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Marriage of Figaro

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Audio CD
3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 81.53
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Product Details


Disc: 1
1. Le nozze di Figaro: Sinfonia
2. Le nozze di Figaro: No. 1 Duettino 'cinque...dieci...' (Figaro, Susanna)
3. Le nozze di Figaro: Recitativo 'Cosa stai misurando' (Susanna, Figaro)
4. Le nozze di Figaro: No. 2 Duettino 'se a caso madama' (Figaro, Susanna)
5. Le nozze di Figaro: Recitativo 'or bene; ascolta' (Susanna, Figaro)
6. Le nozze di Figaro: No. 3 Cavatina 'se vuol ballare' (Figaro)
See all 22 tracks on this disc
Disc: 2
1. Le nozze di Figaro: Recitativo 'Quanto duolmi, Susanna' (La Contessa, Susanna, Cherubino)
2. Le nozze di Figaro: No. 12 Arietta 'Voi che sapete' (Cherubino)
3. Le nozze di Figaro: Recitativo 'Bravo! Che bella voce!' (La Contessa, Susanna, Cherubino)
4. Le nozze di Figaro: No. 13 Aria 'Venite, inginocchiatevi' (Susanna)
5. Le nozze di Figaro: Recitativo 'Quante buffonerie' (La Contessa, Susanna, Cherubino, Il Conte)
6. Le nozze di Figaro: Recitativo 'Che novita!' (Il Conte, La Contessa)
See all 21 tracks on this disc
Disc: 3
1. Le nozze di Figaro: No. 20 Recitativo ed Aria 'E Susanna non vien! - Dove sono' (La Contessa)
2. Le nozze di Figaro: Recitativo 'Io vi dico, signor' (Antonio, Il Conte)
3. Le nozze di Figaro: Recitativo 'Cosa mi narri' (La Contessa, Susanna)
4. Le nozze di Figaro: No. 21 Duettino 'Sull'aria... Che soave zeffiretto' (Susanna, La Contessa)
5. Le nozze di Figaro: Recitativo 'Piegatto e il foglio' (Susanna, La Contessa)
6. Le nozze di Figaro: No. 22 Coro 'Ricevete, oh padroncina' (Coro)
See all 19 tracks on this disc

Product Description


Customer Reviews

3.2 out of 5 stars
3.2 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I agree... July 16 2001
By A Customer
I've heard many versions of Le nozze, but I didn't, like the first two reviews, find this recording bad at all. In fact, a good case can be made of it being Harnoncourt's best recording of a Da Ponte opera. The two leads, Scharinger and Bonney, are excellent, Margiono is a fine Countess, while Hampson makes a strong Count. I used to live on Giulini's and Davis's recording, but Harnoncourt does add something extra (his control of orchestral color, albeit a period one, is exemplary), and here he doesn't seem peverse enough to sacrifice enjoyment of the opera.
I find myself listening much more to the sound of the Concertgebouw as much as I do the singers. Some arias are more illuminating here than elsewhere (Figaro's aprite un po for instance). Even if this is not a traditional recommendation, admirers of Harnoncourt should find much here to savor. Non-admirers should keep a wide berth; to be fair not because Harnoncourt did not do Mozart justice, but because he illuminates other aspects of the opera.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Different, but worthwhile version of Figaro June 30 2001
After listening to this recording and reading the other customer reviews (which I thought were unimformative), I thought it would be only fair to present the other side of the coin. First of all, to imply that Harnoncourt serves himself and not the composer is simply untrue. Having listened to several of his recordings and read some of his writings, it's obvious that he does painstaking research on the music, composer and performance practices of the time period, before conducting a work -- especially one as great as "Figaro." He has also had more experience performing music of the 17th and 18th centuries (with both period and modern instruments) than most conductors who have recorded this opera. I don't ALWAYS like what he does, but I admire his dedication and genius, and most of his work is phenomenal. When I first heard excerpts of this recording I was amazed at both the incredible energy of the performance and the meaningfulness packed into every phrase. Harnoncourt's Figaro is not just pretty music; the emotional impact is stunning. If you remember your history, Beaumarchais' French play upon which the libretto is based, was a scathing political satire, NOT a light comedy.
Right from the start, while most conductors merely race through the overture, Harnoncourt takes a slightly more moderate tempo and brings out orchestral detail you'd never know was there. (To prove what I stated above, if you read his article "Mozart's Tempos and Le Nozze di Figaro" in the program notes, Harnoncourt explains that the Figaro overture is written in 4/4 or 'common' time. The overtures to Don Giovanni and Cosi -- which are usually played slower than that of Figaro -- are written in 2/2 or 'alla breve' time, a FASTER indication than 4/4.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Unfortunate May 21 1999
By A Customer
How I wish that conductors should serve the composers and not the other way around. Too bad that the CD era did not coincide with masters like Josef Krips, karl Boehm or even von Karajan. What a sad performance, and that "continuo": this is a commedy and that lugubrious cello is completely out of place!
Was this review helpful to you?
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Wish I had not bought it May 14 1999
By A Customer
Just bought the three Mozart/DaPonte operas as played by Harnoncourt and the Concertgeboug! Wish I hadn't. What changes: slow when should be fast, fast when slow, loud when soft, soft when slow. Such a noisy orchestra drowning the singers. Such liberties with the famous arias. What a mess
Was this review helpful to you?
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.2 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Different, but worthwhile version of Figaro June 30 2001
By Ralph O. Padgug - Published on Amazon.com
After listening to this recording and reading the other customer reviews (which I thought were unimformative), I thought it would be only fair to present the other side of the coin. First of all, to imply that Harnoncourt serves himself and not the composer is simply untrue. Having listened to several of his recordings and read some of his writings, it's obvious that he does painstaking research on the music, composer and performance practices of the time period, before conducting a work -- especially one as great as "Figaro." He has also had more experience performing music of the 17th and 18th centuries (with both period and modern instruments) than most conductors who have recorded this opera. I don't ALWAYS like what he does, but I admire his dedication and genius, and most of his work is phenomenal. When I first heard excerpts of this recording I was amazed at both the incredible energy of the performance and the meaningfulness packed into every phrase. Harnoncourt's Figaro is not just pretty music; the emotional impact is stunning. If you remember your history, Beaumarchais' French play upon which the libretto is based, was a scathing political satire, NOT a light comedy.
Right from the start, while most conductors merely race through the overture, Harnoncourt takes a slightly more moderate tempo and brings out orchestral detail you'd never know was there. (To prove what I stated above, if you read his article "Mozart's Tempos and Le Nozze di Figaro" in the program notes, Harnoncourt explains that the Figaro overture is written in 4/4 or 'common' time. The overtures to Don Giovanni and Cosi -- which are usually played slower than that of Figaro -- are written in 2/2 or 'alla breve' time, a FASTER indication than 4/4.)
The one part of this recording I really dislike (and it's one of my very favorite scenes in the opera) is the Duet and Trio at the end of Act II (the argument between Count and Countess in which he accuses her of adultery and then opens her bedroom closet where he assumes her lover is hiding -- only to find Susanna inside!) Usually the Duet is taken rather fast, as would seem appropriate for a heated argument involving jealous rage and desperate denials; when Susanna emerges from the closet, shocking the Count and completely knocking the wind out of his sails, the subsequent Trio (marked 'Molto Andante') is normally taken slower. Again, Harnoncourt has done his homework. In Mozart's time, Molto Andante meant a faster tempo (Andante comes from the Italian verb meaning "to go" and indicated a medium fast speed); during the 19th century, as tempos became broader and slower, Andante gradually came to mean a slower speed. This all makes perfect sense. But to me, it just doesn't sound right.
Anyway, enough about conductors. The singers on this recording are exceptional. Thomas Hampson (the Count) and Barbara Bonney (Susanna) are two of the world's foremost artists, and here, their exquisite performances more than live up to their reputations. I'd never heard of Anton Scharinger (the Figaro) before, and while there are many equally good Figaros out there, I honestly can't say I've heard any significantly better ones. As for Charlotte Margiono, I HAVE heard the Countess sung by voices that were much more beautiful -- but she does sing well and her characterization is tender and full of nobility. Petra Lang is an attractive, youthful Cherubino and the rest of the cast are without exception fantastic, including a hysterically funny Kurt Moll as Bartolo, and Ann Murray who sings the best 4th act Marcellina's aria I've ever heard.
If you prefer a more traditional interpretation of Figaro, and opt for another recording such as Solti's or Muti's, at least buy the bargain-priced highlights of Harnoncourt's version. It doesn't contain the above-mentioned Duet/Trio scene, and it's sure to reveal what a powerful piece of drama Le Nozze di Figaro really is.
7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I agree... July 16 2001
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
I've heard many versions of Le nozze, but I didn't, like the first two reviews, find this recording bad at all. In fact, a good case can be made of it being Harnoncourt's best recording of a Da Ponte opera. The two leads, Scharinger and Bonney, are excellent, Margiono is a fine Countess, while Hampson makes a strong Count. I used to live on Giulini's and Davis's recording, but Harnoncourt does add something extra (his control of orchestral color, albeit a period one, is exemplary), and here he doesn't seem peverse enough to sacrifice enjoyment of the opera.
I find myself listening much more to the sound of the Concertgebouw as much as I do the singers. Some arias are more illuminating here than elsewhere (Figaro's aprite un po for instance). Even if this is not a traditional recommendation, admirers of Harnoncourt should find much here to savor. Non-admirers should keep a wide berth; to be fair not because Harnoncourt did not do Mozart justice, but because he illuminates other aspects of the opera.
5 of 20 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Wish I had not bought it May 14 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Just bought the three Mozart/DaPonte operas as played by Harnoncourt and the Concertgeboug! Wish I hadn't. What changes: slow when should be fast, fast when slow, loud when soft, soft when slow. Such a noisy orchestra drowning the singers. Such liberties with the famous arias. What a mess
3 of 21 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Unfortunate May 21 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
How I wish that conductors should serve the composers and not the other way around. Too bad that the CD era did not coincide with masters like Josef Krips, karl Boehm or even von Karajan. What a sad performance, and that "continuo": this is a commedy and that lugubrious cello is completely out of place!
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