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  • Puccini: Tosca
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Masterworks

Puccini: Tosca

Masterworks

Puccini: Tosca

£66.00 £40.00 Save: (39.39%)
£40.00 £66 Save £26 (39.39%)
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A Fabulous Tosca From The Met's Second Golden AgeThis recording is self-recommending on its face. Listen to it but once and you'll assign it to your "desert island" pile.The performance is white hot, with the leads all at their finest. Cornell MacNeill is the Scarpia of one's dreams. The voice is huge and open. He dominates his scenes throughout the opera. The high notes are simply beautiful. But it doesn't end there. MacNeill's characterization of Scarpia is well-nigh perfect as he shifts from bully to cultured nobleman. His vocal color after ordering an end to Cavaradossi's torture is a perfect example, as the *assassino* morphs into the noble who was perhaps "forced" (not really) to go about the ugly parts of his job. Set alongside MacNeill, Tito Gobbi's Scarpia is definitely a poor-man's bowl of weak gruel.Leontyne Price as Tosca is marvelous. The singing is beautiful and technically secure. She brings a humanity to Tosca while maintaining her diva airs. That is until she kills Scarpia and later, when she realizes Mario has actually been killed. No wonder the audience goes crazy for her!Franco Corelli's Cavaradossi is to die for, though even he must bow to his 1957 Covent Garden appearance in terms of technical display and vocal beauty. Nevertheless, this is top-drawer singing the likes of which we will not be hearing any time soon on any opera stage in the world.This performance comes from an era when artists gave their all, where they stood and delivered the vocal end of the equation operatic in a way that stirred emotions from the most-organic spots in the human psyche. The audience this night was treated to vocal magic, and we are lucky to be able to hear it for ourselves, even being one step removed.Kurt Adler's conducting is alive to every nuance in the score and every choice made by his singers in the heat of the moment. It is masterful conducting that can stand with anything available.I would give this recording 10 stars were the option available. It's that great.Highly recommended!5A Thrilling Record of a Live MET PerformancePrice commercially recorded Tosca twice and both are vibrant, wonderful performances. However, listening to her sing the part live with superb co-singers of that time, despite less than high quality sound, is an extraordinary event unto itself. ELL WORTH PURCHASING DESPITE PEDES4INCOMPARABLE!!!!!!THE GREAT TOSCA, LEONTYNE PRICE AT THE VERY BEGINING OF A LONG AND FLAWLESS CAREER. A VOICE THAT TRULY DOES NOT HAPPEN ONLY RARELY. THAT IT IS IN ENGLISH FOR THE NBC OPERA OF THE 50"S AT A TIME WHEN A WOMAN AN AFRICAN AMERICAN WOULD BE GIVEN THIS GREAT ROLE TO BREAK OPEN THE RACIAL EXCLUSION IS A GREAT TESTAMENT TO HER TALENT AND FAITH IN THE AMERICAN DREAM........5the cast listing says it allWhen we compare the singing on this live radio broadcast performance to what we hear now, it is incredible that we once took this kind of singing for granted. No one today can soar as confidently into those high Cs with as much gorgeous tone as Leontyne Price, here in absolutely prime. When most sopranos are still warming up in act one, she is flooding our ears with that voice - and lots of fire, too. Franco Corelli recorded Cavaradossi with Nilsson, but here he is even better than in the studio. The act one high B - "Or vita mi costassi" is so full and easy, it just floors us. He is even dramatically involved. Corneil MacNeil, before the bass-baritones got hold of Scarpia, is wonderfully menacing. He, too, is rock solid. The rest of the cast is standard issue Met of the 60s, which is to say fabulous.Does the sound show its age or origin? Yes. But who cares? This shows us what Tosca can be without editing between takes. Wow!5The Met finally opens its vaults, in glorious soundTo begin with a correction of Sony's description, and as other reviewers have already pointed out, this performance has been available for some years in what I have always considered good sound, on MYTO, at about twice the oprice of this issue; and possibly on other labels as well. Sony asserts that this is the "first release on CD" which is inaccurate; but it is the first "official" commercial release, and the sound, pretty good to start with, has been restored in a way I consider to be a meaningful improvement. And it is an exciting performance, with Price in uninhibited and voluptuous voice, Corelli at his peak, and MacNeil in splendid form as well. Kurt Adler knows the work and maintains firm order (not always easy with Corelli), but this is not a conductor's performance. This is a magnificent, old-fashioned, singer's afternoon, and there are very, very few commercial "Tosca" recordings that can equal it--certainly neither Price's (handicapped, sadly, by Di Stefano) or Corelli's (undone by Dieskau's unidiomatic Scarpia and the ham-handed conducting of Maazel). If you already own the MYTO, as I do, you may well still find this sufficiently improved to buy it, especially at this very low price. If you've never heard it--buy it now.The real significance of this release--and the "Boheme", "Barbiere" and "Romeo" that accompany it--is that the Met has always hoarded these broadcasts and released only a handful as "gifts" to donors of significant contributions. Private label iterations abound, but often in compromised sound, and virtually never from original sources. If these releases sell, we can hope that the Met will find them a significant source of income and open the vaults to Sony, who, with access to the best source material available, may be able to make, as I believe they have here, significant improvements to the sound. For an idea of what the Met's vaults contain, look at Paul Jackson's 3 volume history of the broadcasts, "Saturday Afternoons at the Old Met", "Sign-Off for the Old Met", and "Startup at the New Met." Saturday Afternoons at the Old Met: The Metropolitan Opera Broadcasts, 1931-1950 (Amadeus)Start-Up at the New Met: The Metropolitan Opera Broadcasts, 1966-1976 (Amadeus)Sign-Off for the Old Met: The Metropolitan Opera Broadcasts, 1950-1966It would not surprise me at all to learn that many more recordings were made in-house that were not radio broadcasts, although I do not know this to be the case. There is no way to know what priceless treasures may exist, but the prospect is a very exciting one.5One for the AgesThis recording is perfection itself. It was recorded at a performance at the Met when both Price and Corelli were in the early stages of their great careers, and they both bring lush vocalism and good singing-acting to the performance. Corelli is passionate and a ham in the best sense of the word; you know he s holding a note way too long, but you don t care. And Leontyne Price is nothing short of exquisite; surely she had the voice of an angel. And the biggest surprise of the recording is the Scarpia, Cornell McNeill. He sings splendidly with a gorgeous tone, and yet he is the essence of evil. Adler s conducting is great, too.5Must have recordingI have a dozen or more "Tosca's", but none any better than this one. Leontyne Price, Franco Corelli and Cornell MacNeil are the finest vocal trio one could hope for. I love all my "Tosca's", but this recording really knocked me out. Highly recommended.5this CD is wonderful. Her voice makes you wonder where it's coming ...this CD is wonderful. Her voice makes you wonder where it's coming from. It makes you want to turn your head and see if she's singing to you. I first heard her voice on the radio. I was listening one morning and her voice came on the air. I was mesmerized. I knew I had to come onto Amazon and purchase her album.5Sheer gorgeousnessThis is absolutely the most gorgeously sung "Tosca" I have come across. I really did not think I would need yet another recording of "Tosca" (I already owned at least half a dozen). However just the sheer sumptuousness of both leads draws me to this recording more often than the others. Leontyne Price and Franco Corelli are absolutely irresistible together. Of course Maria Callas and Magda Olivero may offer more penetrating insight on Tosca, but neither they nor others offer as much sheer beauty and ease of vocalism as Miss Price. And what else can one say about Franco Corelli? Wow!I have no problems with the sound, although I understand the quibbles from other reviewers. But taken all together this duo combined with Cornell McNeill's commanding Scarpia overcome any minor complaints from this recording. Additionally Kurt Adler's conducting effectively moves things as they should, and he supports his well endowed singers without indulgence.In sum, despite the irresistible attractions of this set I will not necessarily get rid of my other "Tosca" recordings either, but this only shows how well Puccini wrote for his singers and the theater, that it thrives on so many interpretations.5Outstanding RecordingBought this recording based on the excellent reviews for this product - and it does not disappoint! My mother is a lifelong opera lover who brought me to the genre some years ago. She's blown away by this recording as am I. For my money, Ms. Price is the best there ever was. Will plan on purchasing more of the remasters in this series, especially if this outstanding recording is any indication at all of how good the others will be!5
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