Classical Editor: Rob Barnett                               Music Webmaster Len Mullenger:

Operatic Arias
Vincenzo BELLINI Norma : Casta diva
Georges BIZET Carmen : Je dis que rien ne m'épouvante
Francesco CILEA
Adriana Lecouvreur: Io son l'umile ancella
Alfredo CATALANI La Wally: Ebben? Ne andrô lontana
Charles GOUNOD  Romeo et Juliette : Ah! Je veux vivre
Ruggiero LEONCAVALLO Pagliacci: Stridono lassu
Jules MASSENET Manon: Je suis encor tout étourdie
Giacomo PUCCINI Gianni Schicchi O Mio Babbino caro
Madama Butterfly: Un bel di vedremo
La Bohème: Quando me n'vo
Turandot: Sinore, ascolta Adieu, notre petite table

Giuseppe VERDI Simon Boccanegra : Come in quest'ora bruna
Les Vêpres siciliennes
. Merci, jeunes amies
London Voices (chorus Master - Terry Edwards), London Philharmonic Orchestra - Sir Charles Mackerras
recorded in The Colosseum, Watford, 3-9 July, 1999.
Decca 467 049-2 [64.53] DDD
  Amazon UK  AmazonUS

Here is another potential Award Winner from Decca. Does this artist never make a mistake? Decca obviously agree as this time they have taken a large step with the packaging. Gone is the jewel case, to be replaced by a pop-style cardboard gate sleeve, but we still have a conventional booklet with multi-lingual notes and full set of words in Italian, German, French and English.

The big step however is to relegate the works, the orchestra and chorus to the back surface, with the front of the disc displaying a large colour picture of Renee Fleming with her name in large capitals across the top. The booklet is the same except that there are no words on the front or back at all. This type of marketing is very current, and I am sure it will have no effect whatsoever on the sales of this disc.

That being said, the present disc is a real gem. The performances, even the most hackneyed, are presented here with a clarity and warmth which may even bring tears to some of your eyes. Her favourite conductor (Sir Charles Mackerras) conducts with all the sensitivity you could wish for, and the playing of the LPO is beautiful. A wonderful disc.

John Phillips

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