Puccini Archive

Cello Effect = Works by PROKOFIEV, PUCCINI, RACHMANINOFF, etc.  – Rastrelli Cello Quartet – GENUIN

Cello Effect = Works by PROKOFIEV, PUCCINI, RACHMANINOFF, etc.  – Rastrelli Cello Quartet – GENUIN

Cello Effect – Works by PROKOFIEV, PUCCINI, RACHMANINOFF, JOBIM, HANDY, BRUBECK, ANDERSON, DESMOND, TCHAIKOVSKY  – Rastrelli Cello Quartet – GENUIN GEN15364 – 53:45 **** A Cello Quartet performs a wide variety of short classics transcribed and arranged by one of its members. One may wonder why anyone would want to listen to four cellos (celli?) playing together. This album gives a partial answer. Indeed when the founder of the Rastrelli Cello Quartet, Kim Kraftzoff asked the person who would eventually transcribe all the selections on this disc, and would join the quartet as a player, Sergio Drabkin responded “No one will be able to listen to four cellos for more than ten minutes!” The pair got around the issue by arranging pieces for this recording, none of which is longer than 5 minutes, 10 seconds. The Rastrelli Cello Quartet was formed in 2002 by Kraftzoff  in St. Petersburg where he teaches, when he asked  two of  his students , and Drabkin,  to join him. He took the Quartet’s name from Bartholomeo Rastrelli, the eighteenth century Italian architect commissioned to build the massive buildings that formed the streetscape of the new Russian capital. The first five tracks are an ambitious set […]

PUCCINI: Turandot (2016) – Orch. del Teatro alla Scala di Milano/Riccardo Chailly – Decca

PUCCINI: Turandot (2016) – Orch. del Teatro alla Scala di Milano/Riccardo Chailly – Decca

Something’s different about this production. PUCCINI: Turandot (2016, Luciano Berio completion) Cast: Nina Stemme, Aleksandrs Antonenko, Maria Agresta , Coro di voci bianche dell’Accademia Teatro alla Scala Orch.: Orchestra del Teatro alla Scala di Milano Director: Riccardo Chailly Studio: Decca. Blue-ray [1/27/17] Run Time: 130 minutes Video: 1.77:1 Color Audio: DTS-HD 5.1, PCM Stereo Subtitles: English, German, Mandarin Chinese, Korean, French, Italian Rating: ***** What is the most outstanding feature of this recording of Giacomo Puccini’s opera Turandot? Is it the vividly recorded sound under the expert baton of conductor Riccardo Chailly? How about those well-miked singers, who manage to sound far better than they did in a recent Metropolitan Opera production of Turandot? Or the staging and lighting at Italy’s La Scala, so lush and regal as to be almost overwhelming (particularly when viewed on a 4K television)? Perhaps the excellent acting, judiciously understated as when Aleksandrs Antoninko didn’t grandstand during the famous “Nessun Dorma”? No, something’s different about this production. It’s the ending. They’ve changed it. When Puccini died in 1924, he left the opera incomplete. Two years later Franco Alfano penned a conclusion that, if you’re familiar with the opera, you’ve definitely heard it. Alfano was called in […]

Audio News for November 18, 2016

China’s Newest Export is Classical Music – The China Philharmonic Orchestra (CPO) is touring New York City, LA and San Francisco. Musicians from the China National Opera House in Beijing performed in Puccini’s Turandot in the Budapest Spring Festival. At London’s Coliseum, the Shanghai Opera performed Thunderstorm, a newly-adapted Western-style Chinese work, and the Shanghai Sym. Orch. will be touring prestigious European festivals. The Beijing Sym. Orch. has completed seven European tours.  The organizer of the tours said “We have many good classical music groups in China, but people abroad don’t know about them.” A conductor who has work both in China and the U.S. says “A product manufactured in China is not as important for China’s international profile. Cultural power is much more important.” One of the Chinese commentators says “We have a couple of good orchestras, but they’re not the Vienna Philharmonic.” The promoter has to decide if he will start from scratch or just buy an existing European company. Some European artists’ managers don’t like the sound of either option. Meridian Eight-Channel Amp to Drive Multiple Pairs of Speakers – The new Meridian 258 Eight-Channel Power Amp delivers a premium experience, with a powerful and efficient way […]

PUCCINI: La Boheme (complete opera), C Major Blu-ray (2016)

PUCCINI: La Boheme (complete opera), C Major Blu-ray (2016)

It’s hard to divorce this release from recent events. PUCCINI: La Boheme (complete opera), Blu-ray (2016) Performers: Daniela Dessì (Mimì)/ Fabio Armiliato (Rodolfo)/ Alessandro Luongo (Marcello)/ Alida Berti (Musetta)/ Federico Longhi (Schaunard)/ Marco Spotti (Colline)/ Angelo Nardinocchi (Benoit/Alcindoro)/ Ugo Tarquini (Parpignol)/ Marco Simonelli (Sergente dei doganieri)/ Jacopo Bianchini (Un doganiere)/ Orchestra and Choir of the Puccini Festival Torre del Lago/ Valerio Galli Director: Ettore Scola Studio: C Major 736204 2014 Video: 16:9 HD 1080i, color Audio: PCM stereo 2.0, DTS-HD MA 5.1 Subtitles: Italian, German, English, French, Spanish, Chinese, Korean, Japanese No region code Length: 123 min. Rating: **** There is something particularly pathetic, in Act 3 of this production, hearing Mimi utter the words “Alas, I am dying.” For the magnificent soprano playing her, Daniela Dessi, died just a couple of months ago in August from colon cancer that she had just begun receiving treatment for, and the opera world is still in shock from the news. She had promised to be back on stage in October, so something obviously went horribly wrong between prognosis and treatment. Her husband and longtime singing partner, and the Rodolfo in this production, Fabio Armiliato, messaged: ‘A short, horrible and incomprehensible illness has […]