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Product Details

  • Performer: Adami, Janes, Wurtemberg Po, Rossini Choir Altensteig, Bonynge Riedel
  • Composer: Meyerbeer
  • Audio CD (June 20 2006)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Nop
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #244,859 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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Product Description

Meyerbeer is probably best remembered for his contributions to French grand opera in Les Huguenots, Le prophete and L'Africaine. Semiramide is an early work dealing with legends of the earlier part of the life of Semiramis, Queen of Babylon. The plot is o

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0xa88cc090) out of 5 stars 9 reviews
34 of 36 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa88173e4) out of 5 stars More Great Meyerbeer July 14 2006
By Cedric B. - Published on
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This, one of Meyerbeer's earliest Italian operas, is a great find. Opera Rara has done a fine job recording other Meyerbeer rarities but this Naxos recording is a wonderful addition to the music of Meyerbeer available on cd (though the singing is nowhere near the quality of Opera Rara recordings). Though a live preformance the sound is excellent with almost no distracting noise from the audience except applause. While not in the same league with Meyerbeer's later French grand operas, considering how early a piece this is, the music is very mature, with great soprano arias & duets. My only fault with the music is that it has no flavor of the time (ancient Babylon) in which the opera is set. Other than that the music is a delight. A must for anyone who enjoys bel canto opera & anyone who loves Meyerbeer in particular.
Since writing this review another recording of this opera on Dynamic has appeared. The Dynamic performance is much better sung & seems a more complete version than this Naxos edition. I own both, but if you only want one, the Dynamic is the one to own.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xb48ebd38) out of 5 stars Delightful March 7 2007
By John Cragg - Published on
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I happily confess a preferance for Meyerbeer's early -- Italian -- operas to his later French grand operas which I often find tedious. That said, it must be admitted that this is not really very self-confident bel canto writing and is as much an example of how opera practice -- at least in Italy -- was adapting to Rossini's revolution while mixing it with influeces that clearly come from previous composers, including what sounds like some direct -- but very watered down -- references to Mozart. The result is a delightful diversion -- possibly a curious description of an opera seria, but it must be noted that Naxos does not include a libretto -- let alone an English translation in their accompanying very brief booklet that does include a synopsis so it is easy not to take the plot and words very seriously. (Though this is not Rossini's peculiar aesthetic where the same melody could be made to serve equally well in comedy and tragedy.)

The two great strengths of this recording are the hugely skilled conducting of Richard Bonynge (this is the sort of music that he can really bring to life -- and interestingly here without stellar performers) and the enthusiasm with which the principals, chorus and orchestra enter into the proceedings. That none of these are really top drawer is easily forgotten as the whole performance hangs together to provide very pleasant listening. While as another reviewer noted, the forces are not of the quality that Opera Rara usually brings to similarly obscure works, there is less of a feeling of rescuing an overly neglected work and more one of putting on a performance because the music is indeed worthwhile on its own merits. Finally, the price cannot be beat while the recording quality is good.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa89e06f0) out of 5 stars Bravo, Bonynge! May 18 2008
By W. Burton - Published on
Format: Audio CD
Did it take the 80s, the 90s, or the new millenium to stop the "Bonynge Bashing"? When I think of the amount of work and inventiveness this man has given the world, (granted, much of it tailored to his wife's miracle of a voice) it makes me wonder why the erudition mongers, the MENSAS of Music ripped him a new one every chance they got.

Many ranted that he rode La Stupenda's train, but we are some distance away now and perhaps we've come to realize that it could also have been the other way round. I'm certain both he and his wife would have had brilliant careers with or without the other, but they never had to test that; Thank God. Mr. Bonynge's work here (without Dame Joan) is a marvelous example of his brilliance as conductor and dramaturge.

I have two versions of this opera, the Naxos, and the Dynamic versions. The Dynamic "full-score" Semiramide is good, worth hearing once or twice and is probably perfect for musicologists. The Dynamic version, however, (an example of all notes writ) should sit on a library shelf somewhere as a reference. Though well done, it becomes tiresome at the end.

This version, the Naxos, is never tiresome. Bonynge captures the era. He cuts tastefully, where necessary; he's given wonderful talent here (particularly, Olga Peretyatko as Tamiri) and creates a marvelous work for the theatre. One is charmed and delighted by his masterful choices throughout. Bonynge's sense of the early 19th century, his genius for conveying its drama, heart and theatrical cohesiveness is ever-present. You can't help but feel you are there, Turin, 1819. I listen to this often. It's transporting. Bravo,Bonynge!

This Semiramide comes with only a synopsis and a bit of history - no libretto. But, it is one of the best bargains the market has to offer; It's very affordable. The Dynamic version does come with libretto.

One more thing: Both are live performances, but the Dynamic will make you wince at times from the crashing, booming set changes that are heard full-out on-mic.
19 of 23 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa8890f30) out of 5 stars Good opera, well performed Sept. 30 2006
By Senior Citizen - Published on
Format: Audio CD
This opera of Meyerbeer's early days got a bad rap from a reviewer for whom I have nothing but the utmost respect. You will find that review on Classics Today which I consult several times a day. Compared to Robert Levine my knowledge of music and opera is nil and his is vast, and so I am going to chalk this up to a difference in taste. Frankly I bought this item because I enjoy Meyerbeer's music and I couldn't resist the price. After reading Mr. Levine's review I must say I was more than pleasantly surprised. This opera is not great but it is good and pleasurable to listen to. I find the singers and particularly the soprano to have extremely fine voices. I am enjoying this opera immensely and recommend it unreservedly, not just to Meyerbeer fans but to all who like early 19th century opera.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
By Dr. J. J. Kregarman - Published on
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
If you have an ear for Rossini, do not hesitate. This recording is a joy from start to finish. At it's price, it must be one of the best buys of the year. I often have found Meyerbeer a bit short winded. Not here. The melodies flow and the singing is indeed fairly good.