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Crusader in Egypt (Il Crociato Box set

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Product Details

  • Performer: Villaume; Orchestra E Coro Del Teatro La Fenice; Vinco; Ciofi; Zennaro; Pasini; Portari; Polverelli; Maniaci; Favaron; P
  • Composer: Meyerbeer Giacomo
  • Audio CD (March 30 2010)
  • Number of Discs: 3
  • Format: Box set
  • Label: Nop
  • ASIN: B0034JV698
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #209,070 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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Product Description

Meyerbeer created his operas as vast, elaborate woven tapestries-showered with detail and colour-the result of years of painstaking work. This landmark recording of The Crusader in Egypt was made in January 2007 during a performance starring American male

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0xa92487d4) out of 5 stars 4 reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa8929600) out of 5 stars Worth Having but Not Fully Satisfying Dec 17 2010
By Go for Baroque - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Review of Performance of Meyerbeer's Opera Il Crociato in Egitto with Male Soprano Michael Maniaci.

The male soprano voice in today's world (not sopranist or countertenor) is one voice in a billion people. For this reason alone, this CD soundtrack (or the DVD, which I have) is well worth having. The last castrato to sing the primo uomo role in the waning days of the great castrati was Giovanni Battista Valluti.

80% of operas were written before the year 1800, and 70% of the roles were for alto and soprano castrati, who were produced artificially to the tune of 4,000 - 5,000 per year during the golden age of the Baroque. As the style of opera changed and the need for castrati diminished outside of church choirs, Meyerbeer's opera faded from the stage and only rarely was attempted with substitute voices until male soprano Michael Maniaci was called in with little notice to replace the female singer originally cast in the lead male role. Being able to hear a man singing the primo uomo role, therefore, is a treat. This is even more so when viewing Michael on stage.

The one problem with the performance, of course, is the sound of Michael's voice, which has a very heavy vibrato, especially when he sings loudly and/or sings higher notes. For listeners less informed about Baroque opera and more used to 19th-century / 20th-century opera performance, this difficulty may have gone unnoticed, especially considering the fact that all the female singers also had exceptionally heavy vibrato. The preferred style and required technique of the Baroque age was to sing with very focused voices, required not just for the vocal beauty but also in order to be able to sing the often very acrobatic lines.

I never have obtained information that would indicate whether Michael's vibrato is the nature of his voice and/or the result of modern vocal coaching. It is said that Julliard was not sure what to do with him, and I am not clear as to his coaching at Cincinnati.

This CD, therefore, provides the listener with an interesting experience, although the DVD showing Michael Maniaci on stage (along with the offered subtitles) may be more satisfying to many listeners.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa8f4136c) out of 5 stars A Fine Recording of a Rare Opera at a Reasonable Price! June 22 2010
By Rev. Ben Cox - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I am enjoying this recording as I write. I was attracted to this opera because of Michael Maniaci, the male lead. He is, as I expected, glorious! With this opera we get a glimpse into the culture of the early 19th century in Italy. This was Meyerbeer's last castrato opera. The other voices to my ear are not quite the level of Maniaci, but that could be a bias. The orchestra plays the music very well and Meyerbeer serves up some beautiful music. The recording, live in La Fenice, is very clear and the stereo separation is quite good. The audience is unobtrusive, simply applauding where appropriate. As is typical of Meyerbeer, you get lots of big scenes, with the chorus and principals, sometimes reminiscent of scenes in Les Hugenots. I am thoroughly enjoying this recording and wish it well with listeners and reviewers. As a recap, the cast (especially Maniaci)are quite good and up to the requirements of the music; the recording is also very good, giving the listener a chance to hear the remarkable acoustics of La Fenice. This is a very good recording to own, with one other attraction: the price!
HASH(0xa9c54648) out of 5 stars Love Maniaci, love Meyerbeer, a must buy! Sept. 4 2013
By Joseph Rochetto - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
With all respect to "Go for Baroque". I disagree with his vibrato premise. Not all operas using castrati were baroque. Mozart used them as did Rossini in the early part of his career. Meyerbeer was following the style of the day and not harkening back 60 years to the baroque era. This opera, written around 1824 (not sure of the exact date) is written far more under the influence of Rossini and bel canto singing that as a baroque opera. Vibrato is much more acceptable and in tune (no pun intended) with the prevalent style of the 1820's and the vibrato is not out of place at all. In any event Maniaci sings beautifully and is well worth the price of admission. His acting isn't bad either and he's a cutie to boot! His voice is not that of a counter tenor in that he apparently is singing in his natural voice and you can just hear how he has more lung power behind his voice than a counter tenor who often sings in falsetto. I believe his voice comes most closely to what the castrati must have sounded like. It saddens me he has not made more of an impact on the operatic world. He does have one beautiful solo album of Mozart tunes. Patricia Ciofi, an experienced singer of baroque, classical and bel canto roles also sings beautifully. My only objection is that the chorus in the DVD, while singing fine, does not seem to put much effort into their acting and often appears to be just going through the motions. of course you won't see this in the CD which is a plus. erhaps they weren't that familiar with the storyline.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa89a0984) out of 5 stars Not good recording June 27 2015
By gmushlin@kc.rr.com - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Not good recording of this opera. There is a better recording available.

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