You will love this CD. I heard a friend playing it and knew that I would have to get it some day. It is truly gorgeous.
I am amazed by some of the reviewers who can dare to give this recording fewer than five stars. I know there are some opera perfectionists out there who can be fickle, but this recording is gorgeous. I'm willing to concede that Renee Fleming may not be the greatest opera singer the world has had in the last 100 years, but her voice is what the title says--beautiful. Fleming has worked hard to get where she is today and it shows. Jeffrey Tate seems to do a fine job, and he doesn't get in the way.
Fleming sings each aria with flair, amazing presence, and musical integrity. Each aria showcases her voice, and yet is quite musically inspiring. "Chi il bel sogno" by Puccini and "Marietta's Lied" by Korngold (an oft-overlooked composer) are among my favorites. I also like the aria from Carmina Burana as well as the one from Manon. If you click on the Manon aria (Track 3) to listen online, you will be sold on the CD.
If you don't know anything about opera, you will love this recording. If you are an opera fanatic--no matter who your "favorite" soprano is--you will be forced to admit the singing here deserves instant respect.