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T Ballad Of Baby Doe [Original recording remastered]

Douglas Moore Audio CD
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)

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Product Details

Disc: 1
1. The Ballad Of Baby Doe: Act One: Scene One - Opening
2. The Ballad Of Baby Doe: Act One: Scene One - 'It's A Bang-Up Job' (Tabor)
3. The Ballad Of Baby Doe: Act One: Scene One - 'Horace, What Is This?' (Augusta)
4. The Ballad Of Baby Doe: Act One: Scene One - 'I Beg Your Pardon' (Baby Doe)
5. The Ballad Of Baby Doe: Act One: Scene Two - 'What A Lovely Evening'
6. The Ballad Of Baby Doe: Act One: Scene Two - 'Willow, Where We Met Together' (Willow Song) (Baby Doe)
7. The Ballad Of Baby Doe: Act One: Scene Two - 'Oh, Mr. Tabor!' (Baby Doe)
8. The Ballad Of Baby Doe: Act One: Scene Two - 'Warm As The Autumn Light' (Tabor)
9. The Ballad Of Baby Doe: Act One: Scene Three - 'Now, Where Do You Suppose?' (Augusta)
10. The Ballad Of Baby Doe: Act One: Scene Three - 'Have You Seen Her?' (Augusta)
See all 20 tracks on this disc
Disc: 2
1. The Ballad Of Baby Doe: Opening
2. The Ballad Of Baby Doe: 'The Fine Ladies' (Baby Doe)
3. The Ballad Of Baby Doe: 'Mama, Go Inside!' (Baby Doe)
4. The Ballad Of Baby Doe: 'Augusta, What Are You Doing Here?' (Tabor)
5. The Ballad Of Baby Doe: 'I'll Raise You'
6. The Ballad Of Baby Doe: 'Turn Tail And Run!' (Tabor)
7. The Ballad Of Baby Doe: 'La, La, La, La'
8. The Ballad Of Baby Doe: 'Good People Of Leadville'
9. The Ballad Of Baby Doe: 'Extra! Extra!'
10. The Ballad Of Baby Doe: 'Augusta! Augusta!' (Augusta)
See all 15 tracks on this disc

Product Description


Despite its somewhat Disneyesque title, The Ballad of Baby Doe is one of the sturdiest American operas. Its riches-to-rags story of Colorado miner Horace Tabor has a great plot, excellent characters, real arias, and dynamic chorus scenes, and none of it sounds second hand in the least. The opera has an extremely inviting personality of its own. This recording by the New York City Opera is full of crackling fast tempos from conductor Emerson Buckley and great theatricality: right down to the minor characters, everybody knows what they're about. Beverly Sills, Walter Cassel, and Frances Bible all inhabit their roles completely. The one drawback is the recording quality, which is good to voices but mushy on the orchestra. To know what's really going on in the piece musically, one must hear the similarly well-sung but more relaxed 1996 recording made at the venue where the opera was premiered: Central City Opera in Colorado. --David Patrick Stearns

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
By A Customer
First of all, I must state that I have loved this recording for three plus decades.
I have LP copies of it on MGM, Heliodor, and DGG pressings.
But I am one who has been waiting for years to find it released on CD. When the CD set finally came out, I was beside myself with joy.
This is the Baby Doe to have.
Someone mentioned the 1996 CD recording of Baby Doe, which was recorded in the Central City Opera House.
That's a very good recording. The entire cast is/are wonderful.
And that recording includes a few bars(in the first act) which are cut from the Sills Baby Doe.
But as fine as the 1996 recording is; it would be impossible to top or even match Cassel, Sills, and Bible as the Tabor love triangle.
I attended one of the 1996 Central City Opera Baby Doe performances. I was elated to see/hear the opera performed in that glorious old house.
But I have to admit that the acoustic ambiance of the Central City Opera House was a bit tubby and dry (acoustically). The tubby and dry ambiance of the 1996 Baby Doe recording is one of the reasons I prefer the Sills recording.
I have made two pilgrimages to Leadville. The Tabor Grand Opera House (which is in desperate need of funds for restoration) is still standing and in business.
The Clarendon Hotel (which was adjacent to the Tabor Grand) was torn down decades ago (although evidence of the Tabor cat walk from the Tabor Grand to the Clarendon is still extant).
Both times I visited Leadville, standing on the stage of the Tabor Grand left me speechless.
But my two visits to Baby Doe's cabin at the Matchless Mine devastated me.

Both times I stood in the "cold and narrow house" in which Baby Doe died so emotionally overwhelmed me that I had to step outside.
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By A Customer
This opera recording is a great recording of a fantastic American opera. The entire cast is fantastic, even the chorus, which is very spirited. The diction of the performers is very clear. There is no guessing as to which language they are singing in. It's English! English as clearly as it can be sung by operatic voices. Walter Cassel does not have a particularly beautiful baritone voice, but his singing is very good and he is completely inside the character of Horace Tabor. He portrays Horace very well. Francis Bible makes a very credible Augusta. She sounds morally upright, like Augusta should be, but also shows the listener Augusta's vulnerable side. Her voice just commands respect. Beverly Sills is caught here in one of her best performances of any role. She IS Baby Doe. Her voice is super-fresh. It is all dewy sweetness with absolutely no edge to it at all. Her voice is one of those super-rare soprano voices with an instantly recognizable timbre. It's also a very human and personable instrument. Listening to it just makes you smile. Her floated pianissimo notes are heavenly, reminding one of the pianissimi of Montserrat Caballé. Her forte high notes, like the ones in the Willow Song, are spectacular in their precision and beauty. She manages to convey all of Baby Doe's feelings with exceptional skill. She transforms herself into Baby Doe. Her singing of the recitatives is delightful. Indeed, these wonderful lines of sung dialogue are not thrown away at all by any of the cast members. Back to Sills. Her English diction is crystal clear. The listener does not have to strain at all to understand the words she is singing. Her last aria, the so-called Leadville Liebestod "Always Through the Changing", is amazingly sung. Read more ›
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5.0 out of 5 stars An incredible opera Aug. 8 2003
By A Customer
Firstly, before I begin, I have to admit that the voices were recorded too close in this recording, thus obscurring much of the beauty and originality of the orchestra. However, there is much to enjoy in the work. I have heard others sing this opera, there are other recordings out there, even one of the original cast (and no, Beverly Sills did NOT create the role of Baby Doe), however, I believe only this one, and one from 1996 are on CD. Both are excellent. This one, however, has a special flavor to it. It is obvious that Beverly Sills longed to sing this role, and she adds that special something to the work.
Once again this is a recording where the entire cast work perfectly together. There are no weak presentations. An engery is created between them, and it is noticeable. This is extremely important in opera like this, as there are no star arias, no set pieces that grab you, there are no moments where the leads outshine everyone else; this is really, like most modern operas, an ensemble work. I believe the cast is made up of the same cast who sang the role in the New York City opera's presentation of the opera during the same period of time. However, I am not certain all of the cast in the recording sang in that presentation. They work well together.
Though there are beautiful lyric moments (I wouldn't call them arias, per se) this work is a very modern work. It is opera in English, and American opera at its best. For those of us steeped in the Italian tradition, you may find it unusual listening in the beginning. There are no showy pieces. It is very 20th century, but not like more radical composers. It has an old west flavor (a thing Puccini never could capture in "The Girl of the Golden West") and is a touching story.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars From An Opera Singer
This recording is absolutely fabulous. Beverly Sills sings with amazing technique and her high notes are silvery and effortless. She owns the roll of Baby Doe. Read more
Published on May 22 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars Merely Superb!
This is a great recording of a beautiful and touching opera. Sills totally dominates with her beautiful, rock-solid and emotional portrayal. The whole cast is first rate! Read more
Published on Nov. 15 2003 by G. Golding
1.0 out of 5 stars We've given you numerous chances,yet you still bash
This is one of many waiting five paragraph review of this opera. It is not a masterpiece but a saloon piece. Read more
Published on July 25 2003 by JOJO
1.0 out of 5 stars opera, or saloon singing?
This is not an opera. So I can only give it one star. Sills is better as Anna Bolena.
Published on July 6 2003
5.0 out of 5 stars Sills is so fantastic! The rest of the cast is great too!
Sills is marvelous as the lovable gold-digger. The rest of the cast is great as well. The previous reviewer is incorrect in two statements he made. Read more
Published on March 10 2003
5.0 out of 5 stars American opera as it's best
I think this is just an exquisite piece of American opera literature. Thomas Moore had an excellent compositional quality of georgeous accompaniment for his singers. Read more
Published on March 4 2003 by D. Fair
5.0 out of 5 stars The entire cast does a brilliant job!!!
I want to start this review by voicing my appreciation of the amazing Beverly Sills. She is an absolutely great soprano. Read more
Published on Dec 27 2002
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the three great American Operas
Barber's Vanessa, The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess and Moore and Latouche' Balladof Baby Doe. If for nothing else, you must buy this set for Beverly Sills singing Douglas Moore's... Read more
Published on May 31 2002 by Kenneth S. Wheelock
5.0 out of 5 stars The Real West and the American Spirit in an American Opera
Douglas Moore's Ballad of Baby Doe opens with a rollicking wide-open western theme in Leadville, Colorado that quickly turns to a rucus street scene. Read more
Published on Dec 1 2001 by Jeremiah Fay
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb!
Sills is captured in pristine voice! The purity of line and timber are a wonder. Her way with words are legendary and the effortlessness with which it all comes together makes this... Read more
Published on Nov. 16 2001 by D. J. Edwards
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