If you are an opera lover and don’t own this…or don’t grab it, you are everything you want, but not an opera lover
# Composer: Vincenzo Bellini, Georg Friedrich Händel, Gioacchino Rossini, Thomas Arne, Charles Gounod, Giuseppe Verdi, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Leo Delibes, Giacomo Meyerbeer, Ambroise Thomas
# Performer: Joan Sutherland
# Orchestra: Royal Opera House Orchestra, Covent Garden
# Conductor: Francesco Molinari-Pradelli
# Vinyls (1960)
# Number of Discs: 2
# Format: FLAC
# Label: Decca
# DR-Analysis: DR 13
# ASIN: B00004XQ8G
# Size: 2.25 GB
# Scan: yes
# Server: FileFactory
In February 1959, an unknown (well, comparatively) Australian singer appeared at Covent Garden in Franco Zeffirelli’s new production of Lucia di Lammermoor and took the world by storm. The following year, Joan Sutherland went into the studio to record this reissued tribute to prima donnas of previous generations, illustrating along the way the bel canto tradition of which she was to become a leading exponent. The 16 excerpts on this double album include several roles she had already sung or was on the verge of singing, from Gilda in Rigoletto, which she had sung at Covent Garden before her Lucia debut, to Norma. What a performance! The voice is fresh, remarkable in its beauty, and she makes it all sound so effortless, tossing off Handel’s “Let the bright Seraphim” or the Jewel aria from Gounod’s Faust as if they’re the easiest things in the world. This sparkling selection of glorious singing demonstrates just why Sutherland was to remain at the top of her profession for the next 30 years and join those to whom she here pays tribute as one of the great singers of all time. –Richard Fawkes
This is a true legendary recording, containing some of the most difficult arias written for the coloratura soprano. Joan Sutherland the vocal Paganini, handling all the vocal challenges with the utmost ease. Her trill is an actual spinning of two notes so fast that it appeared to be a single note. The Prima Donna’s fioritura singing is absolutely accurate and precise, and she meets all staccati and arpeggios with complete confidence and ease. The voice is quite large, a dramatic soprano, in reality. Thus we have the Brunhilde size top notes. But of course no Brunhilde had Sutherland’s amazing range from bottom G to an easy high F three octives above. But most remarkable are how “open” her high notes are. They almost appeared “chest tone”, that’s how enormous they are. And lucky us for us, there are countless high D’s E’s and F’s in this recording.
Dame Joan handles the extreme high tessitura of “The Soldier tir’d” and “Martern aller Arten” as if it were child’s play. She interpolates high note after high note, making each aria a showpiece for her ample voice. Also remarkable is the beautiful tone quality of her soprano. Bight and clear, with no strain whatever. There’s seemingly nothing that Sutherland couldn’t do vocally. Another favorite here is the extremely embellished “Bel raggio lusinghier” with three high F’s. Malibran would have been jealous… Also mind-boggling is the “O beau pays de la Touraine!”, with colortura so dazzling that you really must hear it to believe it. The “Care compagne…come per me sereno..Sovra il sen” is a lesson in the art of bel canto singing, every aspect of the coloratura’s art is shown there. Another highlight is the mad scene from Hamlet, with Sutherland singing with great beauty and stage presence, making you forget how impossibly difficult the vocal line is. Actually, they’re all highlights in this double album.
This is one of my favorite recording in my collection of over 4,000 records and CDs. I bought both volumes about 1980 (sold them among other records last Xmas, absolutely listened to death, therefor I never had the courage to rip them…until someone asked for it, some days ago. So I bought a brand new Mint copy by Speakers Corner, that I play here for the 1st time) and have never heard anything like it, and don’t expect to hear anything like it again in my lifetime, that’s how special this is…a must have for every opera lover.
Analyzed folder: /96k Joan Sutherland – The Art Of The Primadonna 1-2
DR Peak RMS Filename
DR11 -2.19 dB -18.57 dB A1 Arne – Artaxerxes – The Soldier Tir’d.wav
DR13 -2.18 dB -18.76 dB A2 Haendel – Samson – Let The Bright Seraphim.wav
DR13 -0.52 dB -19.23 dB A3 Bellini – Norma – Recitativo and Casta Diva.wav
DR11 -4.06 dB -20.13 dB A4 Bellini – I Puritani – Son Vergin Vezzosa.wav
DR11 -1.62 dB -18.86 dB B1 Rossini – Semiramide – Bel Raggio Lusinghier.wav
DR13 -2.56 dB -22.44 dB B2 Bellini – I Puritani – Qui La Voce.wav
DR13 -0.68 dB -20.73 dB B3 Bellini – La Sonnambula – Recitativo and Come Per Me Sereno.wav
DR12 -2.45 dB -20.18 dB B4 Gounod – Faust – The Jewel Song.wav
DR12 -2.63 dB -20.17 dB C1 Gounod – Romeo et Juliette – The Waltz Song.wav
DR15 -1.29 dB -23.27 dB C2 Verdi – Otello – The Willow Song.wav
DR12 -0.56 dB -17.47 dB C3 Mozart – Die Enfuehrung Aus Dem Serail – Marten Aller Arten.wav
DR11 -1.90 dB -18.94 dB C4 Verdi – La Traviata – Ah, Forse E’ Lui…Sempre Libera.wav
DR12 -1.17 dB -19.83 dB D1 Thomas – Hamlet – The Mad Scene.wav
DR15 -0.97 dB -22.77 dB D2 Meyerbeer- Les Huguenottes – O Beau Pays.wav
DR13 -0.68 dB -19.72 dB D3 Delibes- Lakme – The Bell Song.wav
DR13 -5.41 dB -23.39 dB D4 Verdi – Rigoletto – Recitativo and Caro Nome.wav
Number of files: 16
Official DR value: DR13
- RCM: Okki Nokki
- TT: Clearaudio Champion Level II
- Cartridge: Sumiko Black Bird
- Phono stage: Pro-Ject Phono Box RS
- ADC/DAC: RME Fireface UC
- Pre Amp: Unison Research Unico Pre (Tube)
- Finals: Opera Consonance 9.9 Mono (Tube)
- Speakers: Dali Helikon 400
- Connections: MIT Terminator, Audioquest Emerald, Audioquest Quartz
- Software: iZotope RX Advanced v2.02, Adobe Audition CS 5.5, Twisted Wave 1.9
- Light de-Clicking with ClickRepair, significant clicks manually removing, no De-Noising
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.
- 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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