"DECCA'S MOST WANTED" - ten classic recordins of recitals from legends of The Golden Era.


These are welcome additions to the cvatalog. According to Decca this is the first time any of these have appeared on CD, which is not accurate as many of them have—but these are convenient collections. All are mid-priced, but, unfortunately, there are no program notes aside from a complete l. isting of tracks and all available recording information. All of these offer full value: almost each disk is maximum playing time.Each booklet has one or two blank pages; more pertinent information could easily have been included. Here's a brief description of the ten disks, singers and the recordings:

Catalan tenor JOSÉ CARRERAS (b. 1946) had a fantastic career until it was shortened by leukemia in 1987. He was able to conquer this, and returned to the operatic stage, appearing often as one of The Three Tenors. This CD contains his first Phillips 1976 - 1979 recordings, arias of Verdi, Leoncavallo and Cilea. (DECCA 480 8142 - TT: 70:18)

Turkish-Swiss bass FERNANDO CORENA (1918 - 1984) was a major figure on the operatic scene mid-century. singing regularly at the Vienna State Opera and the Met. He specialized in opera buffa and made many recordings. This CD displays him in music of Mozart and Cimarosa, recorded 1950 -1960 (DECCA 480 8146 TT: 77:50).

Italian tenor FLAVIANO LABO (1927 - 1901-1991) was a welcome visitor at the Met in a variety of roles, and also appeared in most other major opera houses. He died in an automoile accident in 1991 .Labo made relatively few recordings. This disk offers performnces from 1956 - 1977, all standard tenor arias very well presented. (DECCA 480 8162 TT: 75:42)

Swedish baritone INGAR WIXELL (1931 0 2011) was highly respected and appeared in many major opera houses. He was known particularly for his Verdi evident on this all-Verdi CD recorded 1973-1979. (DECCA 480 8186 TT: 70:41)

Canadian-born bass JOSEPH ROULEAU (b. 1929) appeared in many major opera houses, particularly the Roya Opera in Engand. He was a favorite associate of Joan Sutherland and made some recordings with her. He sang a wide variety of roles many displayed on this CD, music of Verdi, Bizet, Gouonod,Massenet, Meyerbeer and Thomas, all recorded for Decca in1973. . The CD is filled out with a group of Russian arias sung by Russian bass RAFAEL ARIE (1922 - 1988), also Decca recordings from 1953 (DECCA 480 8167 TT: 79:57)

French lyric soprano JANINE MICHEAU (1914-1876) sang in many of the world's leading operas, interntionally known particularly for her Gounod, Massenet and Debussy. She is heard in recodings made for Decca 1947 - 1953, arias of Gounod, Offenbach, Thomas, Rossini, and excerpts from Gounod's Mireille and Bizet's Pearl Fishers (DECCA 480 480 8155 - TT: 79:58)

AmericanS tenor JAMES MC CRACKEN (1926-1981) and soprano SANDRA WARFIELD ( 1921-2009) were married and often performed together, particularly in Samson and Delilah. He was a leading tenor at the Met for some years, known for his Otello. Warfield also had a long distinguished career and on this CD we can hear them in 1964-1965 Decca recordings of duets and arias of Saint-Saëns, Verdi, Bizet and Wagner (DECCA 480 8165 TT: 77:00)

French baritone GÉRARD SOUZAY (1918 - 2004) was legendary for his performances of French mélodie, but he also sang a wide range of other music including contemporary works written for him. This CD offer recordings mde in 1952 and 1963, all Baroque arias in which he specialized (DECCA 480 8179 TT: 78:44)

Dutch bass ARNOLD VAN MILL ( 1921 - 1996) . He first sang at Bayreuth in 1951 but shortly thereafter a conflict with the Wagner sons stopped future appearances. He was known internationally for his Wagner, Verdi and Mozart appearing mostly in Europe. A Philips 1962 recording of arias of Lortzing, Nicolai, Weber, Beethoven and Cornelius (surprising no Wagner!) is featured, and the CD is filled with a recital of Russian songs recorded by Decca in 1951 sung by Bulgarian bass RAPHAEL ARIE (1922 - 1988). (DECCA 480 8107 TT: 79:57)

R.E.B. (June 2014)