unfamiliar, including "Eileen Og" and "Boolavogue".

    The singing is excellent, the words understandable. I appreciate the inclusion of the lyrics of the songs contained on the insert of the cover. These are songs you will want to learn, whose stories you will want to research. I have. Listen again and again!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Lively, stirring, moving music
    This is without a doubt one of my favorite cds. I think John McDermott has one of the best voices out there today. Period. His voice gives me chills. Grace by Anthony Kearns is a powerful song - the best on the cd. I highly recommend this cd to anyone who appreciates a good voice (or three good voices) and good music - Irish music fan or not! ... Read more


    6. Vivaldi - Concertos / New London Consort, Pickett ~ AAM, Hogwood
    list price: $17.98
    our price: $17.98
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    Asin: B0000042HL
    Catlog: Music
    Sales Rank: 35421
    Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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    Reviews (1)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Real Vivaldi Album !!!
    ËÅѧ¨Ò¡·ÕèËÒ Album ÃÇÁ¢Í§ Vivaldi ÁÒ¹Ò¹...¼Á¡çä'龺 Album ÊØ'¾ÔàÈɹÕé «Ö觷Ñé§ 25 Concerto ¢Í§ Vivaldi ¹Õé ¶×ÍÇèÒÊØ'ÂÍ'¨ÃÔ§ æ ,¼Ùé·ÕèªÍº·Ó¹Í§·Õè¾ÃÔéÇ ÃèÒàÃÔ§ ¢Í§ Piccolo , Flute , Mandolin ...¢ÍºÍ¡ÇèÒ ·Ñé§ËÁ'ä'éÃÇÁÍÂÙèã¹ Album ¹ÕéáÅéÇ ,á¶ÁÂѧºÃÃàŧ'éÇÂǧ'¹µÃÕ áÅÐ Conductor ·Õ趹Ñ'ã¹ Anceint Music áÅзÕè¾ÔàÈÉ ¤×Í ¤Ø³ÀҾ㹡Òúѹ·Ö¡¹Ñé¹ÊØ'ÂÍ¡¨ÃÔ§ æ ...àÇ·ÕàÊÕ§âÍè⶧ à¤Ã×èͧ'¹µÃÕ»ÃÐàÀ· Flute , Lute , Harpsichord á·º¨Ð¨Ñºµéͧä'éàÅÂ...¶Ö§áÁéÇèÒ·èÒ¹äÁ趹Ñ'ã¹á¹Ç Baroque áµè¢Íá¹Ð¹ÓãËé·èÒ¹ÁÕäÇéÍÂèÒ§ÂÔè§ ..... Highly recommend !!! ... Read more


    7. A Time to Remember
    list price: $17.98
    our price: $14.99
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    Asin: B000060NUO
    Catlog: Music
    Sales Rank: 25277
    Average Customer Review: 4.64 out of 5 stars
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    Amazon.com

    John McDermottis known in America as one of theIrish Tenors, and isrecognized as a bestselling solo artist in his native Canada. The songs on ATime to Remember were recorded for the PBS TV show of the same name, andbecause many of them appeared on his Canadian CDs, this collection has somethingof a greatest hits feel. McDermott's warm tenor and soothing manner iswell-suited to sentimental favorites like "I’ll Be Seeing You," "As Time GoesBy," and "The War Song Medley"--which includes such chestnuts as "Lili Marlene"and "The Roses of Picardy." But as good as he is on the pop songs, he reallybares his heart when he sings the old Irish melodies. On his signature tune"Danny Boy," he skips the melodramatic delivery that most singers indulge in,opting instead for a subtle--and ultimately more moving--a cappella performance.John McDermott's blend of patriotism and sentimentality may be old-fashioned,but in today's world of disposable pop, this is a virtue rather than aliability. --Michael Simmons ... Read more

    Reviews (14)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Kindred spirits, only please!
    All you have to do to count yourself as John Mcdermott's kindred spirit is love your family, friends, nation, and timeless stories. John sings few "new" songs; he's far too busy making us cry with "The Old Man," "Crazy Mary," "Danny Boy," and the War Medley. We also get to go traveling with him to Skye ("The Skye Boat Song"), Cape Breton ("Song of the Mira") and meet new friends like Alison Girvan, whose lovely voice is featured with John's in "Here You Are." The "Battle Hymn of the Republic" could not be more effectively sung than it is performed here, perhaps because John acknowledged that he was thinking of heroes as he sang it. None of John's fans have to be encouraged to buy this cd; we wait for each one to arrive so we can immediately purchase copies for ourselves, our families, and friends. If you're not a fan, just listen. You'll learn to love him and his music, too.

    5-0 out of 5 stars amazing voice
    I bought this CD for my father who usually listens to a CD once and never again. This is the only CD he plays over and over - his previous favorite Sinatra CD is history. I first bought Rememberance which was ok, but all the songs sounded a little too Irish. I loved the voice so I took another chance and bought A Time to Remember and wow it blew me away. Before McDermott, my father (now 88 yrs old) and I have never enjoyed the same artist. This voice is amazing.

    5-0 out of 5 stars What a great find!!
    i love this cd. i also saw the pbs special, and was instantly a fan. the old man is my favorite song. it is so touching. i cry everytime i listen to it. you will love all the songs on this cd. they're all unique in their own way and john's beautiful accent enriches the songs even more! buy it, you won't be disappointed!

    4-0 out of 5 stars Took awhile
    I had seen the PBS special and got hooked. So I got he CD. Don't understand all the songs, but the ones I do move me to tears sometimes. He sings heartfelt. Second best album I ever bought, wish I could get it on tape for the car.

    1-0 out of 5 stars A Real Disappointment
    I was looking forward to this new CD but was seriously disappointed. The arrangements were poor. There was no particular reason for an a cappella Danny Boy. I'll Be Seeing You was all jazzed up, and I have yet to figure out what was going on with The Last Rose of Summer. ... Read more


    8. Britten - War Requiem / Vishnievskaya · Pears · Fischer-Dieskau · LSO · Britten
    list price: $33.98
    our price: $30.49
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    Asin: B0000041Q5
    Catlog: Music
    Sales Rank: 23818
    Average Customer Review: 4.93 out of 5 stars
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    Amazon.com essential recording

    The composer's 1963 recording remains, after 35 years, the preferred account, unequaled in its scope and emotional intensity. It brings together the three soloists for whom the work was written, chosen not only because of their artistry but because they represented three of the nations most deeply scarred by World War II--the Soviet Union, England, and Germany. Benjamin Britten holds the vast forces together, and the superbly engineered recording captures with chilling exactitude the power and the nuance of his ardent, visionary interpretation. --Ted Libbey ... Read more

    Reviews (15)

    4-0 out of 5 stars very powerful and affecting Requiem
    Britten's War Requiem is a monumental modernist statement and a truly impressive work, and this recording (his own) does it justice and then some. I would unhesitatingly recommend this recording for any who enjoy Britten's works. The orchestration, as might be expected from the work's composer, is absolutely stunning, and the playing brilliant. Pears sings with such rich tone and power as to rattle your bookshelves. The others singers and the chorus are excellent, though at times Britten lets the chorus slip almost entirely into the background, when a bit more focus might have been beneficial. However, it's hard to argue with the composer on a point of preference like that.
    Requiem Masses always have immense potential to be very powerful works whether because of their connotation or simply the tradition of the medium. Britten's is no disappointment here. One of the most notable features of this recording is its overwhelming power, especially as the work progresses. It is difficult not to be affected by that kind of focused musical emotion.
    Two warnings: one about the piece, the second about the recording. Do not expect to fall in love with this piece after the first few tracks, or even perhaps the first few listens. Hang in there, trust Britten, and he will undoubtedly impress you. As to this recording I will first say that it is by far the best I've heard of this piece, for all of the reasons mentioned above. The one problem I have is with Vishnievskaya. Her voice is amazing, beautiful, full-timbered, emotional, but... her diction, especially on this Latin text, is absolutely appalling. Beware, if diction is important to you, you may be turned off by her voice. But my advice is: ignore it. Don't let a minor quibble ruin your enjoyment of this magnificent recording.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Nothing holds a candle to this.
    To anyone desiring to get to know this seminal work, I say - forget any other recording you find, don't pass Go, collect no $200, report directly to Benjamin Britten himself!

    There are several fine recordings of the War Requiem out there. But Britten's is CONSUMMATE to a degree untouched, and perhaps untouchable, anywhere else. Besides being a first-rate conductor, he knew precisely how his own phrasing should work and how to extract that from the musicians to make every detail nothing less than inevitable. All the soloists and orchestral/choral forces are superb, the gestures are crystal clear, dramatic pacing perfect, the intimate moments heart-breaking and the cataclysmic ones absolutely shattering.

    OK, so Fischer-Dieskau has the occasional annoying moment of creative English pronunciation ("tears" becomes "teeyuhs" etc.), but this is a tiny price to pay for the unfettered clarity of Britten's vision. And Peter Pears delivers the kind of performance that, frankly, could only come from the composer's life partner.

    Unlike some famous recent examples (Reich's Tehillim/Desert Music), here is a case where none of the subsequent recordings after 40 years have surpassed the original. Indeed, "here is no cause to mourn"! (Owen) And as if this weren't enough, the new re-release includes nearly an hour of rehearsal extracts documenting the construction of this definitive performance. Britten can be heard, among other things, exhorting the chorus to intone the opening lines "as if you've been singing it all your lives."

    5-0 out of 5 stars Vishnevskya
    Just a comment on "lOla"'s remark about the 3 soloists. The Amazon review said nothing about who premiered the work, just who it was written for, and it was written specifically for Pears, Vishnevskya and Fischer-Dieskau. Interesting, too, that the reason Vishnevskya did not perform the premiere (or so I've read) was not that she wasn't available. It was that the Soviet authorities at the time deemed the work too controversial or some such BS, and didn't allow her to leave the country for the premiere. Apparently it took quite a bit of diplomatic back-bending to get her approved for the recording a year later.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Once again, absolutely stunning !
    I cannot help not to write this exclamation of joy and praize!
    If you think that Orff's Carmina Burana has the most powerful choral sequences, you should hear Dies irae on this album. Sheer power, but how cleverly and non-pretentiously done!
    There is at the same time so much delicacy and thoughtful interweaving of melodies, harmonies and rhythms. One of the greatest musical masterpieces of all time and in all styles.

    Great remaster contributes to the listening pleasure and additional insight in creative process in the form of "secretly" recorded studio sessions and commentaries of Mr.Britten himself, is a very welcome addition for any serious fan and can also be useful as a guidence for performing - for exmpl. you hear Britten explain how to achieve the terror and franzy in Dies irae and gives very specific guidence to the musicians on many aspects of his music.

    This is the ultimate version! You can interprete it differently and add something unique to it - but speaking in terms of pop music - you will make a cover version - this is the original.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Britten's War Requiem - Classical's best of the 20th century
    This recording is a must have for any music lover. Although there are other good recordings of this piece, including one from the 1990's, this recording was conducted by the composer himself, and is a collectors piece. This recording will inspire you, and the genius of Benjamin Britten will be heard in astoundingly great quality, though the master tapes are some 35 years old. If you have been fortunate enough to hear this performance live, as I have by an astounding performance by the renouned Utah Symphony conducted by Keith Lockhart, the cd recording will not dissapoint your ears. The masters of Britten, the London Symphony Orchestra and Soloists are picked up wonderfly by the masters who recorded this masterpiece. Your money will be well spent in adding this to your collection of music, even if you are not an avid classical lover or fan. And if you're not, you'll wish you were. ... Read more


    9. Live in Belfast
    list price: $17.98
    our price: $13.99
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B00004RDSK
    Catlog: Music
    Sales Rank: 8747
    Average Customer Review: 4.72 out of 5 stars
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    Amazon.com

    Just a year after their smash breakthrough debut album--itself still riding high in the charts--the Irish Tenors have added another delightfully varied collection to their discography. Live in Belfast again showcases the group's obvious concert charisma from a performance given in February 2000.It's a generous smorgasbord of medleys, traditional numbers, and songs from popular sources (including "Scorn Not His Simplicity," which Sinead O'Connor has interpreted)--mixing nostalgic sentimentality with selections of bittersweet melancholy. Binding the whole together is the unmistakable stylish charm of the Irish Tenors, whether singing in solos or in ensembles. But the biggest surprise for fans already hooked on the Tenors is the introduction of Finbar Wright as replacement for original member John McDermott. Wright's bright, romantic voice easily wins over a potentially skeptical crowd--especially in the dreamy "Isle of Innisfree"--and blends nicely with his colleagues. (McDermott, who had to bow out of the performance due to the death of his mother, makes a surprise appearance to solo in a memorable and touching "The Last Rose of Summer"--given as a tribute to his parents--and to rejoin the Tenors for "Red Is the Rose.")The arrangements by Tenors producer Frank McNamara are played with zest by the Orchestra Warsaw Sinfonia. --Tom May ... Read more

    Reviews (36)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Simply splendid!
    The Irish Tenors have never sounded better, accompanied by lush ochestral arrangements and playing to an enthusiastic crowd at Waterfront Hall in Belfast. Although the incomparable John McDermott is on board for only two songs, Finbar Wright more than earns his stripes as McDermott's replacement. Wright particularly does justice to the heartfelt "Isle of Inisfree." My favorite from this sterling collection is, without doubt, "The Fields of Athenry." The Tenors take a tried-and-true classic (that is so often butchered by lesser singers) and unequivocally make it their own, bringing tears to the eyes of this listener. Equally memorable is "Will Ye Go Lassie Go?" Never has this rollicking song received a more exuberant treatment, as the Tenors musically--and physically--kick up their heels. In short, this album is a keeper. Traditional Irish music is alive and well.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Music!
    The Irish Tenors have done it again! In this new collection, the listener's emotions are lead gently through the gamut, from the frivolity of "Phil the Fluther's Ball" to the heroic sadness of "She Is Far From the Land". Finbar Wright is a perfect addition to the group, and his "Isle of Inisfree"(from "The Quiet Man") is a highlight. Anthony Kearns' voice is incredible and he has, amazingly, improved over the near perfection of the earlier CDs. His "Bantry Bay" and "There is a Flower that Bloometh" are wonderful and exhibit the amazing talent of this young singer. Ronan Tynan's "Scorn Not His Simplicity" is very moving and displays his talent well. "Live in Belfast" is a collection of beautiful music, sung exceptionally well.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Time for a new one
    I bought this CD, (plus the video) in July 2000 and listened to it so much I think it must be just about worn out.!!!The video I have seen so often I bet I have seen every idiosyncrasy of each of them. The Tenors are almost my total pastime. About 12 hours a day, listening and viewing. I "met" them July 22/00 and have been to four concerts, and I'm still impressed by the joyous sounds of their voices.
    It's been a lomg time since I wrote my last review of this CD, but I hope I have helped to encourage others to enjoy the thrill of the most magnificent voices of their lives.
    The Tenor's #1 Fan,,,, Joan Way

    5-0 out of 5 stars Wonderful music, wonderful voices
    I do not claim to be a musical expert. It has always been my contention that music which makes the listener feel good, which raises the spirits and makes the heart glad, is worthy of being heard. Such is this CD. I don't listen to it to search for flaws, flubs, failings and screw-ups. I listen to it because it makes me happy. I am of Irish ancestry, and this wonderful music stirs a core deep within my soul. I got to hear some traditional Irish folk music I'd never heard before. I would hope that all those who listen to this CD would choose to enumerate its merits based on the fact that this music is meant to lighten the soul. It never was meant to be held up to intense scrutiny, because it is folk music. These are the songs the people sang. They weren't meant to be grand, classical opera, and should not be regarded or critiqued as such. They are beautiful and moving, just as they stand, and I am grateful that God gave these four men such voices to sing these old tunes and to preserve them for the generations to come. God knows we need positive, beautiful music now more than ever.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Professional on professionals
    I am taking from the best in the world. I have met Pavarotti's teachers (Joan Doanerman and Joan Sutherland) and also take from them. I am very well-known in musical analyzing and teaching. I have read all reviews, and personally, many of you need to learn much more about proper vocal technique to be a critic. The voice must flow, with support (breath), low larynx, etc. All four tenors possess the proper singing qualities. However, stage presence, song interpretation, and musicianship also take into affect. Finbar Wright needs to continue his musicianship. He possesses much more romanticism than he shows. Also, anyone can say words like "texturing, spellbinding and dominance," and sound like a knowledgeable critic. However, these words are thrown into sports review as well. Face it folks, know what you are saying. John McDermott has a beautiful voice, but it is a much different classical style than many people know. John is a Celtic Tenor, which means that his under- and overtones will sound much different than the other three. The symphony is NOT too dominant, David Schierholz. If you have worked with the Met recording studios, than you can talk with me, because I have sat in on them. These are live performances, not takes in a studio. Folks, I am a born and bred Irishman. These men are great, but there needs to be more of there individual literature available. I would love to find Anthony Kearns classical recordings. Then, when you have studied and understand the nature of the voice and theatre, then you can write your reviews. ... Read more


    10. We Three Kings
    list price: $17.98
    our price: $13.99
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B0000D9PST
    Catlog: Music
    Sales Rank: 1913
    Average Customer Review: 4.89 out of 5 stars
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    Amazon.com

    There's a commercial inevitability to holiday song collections that can tempt music fans to mutter "humbug" under their breath. Yet while this collection (released in conjunction with the Tenors' Christmas Spectacular tour of 2003) is no less market savvy, in the end the trio's earnest, energetic performances earn their fair shair of respect. The trio's Celtic shadings impart considerable warmth to "Fairytale of New York" and other performances, but it's the range of influences they (also in solo and duet turns, all solidly backed by the Czech National Chamber Orchestra) bring to bear elsewhere that adds compelling new dimensions to these holiday favorites. Anthony Kearns' "It Came Upon a Midnight Clear" may be solidly traditional, but Ronan Tynan imparts "I'll Be Home For Christmas" with some deft, jazzy drama while Finbar Wright gives "Mary's Boy Child" an unexpected Carribean spin. Elsewhere, the folk-classical influences behind "We Three Kings," "O Holy Night," and the gospel traditional "How Great Thou Art" span renaissance, baroque, and modern with a grace missing from the on-the-sleeve sentiments of the closing duo of patriotic warhorses--what would the Prince of Peace make of "The Battle Hymn of the Republic," anyway?--Jerry McCulley ... Read more

    Reviews (9)

    5-0 out of 5 stars These Three Kings Rule!
    This recording is a wonderful addition to any Christmas collection. It has power, charm and just enough reverence! Anthony Kearn's "Lord's Prayer" is magnificent! Finbar Wright's "How Great Thou Art" is awe-inspiring! After four years with the "Irish Tenors" poor Mr. Wright still must endure the ignorance of a few "fans", being constantly compared to John McDermott. Finbar took the "Irish Tenors" to a new level, as acknowledged by both Kearns and Tynan. I wonder how long "Ringo" had to endure being compared to Peter Best? Get over it people!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Another Winner
    In their second Christmas album, the three Irish tenors have another very lovely collection of Christmas favorites and a few not so well known. The duets are particularly beautiful and, while I, like other reviewers, would have preferred an all-Christmas album, the American anthems are stirring and well done. My only caveat is the absence of John McDermott, whom I miss. His voice added something less homogenized to the mix and although Finbar Wright has a more operatic tenor voice, I would prefer McDermott if I had my druthers. Nonetheless, this a a grand Christmas album and I recommend it enthusiastically.

    5-0 out of 5 stars strength to strength
    Its amazing how this group of jovial character's have developed and matured to such high level of professionalism.
    Vocally they are unmatched in this genre.
    There new christmas album is a real christmas treat,
    They liven up the old warhorses such as o holy night,white christmas we three kings.
    What fun they seem to have in fairy tale of new york,
    I notice they are signed to a new label Razor and Tie, I like the name,They seem to be doing a fantastic job in getting the product out there to the public with plenty of tv apperances and add campaigns, good job folk's
    we three king's{aptly named} is one for the shopping trolley, you can listen to it all year round.
    Looking forward to the next one guy's,
    sincerely,
    John

    4-0 out of 5 stars Pulls at the heartstrings..
    This is a lovely CD to put you in the spirit of the holiday season. The Irish Tenors provide a unique take on the old classics and their rich voices will bring your enjoyment to the next level. Unlike some other reviewers, I personally could do without the patriotic songs at the end. I am a proud American who enjoys songs like these. But on my Christmas CDs, I'd prefer to have just Christmas music.

    5-0 out of 5 stars We Three Kings
    This is an incredible CD, much better than the first Irish Tenors CD, probably because Finbar Wright is a much better singer than McDermott. Personally the highlights of the album for me are the solos and duets by Anthony Kearns. The Lord's Prayer stands out from all the others. On the lighter side is Fairytale of New York. I would definitely recommend this CD for anyone. ... Read more


    11. Home for Christmas
    list price: $15.98
    our price: $13.99
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B00001XDRK
    Catlog: Music
    Sales Rank: 1078
    Average Customer Review: 4.77 out of 5 stars
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    Amazon.com

    The Irish Tenors are an acquired taste that, it seems, nearly everyone has acquired. On Home for Christmas, John McDermott, Anthony Kearns, and Ronan Tynan create a stirring seasonal follow-up to their extremely popular self-titled debut of Irish standards. On this disc, we get some of the best-loved holiday songs performed by the tenors in their trademark, Emerald Isle vocal style. Though the disc boasts a 78-piece orchestra, don't expect big-band arrangements on these tunes; if anything, these are intimate performances, with the tenors front-and-center. Each vocalist gets his own solo turns, but there are plenty of tunes featuring all three: "Joy to the World," "It Came Upon a Midnight Clear," "O Holy Night," The Holy City," "Silent Night," and "Amazing Grace." If you still haven't had your fill of holiday music, check out McDermott's solo Christmas album from 1998, on which the vocalist performs an eclectic mix of standards and lesser-known holiday gems. --Jason Verlinde ... Read more

    Reviews (30)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Christmas music has never been so beautifully sung!
    I received my copy of "Home for Christmas" and am totally overwhelmed by the beauty and clarity of the voices. Words cannot effectively capture the emotions I am feeling as I listen to this beautiful CD. I couldn't imagine that the Irish Tenors were doing a Christmas album--I was thinking it would be another album of ballads and such. I couldn't imagine that it would be as good as their original album. They have topped their original recording!. Anthony's rendition of "Sweet Little Jesus Boy" brings tears to my eyes. "Suo Gan" by John and the two versions of "Ave Maria" by Ronan and Anthony are indescribable. I recommend this CD to anyone who loves Christmas music and to anyone who loves the Irish Tenors.

    5-0 out of 5 stars The Irish Tenors are the best in my book.
    If the Irish Tenors sang the telephone book I would buy it. Their voices are magnificent. I have listened to the Christmas CD about 75 times now and still get goose bumps listening to the songs. Anthony Kearns Ave Maria is my favorite. Silent night is a favorite also, estecially Ronan Tynan singing his part in Irish. It is the BEST Christmas album I have ever heard.

    5-0 out of 5 stars BREATH - TAKING !!!
    I have the CD and the tape of this item and I have also seen the Concert twice.TWICE !! The most amazing part of it is when Anthony sings his LITTLE JESUS BOY. When I went to the concert the first time I wasn't really prepared for the effect that song would have on me. On the CD & tape he sings with a Choral Group to back him up. EXCEPT FOR THE FIRST LINES OF THAT SONG !!!!!.

    IT IS ONLY HIS VOICE WE HEAR, AND WHAT A VOICE !!! But at the live shows, he does the same thing, but without the music, and the effect it has IS LIKE A PHYSICAL BLOW TO THE SENCES. I think every one in the place just held our breath until he was finished. IT'S THE MOST BEAUTIFUL SOUND THAT EVER CAME FROM THE MOUTH OF ANY SINGER I HAVE EVER HEARD. I play that one number over and over just to hear ANTHONY'S VOICE. I guess by now you know that I think all THE IRISH TENORS are great, but there is always something special about each of them on certain numbers they each sing. I especially like the trio doing AMAZING GRACE. They do it so well together. Just can't wait for the new "STUFF" FROM YOUR #1 FAN. JOAN WAY

    5-0 out of 5 stars Home for Christmas--A Masterpiece
    Like millions of others I discovered the Irish Tenors through PBS. I promptly began looking for anything else by these wonderful performers and found this Cd. The music is soul-satisfying as the Christmas music is all sacred (the closest to secular is "Good King Wenceslas"). The arrangements are in turn glorious, tender, and sweet. "Suo Gan" by McDermott, ''Sweet Little Jesus Boy" and "The Wexford Carol" by Kearns are highlights. Of the ensemble pieces, "Silent Night" and "Joy to the World" stand out. But the crowning selection is "The Holy City." We are wearing the album out and it's only May. We'll have to have another copy for Christmas!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Live From Belfast
    I first videotaped the "Live from Belfast" performance on PBS.I don't know how many times I have watched it. Then I bought the CD (as well as the "Live from Dublin" CD and video), thinking it would have a song book, but it didn't. That is the only thing I could wish for. I am delighted to find the "Home for Christmas" CD, as I have been told by two different sources that it is unavailable.As someone else expressed, I am glad Finbar Wright was given a chance, even though I am sorry for the occasion that made it possible. I am of Irish descent, and their songs (and especially their interpretations) touched me deeply. I would also like to see a list of other recordings, especially of Anthony Kearns. Pavarotti and Bocelli are the only tenors I might rank as equals with Anthony for ability, pure beauty of tone, and control. I have tried repeatedly to access their web site, but it is unavailable. ... Read more


    12. Great Is Thy Faithfulness
    list price: $30.99
    our price: $30.99
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B00008OM7W
    Catlog: Music
    Sales Rank: 48982
    Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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    Album Description

    2003 album for the world-renowned Celtic balladeer,subtitled Songs Of Inspiration. Copy Controlled. EMI MusicCanada. ... Read more

    Reviews (3)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Better buy several copies
    We could hardly wait to get this release as John McDermott has been delighting family and friends for years with his music. On this album, he has recorded an inspiring mix of treasured hymns and comforting contemporary spiritual songs. Beginning with "Morning Has Broken," John's second offering is "Shelter Me" The heartfelt lyrics sung with great tenderness and understanding just release the tears. Mom is still thrilled over "Abide With Me" while my other favorites include "How Deep the Father's Love for Us," "My Forever Friend," "Be Not Afraid," and "Lord of the Dance." As always, I have also learned from John...he has recorded SIX verses for "Amazing Grace" So as I said, better buy several copies. You will want your loved ones to have their own copies, so you won't have to stand guard over yours! You're going to need one for the car, too. Traffic snarls are much more bearable when you're harmonizing with John.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Another side of John McDermott
    John McDermott, one of the original Irish Tenors,
    has released a dozen or more solo recordings over the past
    ten years, ranging in composition from traditional Irish ballads to songs honoring Veterans of all wars. In "Great Is Thy Faithfulness" (sometimes listed under the title "My Forever Friend"), John has selected and recorded 17 tracks of
    inspirational music, from familiar titles such as "Ave Maria,"
    "The Holy City," and "Amazing Grace," to some not-so-familiar

    ones, like "Shelter Me," "My Forever Friend," and the title
    song, "Great Is Thy Faithfulness." The album opens with an excellent interpretation of the old Cat Stevens tune,
    "Morning Has Broken," which it was good to hear again.

    Ironically, I received my copy of this CD on Good Friday, so
    I sat and listened to it twice. Being a
    die-hard McDermott fan, I cannot say enough in praise of
    this particular recording. The voice, as always, is superb,
    and the choice of material right on the money. As someone who
    has been fortunate enough to be in attendance at four of John's
    concerts, as well as owning two copies of everything he has
    ever recorded, I can attest to the fact that this man
    never disappoints. I highly recommend this CD to anyone who
    has enjoyed John's earlier work, as well as to those who may
    be listening for the first time.

    Playing time is approximately 65 minutes.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Beautiful and Inspirational Album!
    "Great Is Thy Faithfulness" is a beautiful and inspirational album of Christian hymns, old and new. John McDermott's voice lends a warmth and sincerety often missing in such works. The hymns themselves showcase the wide range of Mr. McDermott's voice beginning softly with "Morning Has Broken" , and slowly building to the crowning glory of the album, "The Lord's Prayer." This album is a must buy, not only for fans of John McDermott, but for Christians everywhere. ... Read more


    13. Remembrance
    list price: $16.98
    our price: $14.99
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B00000IP3P
    Catlog: Music
    Sales Rank: 14273
    Average Customer Review: 4.59 out of 5 stars
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    Reviews (17)

    4-0 out of 5 stars Beautiful music, intriguing voice
    John McDermott has come up with aan album of really timeless songs. Although the album is a "commemorative" of "war songs" the celebration is definitely about people and their love for each other and their country. I especially liked the second half of the album with "Shenandoah" and the other civil war era songs. John McDermott certainly has a good ear for what type of music will suit his voice.My only complaint is that the first instrumental sequence wasn't listed as an instrumental on the CD.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Beautiful voice, beautiful music.
    I hardly know how to express how I felt the first time I heard this CD and the beautiful voice of John McDermott. He sings sraight from the heart. When you listen to him it is almost as if the things that happened to our servicemen in those wars actually happened to him, that is how much feeling he puts into them. Thank you John for sharing the songs and your beautiful voice with the world.

    5-0 out of 5 stars One song turned me into a fan!
    I bought this CD because I heard "One Small Star" on the radio and was enchanted and touched by the voice and the song. Now I cannot stop playing the CD! "And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda" is so powerful, I listen to it over and over. "The Green Fields of France", "Christmas in the Trenches", and "The Wall" bring tears to my eyes each time I hear them. I have already ordered more of John McDermott's music and the DVD of "A Time To Remember". Sentimemtal stuff? You bet, and every American with any patriotism in his heart should buy and listen to this great work.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Buy Victory Bonds
    I have a CD with the exact cover but some of the songs differ. John McDermott brings the atmosphere of the war years (both WWI and WWII) home to you. His voice is flawless as Irish tenors go. If you like tenors or thematic "war" songs this is for you. I enjoyed "Lili Marlene", The Rose of Picardy Square", "Christmas in the Trenches" and "The Wall." However I must have played "And the Band played Waltzing Matilda" 10-15 times in a row. Both because of McDermott's voice and because of the story it had to tell.

    5-0 out of 5 stars best cd in a collection of 300-400
    This is the best album or cd I've ever gotten for quantity and quality of songs. But there are three above all" "The Wall", a searing memory of the Vietnam War; "Ashokan Farewell", one of the most beautiful melodies I've ever heard and, despite its being used for background in the PBS Civil War series, written in 1983/4 by Jay Ungar; and the BIG ONE--"One Small Star" by Eric Bogle of Australia, who has two other fine ones on this cd. "Star" is one of the finest examples of how music can heal those grieving for lost ones and I've been trying very hard to get it played in NYC and DC. I bought a copy for the husband of Sandy Bradshaw who was an attendant on Flight 93 which she and those brave passengers took down over Pennsylvania to prevent the hijackers from flying into a target in DC. He lives here in Greensboro. If you agree with the last part of this, please join me in getting it heard far and near. ... Read more


    14. Long Time Ago - Copland / Dawn Upshaw & Thomas Hampson
    list price: $16.98
    our price: $14.99
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B000000SHU
    Catlog: Music
    Sales Rank: 32926
    Average Customer Review: 4.67 out of 5 stars
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    Amazon.com

    Copland's Eight Songs of Emily Dickinson comprise one of the finest song cycles by anAmerican composer, and a perfect meeting of minds between poet and composer. Dickinson's verses andCopland's music alternate plain-spun honesty and wry humor with sudden, unpredictable bursts of passionand pain and a complete lack of false sentimentality. The Old American Songs are simply a goodtime and you'll recognize many of the tunes even if you haven't remembered the words. Hampson andUpshaw are two of the finest American singers alive, and they perform this music as though they have aproprietary interest in it. A terrific record. --David Hurwitz ... Read more

    Reviews (6)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Wonderful introduction to Hampson/Upshaw/Copland!
    This CD was the first I ever purchased featuring either Thomas Hampson or Dawn Upshaw. Both were relatively unknown to me at the time (early 1990s), but both have become favorites in my CD collection. The fresh Copland music is an ideal vehicle for two clear, strong, vibrant singers who celebrate the American spirit.

    The Old American Songs, sung by Hampson, range from the sublime to the silly. If you don't laugh out loud the first time you hear "I Bought Me a Cat," I would be surprised! "Simple Gifts" has the tuneful grace it should without being overblown by accompaniment, and "By the River" moves me every time I listen to it.

    Upshaw's contribution comes in the delightful setting of eight Emily Dickinson poems. Someone told me once that almost any of ED's poems could be set to "The Yellow Rose of Texas," which killed the joy of her poems for me. But Copland's arrangements bring the spirit of this poetry to life while celebrating Dickinson's originality. Upshaw's voice sweetens the dreaminess of "Nature the Gentlest Mother" and rings out in "Going to Heaven."

    If you've ever enjoyed anything else by any of these fine artists, you MUST have this CD!

    5-0 out of 5 stars This is one to share with friends
    I've seen Thomas Hampson Live a couple of times, and I believe he has one of the most glorious voices in the world. If "Simple Gifts" doesn't make you a little weepy, your heart must be made of stone.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Two Cents from the English Teacher
    I am a big fan of both Emily Dickinson and Dawn Upshaw, so I was really excited to see this CD with Dawn Upshaw singing arrangements (by Aaron Copland no less!) of eight super Emily Dickinson poems. Trying to interpret ED is no easy task (for an English teacher or a composer), and I think that Copland does a beautiful job of putting to music the thoughts and words of the recluse poet. Upshaw does a beautiful job of interpreting them vocally. Dickinson's poems have an energy and personal intensity that both Copland and Upshaw manage to capture. I use this CD every year with my juniors to show them a "classical" and musical side of literature. Quite frankly, I would rate it "five stars" just for these eight tracks--I rarely listen to the others, I'm sure to my loss. After reading the other reviews, I'll have to check them out. . . . I think Emily Dickinson would listen to these tracks, smile smirkily to herself, go back upstairs and write a poem about the experience. I think she would be pleased. . . .

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Parental Review -- Toddler Freindly American Songs
    I have been thinking when is a good time to introduce Opera voice to my toddler daughter. I realized that it is not the timing issue, it is more a decision about the composition, melody and performance. And Thomas Hampson's American Songs is the hidden jewel. His interpretation of "Bought me a cat" (along with Hugh Wolff conducting Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra) is whimsical, sparkling, colorful, dynamic, delightful and toddler friendly. It is also a perfect exposure to fun and mighty part of American Music. However, I will wait a little bit longer before playing the other half of album, Dawn Upshaw's Dickinson poems, to my little one.

    5-0 out of 5 stars American to the Core
    I know a lot of people don't particularly like Thomas Hampson--I think they find his sound too "blustery." I've always loved him, and this is the album that introduced me to him. Having sung a number of these songs, I can attest that although they sound very simple, they are actually quite complex. But listening to Hampson toss them off, one never would never suspect the work that goes into them.Hampson quite easily switches gears to suit the piece; moving from reverent to nostalgic to sly to boisterous with ease. It is especially enjoyable to hear him imitating various animal noises on "I Bought Me A Cat." However, the real gem on this album are Dawn Upshaw's renditions of the Emily Dickinson songs. Upshaw's fresh voice is perfectly suited to the often understated melodies Copland uses for the Dicksinson poems. Her diction is, for the most part, clear and crisp. My only complaint are her occasional dramatic swoops. However, even this doesn't detract from her impeccable artistry. An added bonus is the gentle "Down A Country Lane." The album also includes, for some inexplicable reason, the Billy the Kid suite. Although enjoyable, I don't feel it contribute anything to this particular album. All in all, I highly recommend this album. It is quite accesible to children and people who don't ordinarily listen to classical music, but will also delight those who know what they are hearing. ... Read more


    15. La Domoiselle elue/Opera Arias
    list price: $11.98
    our price: $11.98
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B0000029YH
    Catlog: Music
    Sales Rank: 60657
    Average Customer Review: 4.83 out of 5 stars
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    Amazon.com

    Even if she wasn't game enough to wear a Columbia record in her hair (as pictured on thecover), Bidu Sayao had a voice that could make you forget Kathleen Battle. This Brazilian soubrette of the1940s was as vocally lusterous and far more versatile, taking on heavier roles such as La Traviataand even an aria from Madame Butterfly with a gracious sense of style, passionate sense ofcharacter, well-placed high notes and an endearingly fallable coloratura technique. She's most at home inMarriage of Figaro arias from several different characters, but the sheer force of her personalitycarries her through the heavier stuff. Great sound for its time.--David Patrick Stearns ... Read more

    Reviews (6)

    5-0 out of 5 stars 1940's Gem
    I have loved her voice since 1981 when I destroyed a Bidu Sayoa LP "French Songs and Arias" listening to it repeat for hours (Guess I could make a hat out of that record now).
    I cannot add anything original to previous comments lauding her silvery tone or elegant. intelligent, brave, sophisticated, subtle, balanced sense of style. Emotion and control!
    I would not normally have chosen a recording of the Debussy piece with its chorus and orchestration but am won over after several listens. I find her "Un bel di vedremo" refreshing and satisfying.
    The liner notes insightfully outline her career; translated lyrics, for the Debussy piece at least, would have been welcome. Great sound quality with notes on sound transference technique from LP to CD.

    5-0 out of 5 stars great singing by a legendary singer
    This is a great CD by the lengendary Brazilian soprano, Bidu Sayao. A better performance of the Debussy does not exist even though it was recorded about 50 years ago. Sayao has not been surpassed. Also, the Mozart arias are a special treat as are the Bellini, Verdi, and Puccini. Sayao was a wonderful artist and very unique in her interpretations. This CD offers great singing and should be acquired by record collectors who value sensitivity, style, and voice qualities above and beyond the superficial. The tragedy is that Sayao was not recorded as frequently as she deserved -so what we have are limited treasures.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Great artistry, voice and style--the CD is a treasure
    Sayao --with a multi-colored voice of silver proved to be a great singer of Debussy--too bad they did not record her Melisande or Sayao in the extensive French song literature-or early baroque Italian songs-only 6 beautiful renditions of Mozart--Why not more?The most touching Violetta --not only deeply expressive but with great technique--Her Bellini and Puccini are in the same league--why wasn't she recorded more? Recording executives missed the opportunity to preserve more fully one of most wonderful vocalists of the 20th century-- Her one recorded operatic role was recorded when she was not well --reported to have had a cold

    5-0 out of 5 stars Cool name, great singing
    How can you resist someone whose name is "Bidu"? Don't bother trying: listen to this CD and you'll hear the same warmth and sensitivity that enchanted listeners half a century ago. It's hard to believe that these recordings date from the 1940's, since the mono sound is full and there's hardly any surface noise. Sony deserves high praise for a wonderful remastering job, as well as beautiful packaging and good notes.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Perfect Recording of Early Debussy Work
    This is sheer delight. For an evening of complete sensory pleasure, read the Rosetti poem, let a Godiva chocolate melt in you mouth, look at the Pre-Raphaelite painting, sip some sweet sparkling wine, and listen to this recording(lying down, of course). ... Read more


    16. Wagner: Lohengrin
    list price: $67.98
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B0000041TF
    Catlog: Music
    Sales Rank: 75876
    Average Customer Review: 4.43 out of 5 stars
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    Amazon.com essential recording

    Sir George Solti's renditions of Wagner's operas often defined the standard interpretation practice in the post-World War II musical world, and he is at his best in this late 1980s digitally mastered recording partnered with his long-time collaborators, the Vienna Philharmonic--perhaps the most emotionally satisfying orchestra in the world for these challenging scores. Domingo, in the title role, shows himself as a true Heldentenor (i.e. a baritone with high notes), and his earlier weakness in German diction is not apparent. Norman's Elsa is musically perfect though at times a bit chilly and distant. The mature compassion of the role of Henry the Fowler is admirably captured by Sotin. The chorus work is first rate, and the excellent cast is rounded out by Randova and the vigorous Nimsgern as the husband/wife villains. --Christian C. Rix ... Read more

    Reviews (14)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Solti's High-flying -- and High-priced -- 'Lohengrin'
    This is Solti's show. That statement might not be encouraging to you, and that's fine. But Solti enthusiasts -- or dedicated Wagnerites who are just plain curious about this recording -- should stick around 'cause you just might have found your 'Lohengrin.' If you have any reservations about this recording I'd say go get the 1964 Kempe and come back to this as a second choice if by chance your passion for this incredible opera becomes irrepressible.

    The chorus work in this recording is perfect -- without a doubt the best I've ever heard anywhere, save for Solti's 'Tannhauser,' which is its only equal. To me it's the star of the set. The casting, though controversial, also has much to recommend it. I would tell you that your 'Lohengrin' purchase should be based on preference for singers, but it's not that simple. This cast is different from any other you'll see in a German opera recording; it's not inconsistent, per se, but definitely contrasting. Placido Domingo, most of all, is an acquired taste -- and I'm not just talking about his German diction. Some have said that he's more than appropriate for the title role because the actual location of Montsalvat is closer to Spain than Germany. Interesting theory, but that's not what Wagner had in mind, I'm sure. Domingo's diction isn't exactly Sandor Konya's, and though it's improved since Jochum's 'Meistersinger,' I don't think that's enough to fully satisfy. He does have a powerful, handsome voice, and he is a capable heldentenor who, at times, can be the most passionate Lohengrin on record. His voice is a strange one indeed -- not smooth enough to be a bella voce, not helden enough to be a heldentenor -- but always a joy.

    Jessye Norman's voice is like none other, and her rich, mezzo-like Elsa is absolutely ravishing. Holding fast with traditions of yore, her soprano is vigorous, not sweet. This big black woman approach, like Domingo's heldentenor, is also an acquired taste. I finally decided to agree that she is at times "chilly and distant," but her performance is by no means unsympathetic; and since this was my first set, I really didn't even notice her flaws until I heard Elisabeth Grummer's unparalleled portrayal. But Jessye does a fine job, standing her ground with a vast chorus and the Vienna Philharmonic at top volume behind her -- quite an accomplishment for any girl from Augusta. Three cheers for her!

    Eva Randova and Sigmund Nimsgern give Christa Ludwig and Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau a run for their deutschmark, but they ultimately fall short. Randova has this wild vibrato (somewhat intentional, I hope) that really grates on my nerves. Some might find it appropriate for Ortrud's evil demeanor, but I tend to think that the brilliance of Ortrud's villainy is found in the lower depths, which Randova can't handle with the same ease of characterization as Ludwig. Kempe's entire cast was just perfect. Solti did find two great supporting members, Hans Sotin and Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau (yes, him again), who actually give Gottlob Frick and Otto Wiener some healthy competition as the Heinrich/King's Announcer pair. They're every bit as satisfying as Kempe's distinguished gentlemen.

    Solti's orchestration is beautiful. He's not as subtle as Kempe, whose rendition with the same orchestra (though 20-some years earlier) is a benchmark performance, but the sound on this recording is radiant -- absolutely gorgeous. Solti is older and wiser here, not only with the Vienna Phil but also with Wagner. He's a Wagnerian through and through, and you can't go wrong with his conducting.

    But...this price is absolutely exorbitant! Highway robbery! I can't believe I actually paid that! And with the Kempe -- my favorite recording of the work and one of the truly Great Recordings of the Century -- at half the price...I think you can figure out which one I'd recommend. But if you're searching for a second set, look really closely at this one. It's an excellent choice.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Fine performance of great Wagnerian opera.
    More than a century after his death, Wagner and his music are still somewhat contoversial. But there can be little controvery about the fact that Lohengrin is a great opera with striking drama and much beautiful music. Of all the performances of Lohengrin which I've heard this is clearly the best. I would never have thought to cast Placido Domingo in the title role of Lohengrin, but I'm glad that the producers of this recording did because he is superb. The rest of the cast is quite good, as is Solti's conducting. For me, this is the definitive recording of this masterpiece.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Forgive the brushstrokes, enjoy the painting
    For those who suffer an inexorable need to hear Wagnerian opera sung in impeccable German, keep looking (and good luck--you want Hochdeutsch? How about Bay'risch?). For those looking for a blessed diversion from the prevalent Wagner bark, this recording featuring both Norman and Domingo in their primes certainly does provide that. The tonal quality is superior, and while both Domingo and Norman do have their occasional pronunciation flaws (certainly noticeable by those German speakers amongst us), the same holds true for nearly every opera performance with respect to faith to the original language. International casts increase the likelihood of gross linguistic deviation. In all fairness, too, I need admit I have no difficulty with international casts. If you do, you might be best served by looking elsewhere for your Lohengrin recording.

    For an opera sung in a style said to be favored by Wagner for performance of his operas, this recording certainly serves handsomely. It's an impressive addition to any collection, and has become a treasured part of mine--my favorite recording of my favorite opera.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Untouchable.
    Solti, Norman, and Domingo together and in their prime!
    Need I say more?

    5-0 out of 5 stars A moving performance
    I have many recordings of various Wagner operas, but of this opera I have but two: this recording and one with Grummer singing Elsa. I have to give this one the thumbs up. I have borrowed others from the public library, but these two are the ones that really are the best. Then, for those who are really into super pronounced German, why would I choose this one, where the occasional flaw occurs? Simple, it is beautifully song. Wagner loved beautiful singing, and Bellini was one of his favorite composers. He knew beautiful singing when he heard it, and the "bark" that has come to represent the correct way of singing his operas at last is finally disappearing. Now we are being treated to wonderful legato lines, even the correct use of portamento, which in the past was seen as a "crime against Wagner." Wagner wrote those things into his music, as he wrote trills into Brunhilde's music in Walkure (trills one NEVER hears song, not ever, not even by the best of the Brunhildes). While we would be aghast if someone didn't sing a good trill or have a beautiful legato line singing "Norma", we have allowed ourselves, even decided for ourselves, that singers who sing Wagner should stray as far afield from "Bel Canto" principles of singing as possible. That is exactly the opposite of what Wagner ever wanted, even in his last opera. Beautiful singing was what he was all about. Finally, we hear a tenor with a sensuous quality, rather than a rigid loud overblown chewed out forced tone. We have an Elsa who has a sweet, delicate caressing warm delivery rather than a hard pressed shrill sound. Two singers actually caressing the music as Wagner was want to have in his singers (read accounts by Lilli Lehmann if you doubt me, as she created a few roles in his Ring Cycle), and finally the delicate magic of the score comes forth.

    I happen to like Solti more than I like other conductors, and the reason is he is more immediate, less fussy over details that simply don't need to be spotlighted. He gives an urgency to the music he conducts, and well, for me, that is more moving than all the academic readings one often finds.

    My only complaint is with the Ortrude. Usually the darker men's voices in Wagner are sung well, and with warmth. However, I have never seen or heard a performance in all my life of any of his operas where the mezzo part is really that fulfilling to hear. If the mezzo has good low notes, her upper notes are too shrill. Quite often the voice is simply shrill and tight feeling. Well, we are greeted here with that same sort of sound. To me, and this is only my view, Ortrude is the embodiment of EVIL. Her voice should be extremely dark and menacing. Though shrillness has its place in certain moments, I really don't find it suited to her invocation to the old gods. Here the voice should be full, powerful, wild, and cutting with darkness and evil, not screaming and strained.

    I would much rather, and I would wish recording people and conductors would consider it, that a very deep dark contralto with ringing high notes sing these roles. Wagner never wrote very high for such singers, maybe an A or a touched B, nothing more. Schumann-Heink was supposed to be unbeatable in this role, as she was in Erda. In this recording, as with Norman's recording of Strauss's Salome, it is so important that the mezzo sound darker than she does. It is also important their voice be as large as hers. If not, we end up with the very thing that is my biggest complaint with this recording, and all recordings of this opera: the evil Ortrude, the person who caused the entire drama to happen in the first place, sounds like a cross infant against a lush and "not so delicate" maid.

    All this taken into account, the recording is for me one of the most beautiful of one of Wagner's most beautiful scores. I don't think anyone would be disappointed in it, if they listened to it striving to feel the emotions, and got over the little nit picky details that so often make for a sad listening experience. And we should stop comparing operas recorded of Wagner with those of the "golden age." Excepting the very old, none of us were alive to witness those performances, and when we listen to pirates of live performances of those times, we will find those "nearly perfect performances" are anything but. They are filled with cuts, mistakes, very bad intonation (outright bad singing for the most part, particularly with the men, who bark out the words with clear diction without any consideration of the pitch they are supposed to be singing). Let us relish in the here and now, and the beauties that our artists share with us. Their performances, and it is evident in this recording, come from a very real love for this music. ... Read more


    17. Aida-Complete Opera
    list price: $35.98
    our price: $35.98
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B000003EQ2
    Catlog: Music
    Sales Rank: 90038
    Average Customer Review: 4.92 out of 5 stars
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    Amazon.com

    Here's a prime-1950s cast in good monophonic sound, and it delivers the vocalthrills to keep its place high among the preferred recordings of Aida. The firstvoice you hear is the rich, rumbling bass of Boris Christoff and that immediately lets youknow this will be no ordinary Aida. Bjorling's "Celeste Aida" is gold- standard, with gorgeous timbre, firm line, and a haunting mezza voce. From there, he justgets better. Zinka Milanov's Ethiopian princess is outstanding, full of marvelous touchesand ravishing pianissimos--as well as a few minor rough spots. Fedora Barbieri andLeonard Warren offer full-voiced grand singing and Jonel Perlea keeps it all moving tofine dramatic effect. --Dan Davis ... Read more

    Reviews (12)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Best Aida ever; excellent buy for Verdi starters
    My favourite Aida and one of the five top recordings in my Verdi Collection. Although very often this recording in reviews is indicated as "historical" or "classic", I really don't see why. The remastered RCA version has good sound and the technical level is good. A better cast, even compared to other famous Aida's (Toscanini, Karajan, Abbado, Muti, Solti), will to my opinion never been found again. Of course, Jussi Bjoerling as Radames is the absolute top on this recording. Particular the ease of his singing is remarkable; the only other person, I do know, who comes close is Carlo Bergonzi in the Karajan recording from '59. Never heard a more "smooth", but at the same time powerful Celeste Aida. I fully agree with Classical CD's choice (7/99) to call Jussi the number one singer of the century in a list of hundred. But next to Jussi, all other roles have top casts. Remarkable is also the variety of the timbre's, Milanov and Barbieri, Christoff and Warren. In one of my reference tracks for judging Aida recordings, Nume, custode e vindice at the end of the first act, Boris Christoff is Ramfis and Jussi does Radames. Listen to the unique combination of voices. Compared to Muti or Toscanini, Perlea is less present, both at the same time also more "sympathetic". He is fully in lead, but does leave more room for the individually singers. All together THE Aida to get and, not unimportant too, for a very reasonable price. Especially a big recommendation for people who do take their first steps in the opera world of Verdi.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A GREAT 'AIDA"
    I grew into opera in my teens with this recording and I still listen to it over and over again. This "Aida" is a historical document in that it features four artists whose particular type of singing is, unfortunately, extinct. The great Italian mezzo Fedora Barbieri is a classic Amneris, venomous, vindictive, and in the end, very human. Her ripe mezzo, with its booming chest notes, may not sound terribly regal, but they ARE exciting. The Amonasro of Leonard Warren was also a famous assumption in the 1950's, and here he shows us why he was the leading Verdi baritone of his day. Jussi Bjoerling might have had a problem putting his Rhademes over in the opera house, but on records, his singing is lyrical, youthful, and very beautiful. Zinka Milanov's Aida may have a few moments of scooping and gulping, but for the most part her singing is something to be cherished. We simply don't hear Aida sung like this today. The famed Milanovian soft piano notes are, for want of a better word, awesome (listen to "Numi, pieta, the top C in "O Patria Mia, and the entire Tomb Scene). Milanov and Bjoerling's duet in the Tomb Scene is, to me, the perfect marriage of two magnificent voices. Yes, I love this recording as much as I did when I first heard it when I was 17, and that's a pretty long time ago. If I were left with only one recording of this great opera, this would be the one I'd keep. I very strongly recommend it.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Unbelievable!
    This was the recording that introduced me to the beauties of the opera "Aida." I was honored to be able to borrow it from a friend's mother. I listened to it in awe. However, I was not able to buy it, as at that time, I simply could not find it. Later, I bought one with Leontyne Price, and of course, I fell madly in love with that recording. I now have many recordings, including a live on with Maria Callas. The opera has become a staple in my record collection. Finally, decades later, I was able to buy this recording and really listen to it, and compare it to all those others I have. Is it the best of the best? Well, I don't know, but it is pretty near there if it is not there. I love Price's sound more than Milanov's, but both bring something special to the role. Now everyone speaks of Caballe's wonderful pianissimo in the Patria Mia aria. It is wonderful, but if one follows the score, that famous and treachrous high C in not sung all piano through that passage. Verdi writes a crescendo leading to that high C, and then it is sung piano and is to melt away, or fade away, never rushed till the phrase is over. What Caballe sings is wonderful, breath taking actually, but what Milanov sings is what Verdi asked for. Her high C, and the high A that is sung after it, is not just a wonderfully poised pianissimo, she sings what Verdi wrote. She begins the phrase delicately and sings a crescendo, and on the high C she sings a pianissimo and fades it away ever so delicately and descends. There is more to AIDA than this one aria, and more to this aria than this one phrase, but here we hear it as Verdi wrote it. It sends shivers up one's spine. I think this is the only recording ever recorded where the singer actually sings what Verdi wrote. This is the recording that converted me to the Milanov sound. The duet with Bjoerling simple gives one goose bumps all because of how their voices blend and the drama they bring to that beautiful singing.
    With all my recordings of this opera, I still say this one is at the very top, maybe tying with Price (the recording with Jon Vickers). Great as Callas was in her portrayals, AIDA was not her role, and I really can't see her removing the foundation from under this recording. Aida is opera, dramatic opera, but it is opera that requires the best in vocal technique and beauty. This is truly a "gold standard" by which many recordings of Aida will have to be judged.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Except for the sound and some tempos, the best there is
    There have been many complete recordings of "Aida" made between 1928 and the present, not even counting the numerous "live" performances circulating as pirates. Yet, of all of them, this set continues to outsell most others in spite of its sound and a few performance flaws.

    The mono sound is actually quite good for its age. This set, made in 1955, had fuller body to the orchestral sound, not being quite as thin and boxy-sounding as the 1950-53 RCA opera recordings led by Renato Cellini with basically a pick-up band. The Rome Opera forces perform well under Perlea, an experienced theatre conductor with a good sense of musical pacing and shaping, but one who occasionally opted for slower-than-written tempi. This is his one flaw as a conductor here, but when you compare his reading to the much quirkier ones of Solti, Leinsdorf, Karajan or Levine, Perlea comes out pretty good. For some strange reason, however, the mono sound is drier and boxier on CD than it was on LP: obviously this transfer was made long before 20-bit remastering and clearer sound! However, boosting the treble restores a more natural balance.

    Going down the cast list: Milanov, whose voice could float beautifully on top but sound somewhat base and hollow further down her range, is a surprisingly good Aida, curbing her tendency to elongate notes beyond their written length except for a couple of instances. She also sings dramatically, something one is not used to hearing from her, especially at this late stage of her career.

    Barbieri, on the other hand, usually over-dramatized things, but here as in the Serafin "Ballo in Maschera" she sings with both a glorious tone and attention to musical detail. An excellent Amneris, surpassed only by Rita Gorr on the Solti set and equalled by no other.

    Bjorling is usually not a favorite of mine in opera; his beautiful, silvery voice usually just soars through the music without any sense of what he is singing about. Here, however, he is remarkably sensitive to both text and dramatic situations. I'm guessing that either Christoff or Perlea (or both) gave him a good talking-to prior to the sessions. He sounds passionate in the Nile Scene duet, anxious and frightened in the Nile Scene finale. Good job!

    Having not listened to him in some time, I had forgotten what a dramatic AND musically sensitive singer Leonard Warren was. His only drawback was his gruffy timbre, which just seemed to get gruffier and woolier as time went on. But the voice could also "bite," and it does so here. He is the second-best Amonasro on records, after the underrated Giuseppe Valdengo.

    Christoff is his usual snarly self, but here both voice and character click. He was an excellent Ramfis because he, like Ramfis, was pompous, arrogant and overbearing. It was perfect typecasting.

    My favorite "Aida" still remains the Toscanini, despite the cold singing of Tucker as Rhadames (in the first two acts - he warms up well for the last 2) and the tremulous, unfocused Amneris of Gustavson, but this makes a superb second choice. Now, if only RCA would remaster it with 20-bit sound and change it from 3 to 2 CDs...but don't hold your breath!

    5-0 out of 5 stars An "Aida" to treasure.
    When the opera is Verdi's "Aida", your night at the opera will be time well spent. When you add this recording of it to your shopping cart, your money will be well spent.

    Perlea's "Aida" easily compensates for several apparent drawbacks. Most of the principals are non-Italians. It is a mono recording. It was recorded as long ago as 1955.

    I think the quality will become apparent as soon as the "curtain rises". Instead of prompting the tenor to engage in a few bars of dialogue before beginning "Celeste Aida", the High Priest (Boris Christoff) instantly commands attention. Jussi Bjorling, whose 1936 recording of "Celeste Aida" helped launch him on the international opera circuit, delivers here a noble, tender and thrilling account of it - not at all Italianate but highly musical. When these two singers share the second half of the next scene, the Temple Scene, the vocal richness is overwhelming. Fedora Barbieri, as Amneris, riveting, ripe and regal, provides more vocal richness in the scene that follows, and the act ends with Zinka Milanov, in glorious voice, conveying the distress of the supposed slave girl whose loyalties are impossible to reconcile.

    The Triumphal March features a chorus that actually sounds like a rejoicing crowd and the ballet sequences are richly evocative. Jonel Perlea directs these sterling forces, equally successful in structuring the huge ensembles and in handling the intimate scenes of this masterpiece.

    The locale for the recording is the Rome Opera House, a venue for many of my favorite recordings. As with most "Aida" recordings, this could be a 2 CD set, but it disposes itself much better onto 3 CDs. ... Read more


    18. Prima Voce - Marian Anderson / Shaw
    list price: $8.98
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    Asin: B0000037L2
    Catlog: Music
    Sales Rank: 58135
    Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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    Amazon.com

    Marian Anderson's rich contralto tinged with sadness touched thehearts of many and made her one of the most-loved American singers. She'sprobably best known for her spirituals on recordings made in the twilight of hercareer. In these good transfers, she sings an ample selection of those favoritesmade in her prime, the late 1930s; they're no less touching and made even morecompelling by the freshness of her voice, which is just as fresh in the Handel andBach arias from the Messiah, St. Matthew Passion, and more. - -Dan Davis ... Read more

    Reviews (1)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Honest Transfer of Great Material from 78s
    There are eleven spirituals on this CD, but it opens with a stunning traversal of seven sacred selections from the Baroque era, six selections of Bach and one of Handel. Ms. Anderson's sweetness, sincerity and artistry are complemented nicely by a young Robert Shaw conducting the RCA Symphony Orchestra (you can clearly hear the later Shaw of the Bach B Minor Mass in places, and the selection from the St. Matthew Passion is a haunting reminder that Shaw was never able to commit a complete Matthew to disc for posterity, though it was his favorite work and its recording a goal in his life - but I stray). What the Baroque selections lack in the latest in musicological authenticity they more than make up for in heartfelt simplicity and directness. It's Baroque music for the ages, and it may move you to tears.

    The eleven spirituals, on the other hand, are accompanied only by an unidentified pianist, one who is certainly quite accomplished and gives Ms. Anderson a superb level of support. The question will need to be asked, I suppose, "Is there perhaps more inspiration present in the singing of the spirituals than in the Baroque selections?" Not at all; the artistry in both is equal. Indeed, modern audiences, used to hyped-up versions of these spirituals, may be slightly disappointed at the plainness of these renditions. I wasn't; I was enchanted. ... Read more


    19. Mozart - Idomeneo / Rolfe Johnson · von Otter · Martinpelto · McNair · N. Robson · Winslade · EBS · Gardiner
    list price: $50.98
    our price: $50.98
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    Asin: B0000057DT
    Catlog: Music
    Sales Rank: 55284
    Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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    Reviews (8)

    4-0 out of 5 stars what a review should be
    I have much less to say about the opera than the review submitted by Tom Han from Texas. I think it's an outstanding exemplar of what an Amazon review should be. Keep up the excellent work!

    5-0 out of 5 stars GARDINER, RE DI CRETA.
    Con Idomeneo comienza la madurez operística de Mozart. Aunque a la usanza de la gran ópera seria que ya apuntaba síntomas de vejez, el joven autor (25 años), lograba uno de sus mejores trabajos en el campo teatral. La historia del padre desesperado ya había sido puesta en música por Campra en 1712 y, a la experiencia mozartiana, le seguirán otros compositores (Gazzaniga, Paër, Farinelli y Federici). Sin embargo, pese a sus valores, Idomeneo no ha tenido la difusión teatral y discográfica que han conseguido los posteriores trabajos del autor. De las existentes en el mercado, es esta quizá la versión que mejor reúne todos los ingredientes para su disfrute. La orquesta (de instrumentos originales) clara, enérgica y pletórica de matices, se adentra en el clasicismo más puro y ofrece una lectura impresionante de la obra, al igual que el espléndido Monteverdi Choir. Los solistas destacan por su dominio del estilo y la belleza de sus voces. Se ha dicho que a Rolfe Johnson le falta de robustez vocal para enfrentar el personaje, pero ante tanta musicalidad y buen decir: ¿hace falta más? El Idamante de la Von Otter es el mejor de la discografía, sin lugar a dudas, y la Ilia de McNair es dulce y sutil. Martinpelto, con su Elettra, se aleja de las versiones "veristas" a las que nos han acostumbrado algunas cantantes, y no por ello resta dramatismo a su atormentado personaje. Si a todo esto añadimos una buena distribución de secundarios, excelente toma de sonido y que, como apéndice, podemos encontrar todo lo que Mozart suprimió en Munich y agregó a la versión de Viena, estoy seguro que no se tendrá dudas de coronar a esta lectura de Gardiner como la mejor de la discografía de este título mozartiano.

    2-0 out of 5 stars Not my cup of tea!!!
    Alfred Einstein hailed Idomeneo as a paragon of operatic composition. However, the public has never embraced this unusually intricate work with such enthusiasm. The possible reasons for this are obvious: a paucity, if not an entire lack, of memorable arias; an unforgiving libretto punctuated by a tortuous plot; a highly complex musical structure that often seems discursive and even esoteric; and confusion regarding the actual score and its various components. Add to this the fact that, unlike many of Mozart's more popular operas, Idomeneo does not have a sensational finale, the results can be underwhelming. On the other hand, a compassionately skillful conductor heedful of these liabilities can undermine any doubts about the viability of this masterpiece. Unfortunately, that is not the case here.

    To give the devil his due, I must admit that, from a technical perspective, the playing of the English Baroque Soloists is beyond reproach. And, were I to confine myself to the overture, orchestral marches, and ballet only, I would be compelled to give this record the highest rating. Likewise, taken on its own, the Monteverdi Choir exhibits the discipline and proficiency that we have come to expect from this accomplished group of singers. Plus, the soloists are an impressive lot, marked by moments of enviable introspection and pathos. At all times, they are, at least, competent, and their innate abilities are never in question.

    Anne Sofie von Otter as Idamante is the star of this performance; her singing is consistently mellifluous, strong, and marked by a melodic integrity that is notable for its consistency-though I would rather have a tenor in the role. Sylvia McNair as Ilia can be thin-toned and, at times, underpowered in duets, but this may in fact be desirable with Idamante sung as a soprano, since the contrast could lend itself to a desirable dynamic between the tormented lovers. Otherwise, McNair displays her Mozartian credentials well, with an understanding of the dramatic moments in the music that is welcome.

    The men sing admirably, but none of them rises to the levels achieved by some of their peers in more traditional performances. Anthony Rolfe Johnson is a believable but not compelling Idomeneo, and, despite his pleasant voice, he does not command the presence of, say, Domingo in the Levine production on DG. Nigel Robson turns in a serviceable performance as Arbace that doesn't fulfill the potential for dramatic expression in this character. He's certainly no Thomas Hampson, who is a wonderful Arbace, also on the Levine recording.

    At this point, you may be asking yourselves what, if anything, is wrong with Gardiner's Idomeneo, given my praise of certain parts of the recording. The answer is quite simple and trite: this Idomeneo is less than the sum of its parts. A successful performance of a Mozart opera, particularly one that has-justly or unjustly-been viewed as structurally byzantine, depends on the coherent integration of various elements into a flowing, logically animated whole. In addition, it may occasionally be necessary to sacrifice literary (or dramatic) consistency, in the guise of recitatives, to achieve greater musical consistency and believability. Neither of these points appears to have been heeded by Gardiner.

    For all its emphasis on progressive tempi, this Idomeneo lacks a sense of forward momentum, not to mention animation. Gardiner allows the opera to wallow in overly accentuated recitatives, which are utterly bereft of any transitional impetus, thereby creating the impression of a series of disconnected exercises for voice, not an integrated composition. Furthermore, the same sparseness of texture that conveys freshness in unaccompanied orchestral passages ultimately exposes a glaring lack of balance between orchestra and singers. As a result, the performance loses all vestiges of gravitas and is beset by an astringency that, despite the emphasis on historicity, makes it sound more like Monteverdi than Mozart.

    Nowhere is this more apparent than in the finale, which, as mentioned, is not the most fantastic Mozart ever composed. The English Baroque Soloists' slender tone adds none of the support that is required to execute a forceful operatic climax, nor do the enervated emanations from the smallish Monteverdi Choir help the situation. Indeed, the choir, whose technical prowess cannot be questioned in the abstract, is out of its league in this performance.

    As for the team of soloists, the singers may have moments of individual distinction, but their ensemble passages are lees than expert. Rolfe Johnson was either farther from the microphones than some of the others or his voice is no match for the power von Otter (and to a lesser extent McNair) is capable of projecting, because he is unashamedly overpowered by her and just about everyone else. Plus, the melodic balance among the soloists is continually disturbed in key numbers, which is something that Gardiner should have caught. All in all, despite their laudable pedigrees, the soloists are really not a team at all but a group of vocal contestants, if you will, vying for attention and occasionally accompanied by an orchestral continuo (or so it sounds).

    There are too many features of this Idomeneo that I, frankly, found unconvincing, definitely too many to highlight them all here. Let me just say that, in the end, this confirmed many of my suspicions regarding period-instrument practices. I would not deny that period-instrument performances have frequently provided insights into compositions that would otherwise be lacking. In certain circumstances, period orchestras may more accurately define the essence of the music, and such may be the case with baroque compositions, though I am not convinced. Most importantly, conductors such as Charles Mackerras and Nikolaus Harnoncourt have been able to apply the lessons learned from period-instrument performance to traditional settings and create truly inspired readings of the standard repertoire with modern instruments.

    Nevertheless, if for no other reason than the vast differences between today's singers and those of-especially-the 18th and early 19th centuries, and the corresponding incongruities between the comparatively lush tonal qualities of modern singers, on the one hand, and the ascetic timbres of period orchestras, on the other, period-instrument performances of opera are very difficult, if not impossible, to stage. The case against period interpretations of the operatic corpus has an effective, albeit ironic, spokesman in Gardiner (whose lackluster rendition of Falstaff [Philips 462-603-2] further attests to my contention.

    5-0 out of 5 stars the one to have
    I don't know why a reviewer below found it necessary to point out that this is a 'live' recording. Firstly, 'live' recordings usually have an 'edge' to them that results in a more involving experience. Secondly, the sonic quality of the finished product, in this case, hardly EVER betrays the fact that an audience was present. The audience is totally silent for 99% of the time and the music is more clearly and cleanly recorded than many a studio-bound effort!
    That said, this is probably the finest account of 'Idomeneo' available. It's electric! The singers give beautiful renditions of their roles and are dramatically and emotionally convincing. The Monteverdi Choir is, as usual, terrific and the English Baroque Soloists are surely as good, if not better, than the original Mannheimers for whom this score was written. One last thing, for those not familiar with the Ballet Music that Mozart himself composed for the end of the opera then this set is a MUST BUY! Even if Mozart did find writing it a chore the finished ballet is, of course, a masterpiece: some of the most 'muscular' and thrilling orchestral music he ever penned; and played here with the upmost verve, vitality and virtuosity.
    All in all a definitive recording, including as it does all the alternative music written by Mozart and then cut before the premiere (except that music written for the 1786 revival. All the 1780-81 stuff is here).

    5-0 out of 5 stars Encore!
    I really enjoy this recording of one of Mozart's frequently overlooked operas. Gardiner's use of period instruments really brings out the emotions in the music in a way that more modern interpretations do not. This opera is full of passion, and Gardiner's orchestration brings that out in a way that is rarely heard. The musicians play beautifully, and the vocalists are top-notch. Sylvia McNair is radiant in the role of Ilia, and Rolfe Johnson is one of the best in the role of Idomeneo that I have ever heard.

    Don't listen to people who say that the period instruments rob this work of its vitality. Listen to it yourself and form your own opinion. I think that once you hear this recording, you'll find yourself returning to it again and again. ... Read more


    20. Tannhäuser / Domingo, Studer, Baltsa, Salminen, A. Schmidt; Sinopoli
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    Asin: B000001GB0
    Catlog: Music
    Sales Rank: 25602
    Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars
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    Another Paris Tannhäuser recording, this one seeing the adaptablePlacido Domingo take a break from the world of Italianate opera to try on themantle of Heldentenor. Domingo's clear, manly voice is well suited to thetransformation--precisely why Italians usually don't think of him as a bellavoce. Agnes Baltsa approaches the role of Venus in a less shrill and morehuman manner than often is heard in portrayals of the excitable goddess. Thesound is exceptionally clear in the recording, a comparatively newer digitalmastering from the late 1980s. The chorus work is good, though not quite on thesublime plane reached in the Georg Solti recording. Maestro Giuseppe Sinopoliconducts the Philharmonia Orchestra and the Chorus of the Royal Opera House,Covent Garden in a measured, stately manner. --Christian C. Rix ... Read more

    Reviews (10)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Superb recording!
    I belong to the reviewers who like this work. I don't think that it is the worst of wagnerian recordings at all!!It's exaggerated.

    Perhaps many radical wagnerians can think that Domingo isn't the more adequated voice for the title role because he isn't a true heldentenor, but just think who other would have sang without shrill or with more force in his generation?. For example in Solti's recording Rene Kollo hasn't neither the volume nor the enough force to face the difficulties of the role!

    Maestro Sinopoli conducts beautifully a great orchestra complemented by the good singing job from Studer(at her prime), Schmidt(the closer voice to Fischer-Dieskau style)and Baltsa.

    Just listen to enjoy, forget the wrong advices!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Great in every respect!!
    This is an Italinate opera, early for Wagner, who at this time was in the young German revolution of the arts movement, which did not stop him from admiring Bellini's Norma and other things bel canto,,all shining bright in this opera and in this recording. Cheryl Studer is excellent here, unlike the bad things that she sang later. Palcido Domingo out does all others in this role, especially the hard -to- listen-to Rene Kollo in the Solti recording for Decca. The balance of the cast is superb.. Baltsa is electrifying as Venus, withj her feverish high notes, and weird shifts from voice to voice.

    Sinopoli's conducting catches all of the old world beauties and the newer Tristan investitures in the score(revised later by W in Paris, long after the initial premeiere). This is not "out of tune" nor the worst of anything. That reviewer has a bad CD player and should buy a new one.

    Buy this and see why so many prefer Domingo in Wagner over the shouting of German tenors that have plagued the Wagner repertoire for ages. Vickers is the one exception.

    3-0 out of 5 stars A Good, but not Great Recording
    The great tenor Jon Vickers once said that he would never play the role of Tannhauser since the character was so despicable. He believed that his deep religious faith would not allow him to play this role, even though he would only be singing and acting. Wagner's music is so beautiful, it hardly befits such a character, yet when we look at issues such as sin and grace, goodness and evil, how often are we reminded that evil is often disguised as beauty. Perhaps this is one reason why this opera is so intriguing.

    Tannhauser is a story of sin and redemption that combines the world of myth and Christianity-a popular theme in the works of Wagner. In this opera, Tannhauser visits the goddess Venus and enjoys her allurements of the flesh. He then returns home where he is greeted by the pure and chaste Elizabeth. Just as Venus embodies all that is corrupt, Elizabeth embodies all that is good. Elizabeth is loved by two men, the good Wolfram and the evil Tannhauser. Wolfram is worthy of a woman such as Elizabeth, and certainly she deserves to be loved by such a good and descent person. However, the one she loves is Tannhauser. At a singing contest in the great hall, Wolfram sings a genuine song and Tannhauser tells of his visit to Venus, which shocks the audience. He is told of his version of love is blasphemy and such a grave sin can only be forgiven by the Pope. Tannhauser will only know if he has been forgiven if the staff of the Pope grows leaves. He then joins a pilgrimage to Rome. Elizabeth stays behind and prays so hard that she dies. Her death coincides with the moment that Tannhauser realizes that he is forgiven.

    The Sinopoli recording with Domingo in the starring role was my first Tannhauser recording, and it is this recording that made me fall in love with the opera. Though Domingo is primarily known for his renditions of the Italian repertoire, when he does venture into other areas such as French and German opera, he often does an outstanding job due to his musical gifts. Though I enjoy the Solti recording with Rene Kollo, Domingo is a very convincing Tannhauser. Gueseppi Sinopli does a good job conducting, and Sinopli's handling of the score in on par with many of his other great recordings,
    but the remainder of the cast does not have the abilities of the Solti recording. Certainly Domingo fans will want this recording in their collection, and those who are new to Wagner and familiar with Domingo's masterful interpretations will feel safe stepping into this territory with such a familiar and beloved voice.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Splendid
    This is a first rate recording of Tannhauser. Arguably Wagner's most lush and easily accessible opera, this recording features excellent singing, notably by Placido Domingo, excellent orchestral work, and excellent chorus work. Gorgeous music, fine performances, and an uplifting treatment of the recurrent Wagnerian theme of salvation through selfless love. What more can you ask?

    5-0 out of 5 stars Top of the heap
    No complaints. My first thought on hearing the overture was, "why so slow?" But it picks up steam and turns into a very convincing performance. Then right in to the fabulous first scene (this is the Paris Version of "Tannhauser"). Domingo sounds great here, the orchestra and all else are top notch. Fine sound too. A winner in a not-too-crowded field. ... Read more


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