'New York Times' Review - Tre Voci.
March 17, 2015, 12:00 am
Joan Sutherland performing at the Metropolitan Opera in 1976.
Joan Sutherland performing at the Metropolitan Opera in 1976. Credit J. Heffernan/Mertropolitan Opera
Joan Sutherland, soprano; Luciano Pavarotti, tenor; Montserrat Caballé, soprano; Zubin Mehta, conductor; London Philharmonic Orchestra
(Decca 478 7815; two CDs)
Full disclosure: I am no audiophile. I’m still catching up with Blu-ray as a video technology. But now Decca has issued some classic opera recordings from its catalog remastered from the original tapes in what is called Blu-ray Pure Audio. I’m loath to apply the word “pure” to anything. Still, listening to this reissue of the landmark 1972 recording of Puccini’s “Turandot,” with the dynamic Zubin Mehta conducting the London Philharmonic Orchestra and a dream cast headed by Joan Sutherland and Luciano Pavarotti, I have to say the sound quality is clean, vivid and strikingly detailed. Ms. Sutherland, the reigning bel canto soprano of her day, was tempted into the studio to sing Turandot, a vocally weighty role she never performed in a house. Her voice is gleaming and penetrating, and Mr. Mehta draws surprising intensity from an artist who could be stolid. Mr. Pavarotti is in his prime as Calaf. With the sumptuous Montserrat Caballé as Liù, Nicolai Ghiaurov as Timur and, of all people, Peter Pears as the old emperor, this is quite the cast. (Anthony Tommasini)
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MUSIC BY TORU TAKEMITSU, CLAUDE DEBUSSY AND SOFIA GUBAIDULINA
Tre Voci (Kim Kashkashian, violist; Marina Piccinini, flutist; Sivan Magen, harpist)
Debussy’s polyglot Sonata for Flute, Viola and Harp is the seed that inspired this stellar collaboration of three musicians at the top of their game: the Grammy Award-winning violist Kim Kashkashian, the flutist Marina Piccinini and the harpist Sivan Magen. Their recording of Debussy’s dazzling, inventive sonata is full of sonic pleasures, as are the two new pieces, the pensive, poetic “And Then I Knew ’Twas Wind” by Toru Takemitsu and Sofia Gubaidulina’s Eastern reverie “Garten von Freuden und Traurigkeiten.” (Corinna da Fonseca-Wollheim)