KALMAN: Heia, in den Bergen from Die Czárdásfürstin. HEUBERGER: Im Chambre Séparée from Der Opernball (with tenor Piotr Beczala).LEHÁR: Mein Lippen,m sie Küssen so heiss from Giuditta. CHARPENTIER: Depuis le jour from Louise. OFFENBACH: Belle nuit, o nuit d'amour from The Tales of Hoffmann (with mezzo-soprano Elina Garanca). STRAUSS: Cäcilie, Op. 27 No. 2. Wiegenlied, Op. 41 No. 1. GRIEG: Solveigs Sang from Peer Gynt. MESSAGER: Lorsque je n'étaiss qu'une enfant from Fortunio. DVORÁK: Kdyz mne stara matka, Op. 55 No. 4 from Gypsy Melodies. RIMSKY-KORSAKOV: Ne veter, veya s vïsotï, Op. 43 No. 2. Plenivsis rozoy, solovey, Op. 2 No. 2. Trad. Jewish: Schlof sche, mein Vögele. WEBBER: Pie Jesu from Requiem (with boy soprano Andrew Swait). HAHN: L'Énamourée. GUASTAVINO: La rosa y el sauce. GIMÉNEZ: La Tarántula é un bicho mú malo. ARDITI: Il Bacio.
Anna Netrebko, soprano; Prague Philharmonic Choir; Prague Philharmonia/Emmanuel Villaume
DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON B0012217 TT: 63:02
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GOUNOD: Le veau d'or, Serenade from Faust BOITO: Ecco il mondo from Mefistofele. BERLIOZ: Voici des roses from The Damnation of Faust. VERDI: Ella giammai d'amo! from Don Carlo. OFFENBACH: Scintille, diament from The Tales of Hoffmann. WAGNER: Abendlich strahit der Sonne Auga from Das Rheingold. Tatest du's wirklich? Wähnst du das? from Tristan and Isolde. RUBINSTEIN: Na vozdesnom okeane and Ne plac, ditya from The Demon. DVORÁK: Beda! Beda! - Cely svet neda ti from Rusalka. MUSSORGSKY: Death of Boris from Boris Godunov
René Pape, bass; Dresden State Opera Chorus; Dresden State Orch/Sebastian Weigle, cond.
DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHGON 002894776408 TT: 65:36
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PUCCINI: Arias from La bohème, La rondine, Suor Angelica, Gianni Schicchi, Manon Lescaut, and Tosca
Angela Gheorghiu, soprano; Roberto Alagna, tenor; various orch/cond.
EMI CLASSICS 17441 TT: 75:26 Bonus DVD containing videos of music from Madama Butterfly, Turandot and Madama Butterfly plus a feature
discussing Puccini's operas with commentary by Angela Gheorghiu. TT: 43:10
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STRAUSS: Salome (sung in English)
Susan Bullock (Salome); Sally Burgess (Herodias); John Graham-Hall (Herod); John Wegner (Jokanaan); Andrew Rees (Narraboth); Philharmonia Orch/Sir Charles Mackerras, cond.
CHANDOS 3157 (2 disks) TT: 61:39 & 52:40
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Anna Netrebko's fourth recital disk for DG is stunning. Called Souvenirs, the CD contains a wide range of music exquisitely sung, recorded in March 2008 in Prague's Dvorak Hall. The program includes operetta classics, lieder, a traditional Jewish song, Zarzuela excerpts, and Pie Jesu from Andrew Lloyd Webber's Requiem. This is one of the finest recordings ever made of Depuis le jour, and the two Rimsky-Korsakov songs are pure magic. Superb sound with better singer/orchestra balance than heard on the soprano's CD of Russian arias (REVIEW). Souvenirs should be in every vocal collection.

Bass René Pape's first recital disk, Gods, Kings & Demons, is another winner. Pape, a commanding stage presence, has been a major figure on the operatic scene for some years now. In this wide-ranging program he displays his versatility, and of particular interest to most collectors will be his Wagner and Mussorgsky. Pape doubtless will be a major Wotan, and as he is not yet forty, should be around for a long time. He also impresses in the Boris Godunov death scene. Sebastian Weigle and the Dresden forces give strong support. Audio is excellent.

Admirers of Angela Gheorghiu might wish to investigate EMI's new twin-disk release: a CD and DVD of performances taken from previous issues. The DVD begins with "Un bel di" lip-synced to an inappropriate modern Japanese set (with two unexplained characters), followed by Turandot and Gianni Schicchi arias from a 2002 concert conducted by Ion Marin, and the Butterfly love duet from a 1999 concert performance with Giuseppi Sinopole on the podium (an exciting performance in which she is joined by Roberto Alagna). After this there is an adulatory view of the soprano written, narrated and produced by Jon Tolansky. In this, we hear (but don't see) Gheorghiu talking about Puccini's music. No question that the Romanian soprano is one of the most exciting singers of the day, and if you don't have previous issues of these performances, this might interest you.

Chandos continues their series of operas sung in English with Salome in a translation by Tom Hammond. In the final scene it sounds odd indeed to hear Salome sing, "I have a need to bite you, to bite you, to bite you as one desires to bite into ripened fruit." Many opera fans applaud opera in English; I am not one of them unless it is the opera's original language. Even then, most listeners would find the text difficult to understand much of the time—and that's the case on this new recording except for softer passages. The entire cast is excellent except for Susan Bullock in the title role. Her's is a big voice with a pronounced wobble and she doesn't begin to suggest the teen-age young girl. As usual with Chandos, audio is excellent, but I imagine most listeners will prefer Strauss's masterpiece in the original German. The complete English text is provided.

R.E.B. (December 2008)