This full-blooded 1982 performance of Puccini's most-loved opera demonstrates just how much drive and powerful emotion can make up for a certain lack of subtlety. Cotrubas' Mimi is entirely moving in both joy and death, while never quite feeling as thoroughly frail as some of her quieter rivals; stronger tenor voices than Neil Shicoff's have recorded the role, and yet he has a Romantic passion and a dignity that many of his rivals fail to bring to the role. That under-rated singer Gwynne Howell is especially moving in Colline's farewell to his cloak--one of those perfect little showcase sections Puccini sometimes gives to minor parts. Marilyn Zschau's Musetta is broad and comic and yet somehow includes the audience in the glorious joke that her sexuality is for her; when Thomas Allen sings, to her waltz theme, of youth that is not yet dead, his ardour transcends realism. Gardelli knew this score in his bones--the production bounces along from comedy to tears to eroticism to tragedy and neither cast nor orchestra miss a single one of Puccini's wonderful touches of emotional exploitation. --Roz Kaveney
Taped during the first-ever performances of Idomeneo at the Metropolitan Opera in 1982 this production by Jean-Pierre Ponnelle features Frederica von Stade Hildegard Behrens Ileana Cotrubas and Luciano Pavarotti making a rare appearance in a Mozart role.
Opera in three acts produced live at the Metropolitan Opera on 7 November 1977.
This famous and highly-praised Royal Opera production by film director John Schlesinger filmed in 1981 is as good as we are ever likely to see. The spectacular designs by Maria Bjornson and William Dudley vividly bring Hoffman's nightmare world to life. The brilliant cast is led by Placido Domingo as Hoffmann in one of his towering portrayals. He has become wholly identified with this part in a way that no other artist has.
Set in France and Spain in the second half of the sixteenth century Don Carlo tells the story of the political and amorous rivalry between Philip II of Spain and his son Don Carlo. Luchino Visconti's magnificent and definitive Royal Opera production of Verdi's Don Carlo was first seen in 1958 and is seen here in a staging by Christopher Renshaw filmed in 1985. The Visconti sets recreate the forest of Fontainebleau the monastery of San Yuste and Don Carlo's dark underground prison with equal effectiveness. The superb cast is led by Ileana Cotrubas as a tender and touching Elisabetta the fine lyric tenor Luis Lima in the title role and the great baritone Giorgio Zancanaro as Rodrigo. The conductor is Bernard Haitink.
Mozart's The Magic Flute (for Children). Recorded live at the Felsenreitschule, Salzburg, 26th August 1982.
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