Many thanks to our friend Jean-Luc for this gem
This is a very beautiful and dramatic opera, and the cast is first-rate, singing their respective parts with unrivaled technical mastership and dramatic abilities. Placido Domingo and Mirella Freni as the lovers Manon and Des Grieux suffuse their singing with a measure of beautiful Puccini lyricism and verisimo power. They give strong performances and to me, they never falter. By the finale, I was in tears. Domingo is passionate, tormented and Freni is dramatic, full of despair. Their voices escalate to such an unbelievable height of glory it’s breathtaking. If you’re a fan of Mirella Freni and Placido Domingo, this is by far their best collaboration.
# Composer: Giacomo Puccini
# Performer: Mirella Freni, Placido Domingo, Renato Bruson
# Orchestra – London Philarmonia Orchestra
# Conductor – Giuseppe Sinopoli
# Vinyl (1984)
# Number of Discs: 3
# Format: Flac
# Label: DGG
# DR-Analysis: DR: 18
# Size: 2.42 GB
# Scan: yes
# Server: FileFactory
This is the GREATEST recording of this wonderful opera, my favorite Puccini. Domingo said, in his biography, that this is the most melodic of all Puccini operas and, indeed, it probably is! The casting is very luxurious.
Mirella Freni was born to play Manon Lescaut and her performances of the lighter Massenet Manon earlier in her career gives her more understanding of the character than anyone else. Her singing is delicate in the opening act, very sweet, and creamy of voice. In the following acts, she vividly responds to the changing character, always developing and growing stronger and stronger until the very dramatic death scene. She really tears up the scene, verismo style and I have one hell of a time listening to it. In my mind, she only had one rival in “voice-acting” and that woman is Beverly Sills. Freni (and Sills) also offer one of the best soprano chest registers that I have ever heard. The dramatic love duet with Domingo gives me shivers…..probably the sexiest piece of composing and singing in all of opera. The following two acts are absolutely heart breaking. Freni gives so much (as does Domingo) that you wonder how she could possibly finish this sort of performance with any voice left. This is truly a magnificent achievement.
Domingo is thrilling in the role of Des Grieux. Like Freni, he was Massenet’s hero before he took on this most difficult of Puccini tenor parts. His singing is glorious. Occasional high notes are not always totally comfortable but always thrillingly projected. He is also warm and delicate in the first act, highly provocative and, like Freni, progresses in strength to the end of the work with intensity and drama that, similarly, makes me wonder how he can sustain that level and end in fresh voice!!!!! He is, on high notes, a bit drowned by Freni’s voice. Anyone who thinks she has a smaller voice should listen to this. Her top is HUGE and she does not bottom out like the undramatic Te Kanawa. She sings with deep chest tones to match Domingo’s ample lower register. I heard her and Domingo in Fedora in Washington D.C and both voices were huge, but Freni’s a size larger. She has paced her roles well and developed them as her voice developed. She emerged to be a great spinto-dramatic soprano, having sung almost the entire mainstream, non-Germanic opera throughout her career.
As for Bruson, he is magnificent as Lescaut. He may not project youth as much as Croft in Freni’s other recording, but the voice is sheer vocal velvet, the most beautiful baritone voice I have ever heard. It is dark, voluptuous and dramatic. I love this guy! It is sheer luxury to have Fassbaender singing the madrigal in the second act.
As conductor, the late Sinopoli is superlative. His reading is, at time, slower than his rivals, but he brings out the intensity of the score more than any. He knows exactly how to time the drama (as in Tosca) and he pulls breathtaking playing from his orchestra.
Analyzed folder: /96k Puccini – Manon Lescaut – Freni, Domingo, Sinopoli
DR Peak RMS Filename
DR19 -1.05 dB -26.58 dB sideA.wav
DR18 -1.36 dB -25.15 dB sideB.wav
DR19 -0.82 dB -27.00 dB sideC.wav
DR16 -0.54 dB -22.62 dB sideD.wav
DR17 -0.52 dB -23.95 dB sideE.wav
DR17 -0.90 dB -24.46 dB sideF.wav
Number of files: 6
Official DR value: DR18
- Choir [Madrigale] – Elizabeth Sikora, Elizabeth Stanford, Iris Saunders, Jean Tredaway
- Chorus Master – Nina Walker
- Composed By – Giacomo Puccini
- Conductor – Giuseppe Sinopoli
- Coordinator – Claudia Hamann
- Engineer [Recording] – Klaus Hiemann
- Libretto By – Domencio Oliva, Giulio Ricordi, Giuseppe Giacosa, Luigi Illica, Marco Praga
- Liner Notes [English] – Mosco Carner
- Liner Notes [French] – Silviane Falcinelli
- Liner Notes [German] – Jürgen Maehder
- Musical Assistance – Paul Wynne Griffiths
- Producer – Günther Breest
- Recording Supervisor – Wolfgang Stengel
- Vocals [Edmondo, Studente] – Robert Gambill
- Vocals [Geronte Di Ravoir, Tesoriere Generale] – Kurt Rydl
- Vocals [Il Cavaliere Renato Des Grieux, Studente] – Placido Domingo
- Vocals [Il Maestro Di Ballo] – John Fryatt
- Vocals [L’Oste] – George Macpherson
- Vocals [Lescaut, Sergente Delle Guardie Del Re] – Renato Bruson
- Vocals [Manon Lescaut] – Mirella Freni
- Vocals [Sergente Degli Arcieri] – Handel Thomas
- Vocals [Un Comandante Di Marina] – John Tomlinson (2)
- Vocals [Un Lampionaio] – Mark Curtis (2)
- Vocals [Un Musico (Voce Sola)] – Brigitte Fassbaender
- Vocals [Un Sergente] – Paschal Allen
- RCM: Okki Nokki (L’art du son, Clearaudio’s Diamond Cleaner)
- TT: Vintage (1982) Yamaha PX-3
- Cartridge: Sumiko Black Bird
- Phono amp: Pro-Ject Phono Box RS
- ADC/DAC: RME Fireface UC
- Pre Amp: Große Vorstufe, Erste Frankfurter Röhrenmanufaktur (Tube)
- Finals: Opera Consonance 9.9 Mono (Tube)
- Speakers: Dali Helikon 400
- Connections: MIT Terminator, Audioquest Emerald, Audioquest Quartz
If You hear some clicks and pops here and there, Who cares?
Id rather have a few light anomalies instead of destroying the music.
Enjoy the music, not the ticks & pops.
I tend more and more, in the last time, to de-click with an automatic setting between 0.7 and 1.2 so you can say, my rips are like half rough rips.
- Software: iZotope RX 4 Advanced, Adobe Audition CS 5.5, Twisted Wave 1.9
- Very light de-clicking with iZotope, significant clicks manually removing, no de-noising
- DR-Analisys before converting to Flac
- Converting Wave -> Flac: Twisted Wave 1.9
- Artwork: Sony Alpha 350, Epson Perfection V750 Pro, Photoshop CS 5.5
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