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Various Artists – Great Opera Arias

Various Artists – Great Opera Arias

Recorded between 1979 & 1988

About these works:
The fourteen extracts recorded here are among the best-loved arias from the worlds’s most famous operas. All of them were recorded with the most famous and reputed singers and orchestras, in some cases during live performances. This recording is a good opportunity for those prefering short pieces, to get familiar with the greatest arias.

Track List & Artists:
01. Puccini – Tosca – E Lucevan Le Stelle (3:14)
Giacomo Aragall: Cavaradossi
National Philharmonic Orchestra – Sir Georg Solti
Recorded in 1984

02. Puccini – Manon Lescaut – In quelle Trine Morbide (2:17)
Kiri Te Kanawa: Manon
Orchestra del Teatro Comunale di Bologna – Riccardo Chailly
Recorded in 1987

03. Mozart – Le Nozze Di Figaro – Voi Che Sapete (2:57)
Frederica Von Stade: Cherubino
London Philharmonic Orchestra – Sir Georg Solti
Recorded in 1981

04. Rossini – Il Barbiere Di Siviglia – Largo Al facotum (5:06)
Leo Nucci: Figaro
Orchestra del Teatro Comunale di Bologna – Giuseppe Patanè
Recorded in 1988

05. Verdi – Ernani – Surta È La Notte (6:06)
Susan Sunn: Elvira
Orchestra del Teatro Comunale di Bologna – Riccardo Chailly
Recorded in 1987

06. Massenet – Werther – Pourquoi Me Réveiller (3:06)
Luciano Pavarotti: Werther
National Philharmonic Orchestra – Oliviero de Fabrittis
Recorded in 1979

07. Beethoven – Fidelio – Abscheulicher, Komm, Hoffung (8:03)
Hildegard Behrens: Leonore
Chicago Symphony Orchestra – Sir Georg Solti
Recorded in 1979

08. Boito – Mefistofele -Sono Lo Spirito Che Nega (3:32)
Nicolai Ghiaurov: Mefistofele
National Philharmonic Orchestra – Oliviero de Fabrittis
Recorded in 1980

09. Boito – Mefistofele – L’altra Notte In Fondo Al Mare (6:56)
Mirella Freni: Margherita
National Philharmonic Orchestra – Oliviero de Fabrittis
Recorded in 1980

10. Puccini – Manon Lescaut – Donna Non Vidi Mai (2:14)
José Carreras: Des Grieux
Orchestra del Teatro Comunale di Bologna – Riccardo Chailly
Recorded in 1987

11. Giordano – Andrea Chénier – La Mamma Morta (5:15)
Monserrat Caballé: Maddalena
National Philharmonic Orchestra – Riccardo Chailly
Recorded in 1984

12. Rossini – La Donna Del Lago – Mura Felici (9:57)
Marylin Horne: Malcolm
New York City Orchestra: Richard Bonynge
Recorded in 1981

13. Puccini – La Bohème – Che Gelida Manina (4:34)
Luciano Pavarotti: Rodolfo
New York City Orchestra: Richard Bonynge

14. Verdi – Il Masnadieri – Tu Del Mio Carlo..Carlo Vive (8:20)
Joan Sutherland: Amalia
New York City Orchestra: Richard Bonynge
Recorded in 1981

Stereo, DDD, mp3, 320 kbps, 188.99 Mb, 71:43 minutes

Part1 —  Part2

Giacomo Puccini – Turandot

Giacomo Puccini – Turandot

Recorded in Germany in 1982.

About this Opera:
Turandot is an opera in three acts by Giacomo Puccini, set to a libretto in Italian by Giuseppe Adami and Renato Simoni. Though Puccini’s first interest in the subject was based on his reading of Friedrich Schiller’s adaptation of the play, his work is most nearly based on the earlier text Turandot by Carlo Gozzi. Turandot was unfinished by the time of Puccini’s death and was later completed by Franco Alfano.
The first performance was held at the Teatro alla Scala in Milan on 25 April 1926 and conducted by Arturo Toscanini. This performance included only Puccini’s music and not Alfano’s additions. The first performance of the opera as completed by Alfano was conducted by Ettore Panizza. The story of Turandot was taken from the Persian collection of stories called The Book of One Thousand and One Days or Hezar o-yek shab (1722 French translation Les Mille et un jours by François Petis de la Croix — not to be confused with its sister work The Book of One Thousand and One Nights), where the character of “Turandokht” as a cold Chinese princess was found. The story of Turandokht is one of the best known from de la Croix’s translation.The plot respects the classical unities of time, space and action.Puccini first began working on Turandot in March 1920 after meeting with librettists Giuseppe Adami and Renato Simoni. He began composition in January 1921. By March 1924 he had completed the opera up to the final duet. However, he was unsatisfied with the text of the final duet, and did not continue until October 8, when he chose Adami’s fourth version of the duet text. On October 10 he was diagnosed with throat cancer and on November 24 went to Brussels, Belgium for treatment. There he underwent a new and experimental radiation therapy treatment. Puccini and his wife never knew how serious the cancer was, as the news was only revealed to his son. He died of complications on November 29, 1924. He left behind 36 pages of sketches on 23 sheets for the end of Turandot, together with instructions that Riccardo Zandonai should finish the opera. Puccini’s son Tonio objected, and eventually Franco Alfano was chosen to flesh out the sketches after Vincenzo Tommasini (who had completed Boito’s Nerone after the composer’s death) and Pietro Mascagni were rejected. Ricordi decided on Alfano because his opera La leggenda di Sakùntala resembled Turandot in its setting and heavy orchestration. Alfano provided a first version of the ending with a few passages of his own, and even a few sentences added to the libretto which was not considered complete even by Puccini himself. After the severe criticisms by editor Ricordi and the conductor Arturo Toscanini, he was forced to write a second, strictly censored version that followed Puccini’s sketches more closely, to the point where he did not set some of Adami’s text to music because Puccini had not indicated how he wanted it to sound. Ricordi’s real concern was not the quality of Alfano’s work, but that he wanted the end of Turandot to sound as if it had been written by Puccini, and Alfano’s editing had to be seamless. Of this version, about three minutes were cut for performance by Toscanini and it is this shortened version that is usually performed. The premiere of Turandot was at La Scala, Milan, on Sunday April 25, 1926, one year and five months after Puccini’s death. It was conducted by Arturo Toscanini. In the middle of Act III, two measures after the words “Liù, poesia!”, the orchestra rested. Toscanini stopped and laid down his baton. He turned to the audience and announced: “Qui finisce l’opera, perché a questo punto il maestro è morto” (“Here the opera ends, because at this point the maestro died”). The curtain was lowered slowly. Toscanini apparently never conducted the opera again.The second and subsequent performances at the 1926 La Scala season were conducted by Ettore Panizza and they included Alfano’s ending. (As discussed in Ashbrook and Powers, the music for Liù’s death was not in fact Puccini’s final composition, but had been orchestrated some nine months earlier).

Track List:
01. Acte I – Popolo di Pechino! [Le Mandarin] (2:17)
02. Acte I – Le guardie imperiali indietro, cani! [Les Gardes Impériaux] (0:47)
03. Acte I – Padre! Mio padre! [Calaf] (3:08)
04. Acte I – Gira la cote! [Les Hommes] (2:27)
05. Acte I – Perche tarda la luna? [La Foule] (4:07)
06. Acte I – La, sui monti dell’Est [Les Jeunes Gens] (1:14)
07. Acte I – O giovinetto! Grazia! [La Foule] (3:38)
08. Acte I – La grazia, Principessa! [La Foule] (1:56)
09. Acte I – Figlio, che fai? [Timur] (1:52)
10. Acte I – Fermo! Che fai? [Ping, Pong, Pang] (1:59)
11. Acte I – Silenzio, olà! [Les Servantes de Turandot] (1:54)
12. Acte I – Notte senza lumicino [Pang, Pong, Ping] (2:49)
13. Acte I – Signore, ascolta! [Liù] (2:47)
14. Acte I – Non piangere, Liù! [Calaf] (2:29)
15. Acte I – Ah! Per l’ultima volta!’ [Timur] (3:19)
16. Acte II, Premier Tableau – Olà, Pang! [Ping] (1:18)
17. Acte II, Premier Tableau – O China, che or sussulti [Ping] (2:03)
18. Acte II, Premier Tableau – Ho una casa nell’Honan [Ping] (3:10)
19. Acte II, Premier Tableau – O mondo pieno di pazzi innamorati! [Ping, Pong, Pang] (1:52)
20. Acte II, Premier Tableau – Addio, amore, addio, razza! [Ping, Pong, Pang] (1:57)
21. Acte II, Premier Tableau – Non v’è in China per nostra fortuna [Ping, Pong, Pang] (1:48)
22. Acte II, Premier Tableau – Udite trombe! Altro che pace [Pong] (1:18)
23. Acte II, Deuxième Tableau – Gravi, enormi ed imponenti [La Foule] (3:14)
24. Acte II, Deuxième Tableau – Un giuramento atroce mi costringe [L’Empereur] (3:37)
25. Acte II, Deuxième Tableau – Diecimila anni al nostro Imperatore! [La Foule] (1:31)
26. Acte II, Deuxième Tableau – Popolo de Pechino! [Le Mandarin] (1:42)
01. Turandot – In questa reggia (3:06)
02. Turandot / “O, Principi, Che A Lunghe Carovane” (4:24)
03. Turandot / “Straniero, Ascolta” (2:02)
04. Calaf / “Si! Rinasce!” (0:55)
05. Turandot / “Guizza Al Pari Di Fiamma” (1:39)
06. Calaf / “Si, Principessa!” (1:02)
07. Turandot / “Gelo Che Ti Da Foco” (2:02)
08. Calaf / “La Mia Vittoria” (1:53)
09. Turandot / “Figlio Del Cielo!” (2:07)
10. Calaf / “No, no, Principessa Altera” (3:28)
11. La Folla / “Ai Tuoi Piedi Ci Prostriam” (2:46)
12. Gli Araldi / “Cosi Comanda Turandot” (3:46)
13. Calaf / “Nessun Dorma” (3:15)
14. Ping, Pong, Pang / “Tu Che Guardi Le Stelle” (2:25)
15. Ping / “Straniero, To Non Sai” (1:44)
16. Ping / Principessa Divina!” (2:46)
17. Liu / “Signor, Non Parlero!” (1:34)
18. Turandot / “Chi Pose Tanta Forza Nel Tuo Cuore?” (2:59)
19. Turandot / “Strappatele Il Segreto!” (1:32)
20. Liu / “Tu Che Di Gel Sei Cinta” (3:20)
21. Timur / “Liu! Sorgi!” (2:36)
22. Timur / “Liu, Bonta! Liu, Dolcezza!” (3:25)
23. Calaf / “Principessa Di Morte!” (3:53)
24. Turandot / “Che e Mai Di Me?” (2:58)
25. Calaf / “La Tua Gloria Risplende Nell’incanto” (3:35)
26. Turandot / “Piu Grande Vittoria Non Voler!” (1:03)
27. Turandot / “So Il Tuo Nome!” (1:30)
28. La Folla / “Diecimila Anni Al Nostro Imperatore!” (1:49)
29. Turandot / “Padre Augusto” (2:02)

The Players:
Wiener Philarmonier Orchestra And Chorus
Herbert von Karajan: conductor

Stereo, DDD, mp3, 320 kbps, 2 hours 11 minutes, 329.21 Mb Covers, info & synopsis included.

Part1 —–   Part2 —–   Part3 —–   Part4

Giacomo Puccini – Il Tabarro

Giacomo Puccini – Il Tabarro

Recorded in The Concert Hall of The Belgian Radio & Television in Brussels from the 16th to the 19th March 1994.

About this Opera:
Il tabarro (The Cloak) is an opera in one act by Giacomo Puccini to an Italian libretto by Giuseppe Adami, based on Didier Gold’s La Houppelande. It is part of the trio of operas known as “Il Trittico”. The libretto is from Giuseppe Adami and the sttings are set in Paris in the late 19th century. The Main Characters are Michele owner of a barge, aged 50 (baritone), Giorgetta, Michele’s wife, aged 25 (soprano) and Luigi, a stevedore, aged 20 (tenor).
The basic plot can be sumarize as:
Michele and his wife Giorgetta live on a barge in the river Seine. Michele watches as the stevedores finish their work for the day. As they walk past the barge, Giorgetta has a private conversation with Luigi. (a stevedore with whom she is having an affair) Giorgetta plans a secret meeting for late that night. Michele watches, but says nothing. He is convinced that his wife is having an affair. Later that evening, Luigi mistakes the light from Michele’s pipe as a sign from Giorgetta. As Luigi boards the barge, he encounters Michelle who strangles him to death. After he has killed Luigi, Michele hides the body under a cloak. (un tabarro) When Giorgetta comes home, Michele removes the cloak, revealing her lover’s dead body.

Track List:
01. O Michele? Michele? (7:29)
02. Dunque, che cosa credi? (3:41)
03. O eterni innamorati, buona sera! (3:18)
04. To’! guarda la mia vecchia! (1:21)
05. Hai ben ragione (2:36)
06. Ho sognato una casetta (6:26)
07. O Luigi! Luigi! (2:49)
08. Dimmi: perché gli hai chiesto (3:52)
09. Come è difficile esser felici! (9:58)
10. Nulla! Silenzio! (3:03)
11. T’ho colto! (1:54)
12. Avevo ben ragione (2:00)

The Players:

Stereo, DDD, mp3, 320 kbps, 117.83 Mb, 48:27 minutes. Covers, info & synopsis included.

Part1 —–   Part2

Giacomo Puccini – Gianni Schicchi

Giacomo Puccini – Gianni Schicchi

Recorded in Belgium, 1993.

About this Opera:
Gianni Schicchi is an opera in one act by Giacomo Puccini to an Italian libretto by Giovacchino Forzano, based on a story that is referred to in Dante’s The Divine Comedy. It is the third of the trio of operas known as Il trittico. Its first performance was at the Metropolitan Opera in 1918. The opera is best known for the soprano aria, O mio babbino caro (Oh, my dear papa), which has featured in a number of  movies and other works.
Gianni Schicchi was first performed at the Metropolitan Opera on December 14, 1918 with the other two operas of Il trittico. It premiered in Rome on January 11, 1919 and eventually became the most frequently performed of the three one-act operas that make up Il trittico.
In September 2008, film director Woody Allen made his operatic debut with Gianni Schicchi. The production starred baritone Sir Thomas Allen, soprano Laura Tatulescu and tenor Saimir Pirgu. The role of the deceased Buoso Donati was played by comic actor Brently Heilbron.

Track List:
01. Povero Buoso! (3:36)
02. O Simone? (3:47)
03. Ai mei cugini Zita e Simone (2:53)
04. Dunque era vero! (2:17)
05. E non c’é nessun mezzo (2:15)
06. Firenze e come un albero fiorito (2:35)
07. Quale aspetto sgomento e desolato! (3:29)
08. O Mio Babbino Caro (2:08)
09. Datemi il testamento! (1:54)
10. Nessuno sa che Buoso ha reso il fiato? (3:08)
11. Era uguale la voce? (2:51)
12. A me i poderi di Fuccechio (2:26)
13. Ecco la cappelina! (3:03)
14. Prima un avvertimento (2:15)
15. Ecco il notaro (8:43)
16. Ladro! (1:14)
17. Lauretta mia, staremo sempre qui (2:33)

The Players:

Stereo, DDD, mp3, 320 kbps, 122.46 Mb, 51:076 minutes. Covers, info & synopsis included.

Part1 —–   Part2

Giacomo Puccini – La Rondine

Giacomo Puccini – La Rondine

Recorded in London in 1983.

About the Opera:
La rondine (The Swallow) is an opera in three acts by Giacomo Puccini to an Italian libretto by Giuseppe Adami, based on a libretto by Alfred Maria Willner and Heinz Reichert. It was first performed at the Grand Théâtre de Monte Carlo (or the Théâtre du Casino) in Monte Carlo on 27 March 1917.
In autumn 1913 Puccini was the most revered living opera composer in the world, as the directors of Vienna’s Carltheater commissioned him to compose a Viennese operetta. After confirming that it could take the form of a comic opera with no spoken dialogue in the style of Rosenkavalier, “only more entertaining and more organic,”[1] he agreed. For two years the work proceeded, sometimes intensely, sometimes with great difficulty, and in spring 1916 the opera was finished. The originally intended Viennese première was impeded by the outbreak of the World War I and the entrance of Italy in the Alliance against Austria-Hungary, hence the Opéra de Monte-Carlo was chosen to present it, with Gilda Dalla Rizza and Tito Schipa in the leading roles.
In Italy, Puccini offered the work to his editor Tito Ricordi who declined to buy it, thus Ricordi’s rival, Renzo Sonzogno, obtained the rights and moved the première to neutral Monegass territory. At the première in Monte-Carlo in 1917 the initial reception by the public and press was warm. However, despite the artistic value of the score La rondine has been one of Puccini’s less successful works; “In box office terms, [it] was the poor cousin to the other great hits”.[1] There is no established final version of it, Puccini being dissatisfied, as often, with the result of his work; he revised it many times to the point of making three versions (1917, 1920, 1921), with two completely different endings, but died before clearly deciding on a final version. The second version was premiered at Teatro Massimo, Palermo in 1920, whereas the third was not heard until 1994 in Turin. Moreover, a fire at Casa Sonzogno archives caused by Allied bombing during the war destroyed parts of the score which had to be restored based on the surviving vocal-piano arrangements. The orchestration of the third version was finally completed in authentic Puccinian style by Italian composer Lorenzo Ferrero at the request of Teatro Regio di Torino and subsequently performed there on 22 March 1994.
The modern day performance history of La rondine in Europe includes the première of the third version at Teatro Regio di Torino (1994), as well as performances at La Scala (1994), Leeds Opera North (1994, 2001), Oper Bonn and Ludwigshaven State Opera House (1995), Teatro del Giglio in Lucca (1998), Teatro Filarmonico di Verona (2002), Kansallisooppera, Helsinki (2002, 2003, 2007), Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, London (2002, 2005), Théâtre du Châtelet, Paris (2005), Opéra de Monte-Carlo (2007), and La Fenice in Venice where it was the opening title of the 2008 season. In the US, major productions were seen at the Washington National Opera (1998), Los Angeles Opera (2000, 2008), Atlanta Opera (2002), the Boston Lyric Opera (2003), New York City Opera (2005), Dallas Opera (2007), San Francisco Opera (2007), Sarasota Opera (2008) and the New York Metropolitan Opera (2008). The 31 December 2008 performance at the Metropolitan Opera with Angela Gheorghiu as Magda was the company’s first staging of the work in 70 years. The matinee performance on 10 January 2009 was broadcast in HD to movie theaters and schools throughout the USA. The Met used a joint production of the Royal Opera House and the Théâtre du Capitole de Toulouse directed by Nicolas Joël. Following its premiere at the Royal Opera House in 2002, the Joël production was seen at the Théâtre du Châtelet, and San Francisco Opera before coming to the Met. Angela Gheorghiu had also sung the role of Magda in the production’s 2002 premiere and 2005 revival at the Royal Opera House and in the 2007 performances at San Francisco Opera.

Act 1 – At a cocktail party in Magda’s salon, Prunier declares that love is in the air. He begins singing his latest song, which Magda completes (Aria: “Chi il bel sogno di Doretta”). She explains that as the kept woman of Rambaldo, she does not know true love; she recalls her youth, her aunt, and a young student she met and loved briefly (Aria: “Ore dolci e divine”). The young man Ruggero enters with an introduction for Rambaldo and asks where is the best place to spend an evening in Paris. The guests agree it is Bullier’s. After the guests leave, Prunier returns in secret to escort the maid Lisette to that cabaret. Later, Magda, on a whim, disguises herself and also goes.
Act 2 – At Bullier’s, everyone is singing and dancing. Magda meets Ruggero, and they dance and fall in love. Lisette recognizes Magda, but Prunier tells her she is mistaken. At the table, Lisette confesses to borrowing Magda’s clothing and jewelry. Rambaldo enters, and Magda quietly has Prunier hide Ruggero. Rambaldo demands an explanation, and she explains that this is true love. She wants to stay with Ruggero and leave him. After Rambaldo leaves, Ruggero returns, and the couple confesses their love.
Act 3 – Magda and Ruggero are living in a cottage by the sea. He has no idea how they will pay their mounting bills and he tells her that he has written to his parents for permission to marry her (Aria: “Dimmi che vuoi seguirmi”). Magda is deeply touched, but knows that she can never marry him because of her past. Prunier and Lisette arrive. She has had a disastrous and brief career as an actress, constantly criticized by Prunier; she begs for her job back, and Magda consents. Prunier delivers the message that Rambaldo wants her back, and tells her that she cannot maintain a life here. Ruggero returns with the letter permitting the marriage, but Magda finally tells all to Ruggero. Like a swallow, she flies back to Rambaldo, leaving Ruggero heart-broken.
Alternate Ending – In an alternate ending, as staged by companies such as the Washington National Opera and the Los Angeles Opera (following research[3] by and under the direction of Marta Domingo), Ruggero receives a letter from his mother telling him that she is not really Paulette but Magda, the mistress of Rambaldo. He is angered and asks who she is and why she lied to him. She says that she thought he could save her from the life she was leading. He leaves her, and distraught she looks to the seas saying she will fly to the sea like the swallow. She walks into the sea to drown herself as the curtain comes down.

Track List:

01. Act I (38:20)
02. Act II (29:44)
01. Act III (35:16)

The Players:

Stereo, ADD, mp3, 320 kbps, 244.47 Mb, 1 hour 54 minutes. Covers & info included.

Part1 —–   Part2 —–   Part3

Giacomo Puccini – La Bohème

Giacomo Puccini – La Bohème

Recorded in England on May 1979.

About the Opera:
La bohème is an opera in four acts by Giacomo Puccini to an Italian libretto by Luigi Illica and Giuseppe Giacosa, based on Scènes de la vie de bohème by Henri Murger. The world première performance of La bohème was in Turin on February 1, 1896 at the Teatro Regio (now the Teatro Regio Torino) and conducted by the young Arturo Toscanini. Since then La bohème has become part of the standard Italian opera repertory and is one of the most frequently performed operas internationally.

Puccini began composing snippets of La bohème in the autumn of 1892 but was slow in his progress to seriously tackle the project, partly because he had not yet definitely given up his idea of an opera based on Giovanni Verga’s La lupa and partly because he spent much of the next two years travelling all over Europe to supervise performances of Manon Lescaut. By the end of June 1893 Illica and Giacosa had already completed a libretto which was organized into four acts and five scenes: the Bohemians’ garret and the Café Momus (Act 1), the Barrière d’Enfer (Act 2), the courtyard of Musetta’s house (Act 3) and Mimì’s death in the garret (Act 4). Giacosa felt confident that the libretto was completed and announced in the columns of the Gazzetta musicale di Milano that the text was ready for setting to music. His statement was premature as Puccini and Ricordi required further revisions to the courtyard and Barrière scenes. Unhappy with this response, Giacosa eventually threatened to withdraw from the project in October 1893 but was persuaded by Ricordi to remain. In the winter of 1893–4, Puccini insisted on jettisoning the courtyard scene and with it Mimì’s desertion of Rodolfo for a rich ‘Viscontino’ only to return to the poet in the final act. Both Illica and Giacosa strongly objected to this decision, but Illica finally proposed a solution whereby the last act, instead of opening with Mimì already on her deathbed as originally planned, would begin with a scene for the four Bohemians similar to that of Act 1, while Mimì’s absence would be the subject of an aria by Rodolfo. The aria became a duet, but otherwise Illica’s scheme was adopted in all essentials. During 1894, Illica and Giacosa further revised the two self-descriptions of Rodolfo and Mimì’ in Act 1 and their duet “O soave fanciulla”. There was also a considerable amount of conflict between the librettists and composer over the Café Momus scene, which was an invention of Puccini’s and not based in Murger. At this point the scene was envisaged as a finale to Act 1 and Illica wanted to eliminate it. However, Puccini stoutly defended it and eventually, although it is unclear precisely when, the scene became Act II. Puccini also expressed his own doubts during this period about the Barriére d’Enfer, a scene that owes nothing to Murger and which the composer felt gave insufficient scope for musical development. His suggestion that they replace it with another episode from Murger’s novel was curtly refused by Illica. In the summer of 1894, having finally abandoned the La lupa project, Puccini began to seriously work on the composition of La bohème. During this time the librettists’ work consisted mostly of elimination, extending even to details on whose inclusion Puccini had originally insisted, such as a drinking song (a brindisi celebrating the virtues of water) and a diatribe against women, both allocated to Schaunard. After roughly six months of hard work, the score was completed on 10 December 1895.

Puccini initially wanted the opera’s première to take place at La Scala but the prospect was not possible since the current management of the house was publisher Edoardo Sonzogno, who made a point of excluding all Ricordi scores from the repertory. Puccini therefore decided to première the work at the Teatro Regio Torino, where Manon Lescaut had received its première three years earlier. The opera opened to much hype but the public and critical response was mixed, partly due to the comparisons with Manon Lescaut and the expectation that Puccini would continue in a similar vein. In general, reviews looked favourably upon Acts 1 and 4, but criticized Acts 2 and 3 for falling in the direction of triviality. However, the opera grew on the Italian public and productions soon rapidly spread across the nation. A performance at the Teatro Argentina, Rome, under Edoardo Mascheroni (23 February 1897) introduced Rosina Storchio as Musetta, a role in which she later excelled. A revival at the Politeama Garibaldi, Palermo (24 April 1897) under Leopoldo Mugnone included for the first time the Act 2 episode where Mimì shows off her bonnet. On this occasion Rodolfo and Mimì were played by Edoardo Garbin and Adelina Stehle (the original young lovers of Verdi’s Falstaff), who did much to make La bohème popular in southern Italy in the years that followed. Outside Italy most premières of La bohème were given in smaller theatres and in the vernacular of the country. In Paris it was first given in 1898 by the Opéra-Comique, as La vie de bohème, and achieved its 1000th performance there in 1951. After a performance at Covent Garden by the visiting Carl Rosa company in 1897 La bohème first established itself in the repertory of the Royal Italian Opera on 1 July 1899 with a cast that included Nellie Melba (Mimì), Zélie de Lussan (Musetta), Alessandro Bonci (Rodolfo), Mario Ancona (Marcello) and Marcel Journet (Colline). From then on its fortunes in Britain and America were largely associated with Melba, who was partnered, among others, by Fernando de Lucia, John McCormack, Giovanni Martinelli and, most memorably of all, Enrico Caruso. The opera premiered in the US in Los Angeles on October 14, 1897 at the New Los Angeles Theater. The initial performance was sparsely attended; less than half of the theater’s seating capacity was filled. At the time, Los Angeles had a population of around 100,000. In 1946, fifty years after the opera’s premiere, Toscanini conducted a performance of it on U.S. radio, and this performance was eventually released on records and on compact disc. It is the only recording of a Puccini opera by its original conductor (see Selected recordings below). La bohème currently appears as number 2 on Opera America’s list of the 20 most-performed operas in North America,[8] second only to Madama Butterfly, also composed by Puccini. Today La bohème remains,with Tosca and Madama Butterfly, one of the central pillars of the Italian repertory.

Track List:
01. Questo Mar Rosso (4:17)
02. Pensier profondo! (1:04)
03. Abbasso, abbasso l’autor! (3:51)
04. Si puo? … Chi e la? (5:06)
05. Io resto (1:06)
06. Chi e la? (1:10)
07. Si sente meglio? (2:29)
08. Che gelida manina (4:46)
09. Si. Mi chiamano Mimi (4:52)
10. Ehi! Rodolfo! (0:45)
11. O soave fanciulla (4:21)
12. Aranci, datteri! (2:47)
13. Chi guardi? Ecco i giocattoli di Parpignol (3:16)
14. Viva Parpignol – Una cuffietta a pizzi (2:10)
15. Beviam! (3:24)
16. Quando m’en vo (4:59)
17. Caro! – Fuori il danaro! (2:07)
01. Ohe, la, le guardie…Aprite! (3:39)
02. Sa dirmi, scusi (1:32)
03. Mimi! – Rodolfo m’ama e mi fugge (4:48)
04. Marcello, Finalmaente! (1:13)
05. Mimi e una civette (1:25)
06. Mimi e tanto malata! (3:18)
07. Donde lieta usci (3:18)
08. Addio, dolce svegliare (5:35)
09. In un coupe? (1:23)
10. O Mimi, tu piu non torni – Che ora sia (5:30)
11. Gavotta (1:46)
12. C’e Mimi (5:55)
13. Vecchia zimarra, senti (2:12)
14. Sono andati? (5:55)
15. Oh Dio! Mimi! (2:45)
16. Che ha detto il medico? (3:04)

The Artists:

Stereo, ADD, mp3, 320 kbps, 257.14 Mb, 1 hour 46 minutes. Covers, info & synopsis included.

Part1 —–   Part2 —–   Part3

Giacomo Puccini – Manon Lescaut

Giacomo Puccini – Manon Lescaut

Recorded at Brent Town Hall Studio, Abbey Road, London, between July and December, 1971.

About the Opera:
Manon Lescaut is an opera in four acts by Giacomo Puccini. The story is based on the 1731 novel L’histoire du chevalier des Grieux et de Manon Lescaut by the Abbé Prévost. The libretto is in Italian. It was somehow cobbled together by five librettists whom Puccini employed (or went through): Ruggero Leoncavallo, Marco Praga, Giuseppe Giacosa, Domenico Oliva and Luigi Illica. The publisher, Giulio Ricordi, and the composer himself also contributed to the libretto. So confused was the authorship of the libretto that no one was credited on the title page of the original score. Puccini took some musical elements in Manon Lescaut from earlier works he had written. For example, the madrigal Sulla vetta tu del monte from Act II echoes the Agnus Dei from his 1880 Messa a quattro voci. Other elements of Manon Lescaut come from his compositions for strings: the quartet Crisantemi (January 1890), three Menuets (probably 1884) and a Scherzo (1883?). The love theme comes from the aria Mentia l’avviso (1883).
Puccini’s publisher, Ricordi, had been against any project based on Prévost’s story, because Massenet had already made it into a successful opera, Manon, in 1884. While Puccini and Ricordi may not have known it, the French composer, Daniel Auber, had also already written an opera on the same subject with the title, Manon Lescaut, in 1856. Despite all the warnings, Puccini proceeded. “Manon is a heroine I believe in and therefore she cannot fail to win the hearts of the public. Why shouldn’t there be two operas about Manon? A woman like Manon can have more than one lover.” He added, “Massenet feels it as a Frenchman, with powder and minuets. I shall feel it as an Italian, with a desperate passion.” The first performance of Manon Lescaut took place in the Teatro Regio in Turin in 1893. It was Puccini’s third opera and his first great success.

Track List:
01. Ave, sera gentile (5:11)
02. Tra voi, belle, brune e bionde (1:24)
03. Ma bravo! (1:45)
04. Discendono, vediam! (1:00)
05. Cortese damigella, il priego mio accettate (5:12)
06. Donna non vivdi mai (2:24)
07. La tua ventura ci rassicura (6:18)
08. La tue proserpina di resisterti (2:05)
09. Vedete?, Io son fedele alla parola mia (4:26)
10. Un libertino audace (2:49)
11. Cavalli pronti avete? (2:55)
12. Dispettosetto questo riccio! (2:35)
13. Sei splendida e lucente! (2:42)
14. In quelle trine morbide (2:16)
15. Poichè tu vuoi saper (2:56)
16. Che ceffi son costor? (1:57)
17. Paga costor! (1:13)
18. Vi prego, signorina (8:11)
01. Oh, sarò la più bella! (8:03)
02. AH!… Affè, madamigella (3:10)
03. Ah, Manon, mi tradisce (2:36)
04. Lescaut? Tu qui? (3:18)
05. Intermezzo (4:46)
06. Ansia eterna, crudel (2:32)
07. Manon!… Des Grieux! (4:12)
08. All’armi! All’armi! (0:59)
09. Il passo m’aprite (0:39)
10. Rosetta (3:29)
11. Presto! In fila! Marciate! (0:44)
12. Ah, non v’avvicinate ! Como io piango ed imploro (3:11)
13. Tutta su me ti posa (2:47)
14. Manon, senti, amor mio … Vedi, son io che piango (3:41)
15. E nulla ! Nulla ! (2:34)
16. Sola, perduta, abbandonata (11:50)

The Artists:

stereo, ADD, mp3, 320 kbps, 1 hour 55 minutes. Covers, info & synopsis included.

Part1 —–   Part2 —–   Part3