High-End Vinyls 24/96 (Decca) Dame Joan Sutherland – The Art Of The Primadonna, Vol. 1 & 2

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


Ripping Infos

  • 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

If you like what i do, please consider that a little donation would be very appreciate. I reinvest all donations in maintenance of my rig, for purchasing cleaning solutions and, most important of all, purchasing of new vinyls.
Click on the “Donate”-button. Thank you very much !

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6 archives
PW: LaWally


28 thoughts on “High-End Vinyls 24/96 (Decca) Dame Joan Sutherland – The Art Of The Primadonna, Vol. 1 & 2

    • …it came from the heart.
      I love Joan on my knees…what a sadness her departure. I miss her badly 🙁
      The perfect soprano. Once I read, no human has ever heard that she sung a wrong note.

      • yes!i think so! she is perfect soprano,this LP containing belcanto、Baroque、French opera Etc..most famous and difficult arias,she voice is bright and smooth, thrill like the pearl,but no collection Donizetti,like o luce di quest anima 🙂 i think its a pity!

        • Hi Alf,

          Crosstalk (in english, “diaphonie” in french) is a phenomenon that produces a sort of echo, mostly due to electromagnetic induction. The question is : is it due to the Speakers Corner reissue (because using original master tapes that has been stored for too long time, for instance), or due to the original recording itself (very rare) or due to some issue in the ripping process, which I doubt. I know you know this problem that sometimes occurs with analogue. On this rip, it is quite obvious. Hope it helps.

          • Do you hear the problem that DUCCA wrote before? I must admit, I just checked all files and I do not hear it. I know this phenomenon and it is exactly as you report it. And it would make sense to think this is in this edition, because the original masters were used. But, I repeat, I do not hear anything “wrong”, listened for this purpose with headphones.

            By the way; to hear music with headphones is the greatest disgrace of all…you lose space, air, stage and you hear every little “shit” that distracts you of listening to music.

            What now?

            DUCCA, provide the two original LPs, like I had them before, and surely the problem will be resolved.

            • Hi Alf,

              I didn’t listen too much to this one for, as you know, this music isn’t really my cup of tea (except for Mozart, of course), even if I love Joan Sutherland.
              As you know also, I never listen to anything with headphones for exactly the same reasons as you. But yes, on my system, I clearly do hear the crosstalk phenomenon on this rip. It doesn’t occur everywhere, only on some tracks. Pay attention for instance to the beginning of track No. 14 (Meyerbeer). The delay is very audible and, strangely, significantly longer than the normal issue for crosstalk. Here, you can hear the “pre-echo” more than one second before the “real” sound arrives. I have the feeling that only dame Sutherland’s voice is impacted by this nasty artifact. Try to listen to the same track on the vinyl too. If the crosstalk is there too, I’m afraid there is nothing to do about this but getting the original item…

              • I think, if I don’t hear it with headphone, I will not hear it from vynil on the real equipment…But at the end, I don’t really need to hear it, to decide if it’s a issue of the vinyl or of my processing. As far as I never had a problem like this in my post-processing, it is a vinyl issue, without a doubt.

                I checked again Track D2 and now I hear it…but not only her voice. The instruments too. I set it absurdly loud to hear it. Pay attention on the first 7-8 seconda, the fingerpicking of the bass…
                Anyway, I cannot do anything, sorry…

          • I must confess another thing…and is not a joke. About 3 weeks ago I had few days some vertigos…my doc sent me to an otolaryngology. I was there few days ago…in the time the vertigo was gone, but the otolaryngology wanted to check everything anyway, among all a hearing test and the result is…I’m losing my good hearing, that made me proud long long time. I have a strong lose around 10 kHz and above of 13 kHz there is only the great big silent space 🙁

            Facit: I’m getting really old…

            oh shit, Goethe, where is your devil, when I need him for a deal?

            • 2 guys,i am so sorry ,Mr Rachmaninov,i really appraciate you,i like this lps very much like another LPs beatrice ,i have both CDs,but i think will delete it on my machine ,LPs!!!!i am looking for this long time,Onkle thank you for your help!

            • Damned…
              Loosing my hear has always been my greatest fear. I think this is the worst thing that could happen to one musician or music lover (especially when you’re not a genius to compensate, like Beethoven). I have had terrible hear problems for almost two years but it’s almost gone now. I only have to be careful about ear fatigue.
              Two things that might comfort you :

              – first, there’s no real need to be able to hear frequencies above 13 Khz to feel pleasure listening to music. You only lose some harmonics, mostly. It’s not like becoming deaf for good.

              – second is a story that told me the guy who makes the cables I use (the most incredibly good cables I’ve ever listen to – just unbelievable). One day a old gentleman came in his auditorium to listen to his cables in order to decide if he would buy them or not. They both sat on the sofa and started listening to some music. While they were listening to the music, the old monsieur started to make observation about tiny sound details that even a 20 years old fellow would have had difficulties to notice, like someone opening a door in the back of the audience during a recording of a Schumann’s symphony. Patrick, the cable maker was hugely impressed because he could barely hear it himself. Then the old gentleman revealed his secret : an audio prothesis specially designed for musicians and music lover in order to preserve the integrity and natural eloquence of the musical signal. According to the old guy, it is quite expensive comparing it to a normal audio prothesis but really effective and natural. This story really helped me facing the idea I might lose my hearing when I’m old.

              Here it is. Have fun and don’t worry too much for frequencies that only bats can really “enjoy”. There’s no problems, only solutions !

            • take care Mr rachmaninov!best wish for you!i think you are 25 years old!:)how old are you?pravite question i am sorry!:) 🙂 🙂

  1. Dear Mr. Rachmaninov – thanks so much. And I wish you good health – and no bargains with the devil!

    The crosstalk – I can hear it if I look for it, but then – why should I? 🙂

    All the best!

    • Thank you very much TOM…I hope Prague is safe. I was there some weeks ago and the last day I was there it started to become dramatic with high water and I could see how parts of the old core were protected with metal dykes…I love Prague from the bottom of my heart, I was the first time there and I swear it will be not the last time. For me the most beautiful town in the world.

      • Oh yes, Prague can be beatituful – especially in the Spring 🙂 And yes, it is definitively safe by now – I was there last week and the water was already gone, leaving the historical city centre without major damage. Fortunately they have built these flood protection measures after the catastrophic floods in 2002 – it really paid of this year… Take care, Tom

  2. Hello Rach.
    GREAT voice . TY for this upload.
    BUT:( I clearly do hear the crosstalk phenomenon on this rip… and my hearing is not bad:) i ma a pro violinist, must hear some:))
    But anyway.. great upload?
    Did anybody hear this rec. on CD? Can you hear crosstalk on CD?

  3. First of all, thank you so much for uploading all of these wonderful recordings! I just wanted to ask if this and the Sutherland/Pavarotti Rigoletto Vinyl Rips should be asking for a password, because I cannot figure it out. Thank you!

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