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By Opera D'oro
The masterpiece of composer Francesco Cilea, ''Adriana Lecouvreur'' premiered in 1902 with Caruso in the tenor lead. It has remained a standard in Italy, though it is less famous abroad. This is one of its best recordings ever, with the great singing actress Magda Olivero literally living the title role, and a fabulous supporting cast headed by Franco Corelli. Live performance, Naples, November 28, 1959..
mpn: 685738623822, ean: 0685738623822,
Still in the plastic. Dead Man Walking opens with a brutal rape-murder scene and ends with a passage, silent except for the clicks of the machine delivering fluids that execute a condemned man, followed by Susan Graham intoning the spiritual ''He will gather us around.'' Those searing scenes flank that rarity, a contemporary opera that deals with an important issue--the death penalty--with balance and empathy while sustaining dramatic tension, the narrative conveyed with musical alertness.
By EMI Classics
mpn: 724356645028, ean: 0724356645028,
This live recording of the 1955 Visconti production at La Scala is the best of the available Maria Callas Traviatas. Aside from a minor pitch problem or two, she's in great voice, coloring phrases to reveal character and investing the coloratura with variety and passion. Her ''Addio del passato'' is heart-breaking. She fully captures Violetta's pride and vulnerability in the scene with Germont, though her partner, Ettore Bastianini, sings insensitively, if beautifully. Giuseppe Di Stefano is
By EMI Classics
Leonard Bernstein learned the score to Medea in five days after another conductor fell ill. It was also the first time he worked with Maria Callas. The result is electrifying. Bernstein hardly sees the score as the ''classical'' composition it had been considered, and Callas agrees--this is high drama, as close to verismo as possible. The performance, taped live in 1953, is a whirlwind of emotions. Callas, at her vocal best, with high notes blazing and solid and chest voice so dangerously