Decca pays tribute to Joan Sutherland - "La Stupenda" to her numerous fans - with a limited-edition 23-CD set of her complete studio recitals. Joan Sutherland shot to international fame in February1959 when she sang the title role in Lucia di Lammermoor at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, and a month later she recorded her first solo album in Paris for Decca - the start of an exclusive association that would last until her retirement from the operatic stage on 31 December 1990. This is the first time all of Joan Sutherland's studio recitals have been made available in a single collection and the set is released in time for what would have been the diva's 85th birthday on 7 November; October 10 marks the first anniversary of her death. The CDs are presented in sleeves with original cover art a 48-page booklet contains an appreciation of Joan Sutherland by opera wrter and critic George Hall.
This 1966 recording, billed as the first complete Semiramide on disc, with Joan Sutherland singing Semiramide and Marilyn Horne singing the trouser role Arsace, has long been considered the standard by which all other Semiramide's are measured. Although subsequently there have been more complete recordings, this remains among the best recorded performance and is a recommendation for every opera collection.
For her first collaboration with the period ensemble Il Giardino Armonico, violinist Isabelle Faust performs the five Violin Concertos of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, along with three shorter concertante works. This is an extraordinary set, for the historically informed performances, the polished sound of the group, the almost palpable presence of the players, which Harmonia Mundi has captured with superior engineering, and for the unrepressed joy in the music. Faust is the center of attention, naturally, and her refined and expressive playing immediately pulls the listener in. These are far from the most demanding concertos in the repertoire, so Faust is less concerned with technical execution than with conveying the pure feeling of the music, which is delightfully buoyant and uplifting. Under the direction of Giovanni Antonini, the group provides warm and sparkling accompaniment that gives Faust all the support she needs, but there's no doubt that she sets the emotional tone for these exquisite recordings. Highly recommended, especially for devotees of Classical style at its finest.
Considered by many music historians as one of the most important group out of Germany, Faust were certainly ahead of their time. They took their music to unsuspecting heights somewhere in between Can, Velvet Underground, Neu, LA Dusseldorf or Henry Cow but also much farther and can be considered as founding fathers of the Industrial Rock. Having made their debut in 71 in Hamburg, Faust will never stop their groundbreaking and will be always one step ahead of everybody else including the groups above mentioned and are the prime example of Rock In Opposition (RIO) along with Henry Cow. Faust is definitely not for the faint-hearted person and can only be recommended in small doses because it is very dangerous for the sanity of the average proghead.
Sir Simon Rattle leads the London Symphony Orchestra and a world-class line-up of soloists in a new recording of Berlioz’s unique La damnation de Faust.
I can´t believe this recording isn´t in the catalogue anymore ,Montserrat Caballé , Giacomo Aragall and Paul Plishka , et al are fantastic . Anyone who owns this recording surely understands my enthusiasm about it .
Bellini’s penultimate opera – written for La Fenice, Venice, in 1833 – has never enjoyed the popularity of such works as La sonnambula, Norma and I puritani. Listening to this vintage Joan Sutherland recording dating from 1966, it is hard to fathom why. The story is strong and stirring – a sort of cross between Maria Stuarda and La Gioconda – and offers fine roles for the wronged titular heroine, her villainous husband Filippo, her platonic admirer Orombello and his would-be mistress, Agnese del Maino (a Princess Eboli avant la lettre). How odd that Sutherland never managed to persuade Covent Garden to mount it for her, especially with this glorious cast. The Decca set is historic because it offered the legendary Sutherland/Pavarotti collaboration for the first time on disc. Luciano is wonderfully stylish here, elegant and ringing: Nureyev, vocally-speaking, to Sutherland’s Fonteyn. La Stupenda was going through one of her ‘moony’, muddy-diction phases, but the vocalism is quite dazzling. It’s a joy to encounter Josephine Veasey in her only commercially recorded Italian role: velvet-toned, shining, she is Sutherland’s most lustrous mezzo rival in any bel canto recording. (BBC MUSIC MAGAZINE)