Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Best of Joan Sutherland / Opera Australia|
Genres: Musicals & Performing Arts
Dame Joan Sutherland, Australian Icon and declared National Treasure, has been described as the foremost soprano of our age and one of the greatest operatic artists of all time. This program contains highlights of her stag... more »
La Stupenda Cliff Notes
R OMeara | Los Angeles, CA USA | 10/12/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"As a professional, classically-trained singer, I can tell you one thing: we all know who is the best. And although we may have other favorites, and the despite all the Callas hoopla, I've never known an accomplished operatic professional who would not acknowledge Sutherland as the pre-eminent vocal artist of the 20th century. Other magnificent, even legendary sopranos strode the stages before and during her career (Ponselle, Tetrazzini, Flagstad, Galli-Curci, Milanov, Tebaldi, Caballe), but none of them set or maintained a standard as high or as seemingly unattainable as that created by Dame Joan. I had the great fortune of hearing her live at her zenith in NORMA, ANNA BOLENA, DIE FLEDERMAUS and in concert, and I can say without hesitation that what she could do was nothing short of a miracle.
The one drawback here is that the Australian productions are often flat, and the great prima donna is surrounded, with certain exceptions, by inferior singers. I keep waiting for Australia to release Sutherland's re-assumption of SEMIRAMIDE from the early 1980s. That would be delightful, especially to see La Stupenda in one of her greatest, if infrequent, roles, one that the Metropolitan Opera stupidly passed on. The "management" of that house also ignored her ANNA BOLENA, as if she cared. She just went across the plaza and did it in concert, got it televised, and brought Avery Fisher Hall to its feet.
In short, get this--but don't miss out on the audio collections, as well."
A treasure, a keepsake
Joseph Hart | Visalia, CA United States | 09/17/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This DVD is wonderful, not a wasted moment. It is excerpts from her recorded (DVD) performances, highlights. After each number, over the applause and until it dies away is printed the title and aria of the next excerpt. The big moment of course, and saved until the end, is the mad scene from Lucia. She sings the whole thing from entrance to death. This is (I made note because I loved it so much, all the credits are at the end) from the 1986 version. It is after all much better than the version I have (whatever that is) which I always thought I loved. Her night clothes and hands are bloodier, there is lots of interesting business, her voice sounds better (clearer and more distinct) and she interacts with the chorus members. I'm getting a copy of it from Netflix and if the whole thing is as much better, I'm going to buy it, if it's still available. Also Fledermaus (which I've never heard any of except the excerpt on this disc because I always thought I didn't like Strauss) was wonderful. The version with Sutherland is not sold by Amazon damnit, but I ordered a copy with Kiri Te Kanawa from Netflix also to see whether I like the whole thing as well as I liked this excerpt. Though coloratura-wise I can't see Te Kanawa filling Sutherland's shoes, and even if I like all the music, I doubt I'll buy that version. The only other version has Pavarotti and I don't like his voice, never did and won't buy it. He seems like a nice guy, I just don't like his voice. This whole disc (the one here under consideration) is a treasure of glorious melody sung by the greatest of them all. In fact, there is only one bad apple in the barrel, that ghastly horrible thing by Poulenc (he was modern wasn't he, I think so, it explains a lot). It stunk, with no music there is nothing for anyone, not even Sutherland, to sing. But it is mercifully brief. There is nothing superfluous or jarring (except the Poulenc) on this entire album. It is professionally done, and beautiful from stem to stern. And what a finale! (Lucia.) Note: I bought my copy from overman2000, an Amazon seller for $10. I saved a few dollars, but the shipping was criminal. I bought both new collections of Sutherland excerpts from them, and paid $9 for expedited postage. The total was about $30. I still saved money, though not much. I recommend them though, they take about 3 days to ship, but once they do, the package arrives soon. I treasure this collection of excerpts by Sutherland, it is something to cherish, only 82 minutes long according to the box, and that sounds about right. I'm looking forward with anticipation to the other one ("The Essential Sutherland") I bought with it. I'm expecting the same quality production, coupled with more (and some duplicate) music and an introduction to each aria by Sutherland and Bonynge. Unfortunately, it has at least one piece with Pavarotti in it. Sigh. I hope it's only one. If so, I'll survive. If it is a duet, singing with Sutherland will temper it. If it's more than one number, I don't know what I'll do. Throw it away probably. I hear he's sick now. I'm sorry. But that doesn't make me like his voice any better. But this DVD, the one I'm supposed to be commenting on, is a perfectly wrought little miracle (except that ghastly Poulenc. Poulenc! Sutherland??? I thought it was only Sills who wasted her genius singing modern tuneless no talent hacks!). I hightly recommend this DVD to everyone who likes Sutherland and this music."