Arias from Le dame blanche, La Joile Fille de Perth, La Favorite, Les Troyens, Le Postillon de Lomjumeau , Lakmé, Werther, Mignon, La Belle Hèléne, and Roméo et Juliette
Juan Diego Flórez, tenor; Chorus and Orchestra of Teatro Bologna/Roberto Abbado, cond.
DECCA B0020307 TT: 64:15

PUCCINI: Arias from Il Tabarro, Gianni Schicchi, Turandot, La Bohème, Tosca, Le Fanciulla del West, Manon Lescaut, and Edgar
José Cura, tenor; Philharmonia Orch/Plácido Domingo, cond.
ERATO LCO200 TT: 71 min

Songs from Oklahoma, South Pacific, Carousel, Paint Your Wagon, Brigadoon, Knickerbocker Holliday, My Fair Lady, Very Warm for May
, and Showboat. WAGNER Music from Die Meistersinger and Die Walküre.
George London, bass-baritone; The Roland Shaw Orchestra/ Vienna Philharmonic Orch/Hans Knappertsbusch, cond. (Wagner)
DECCA 480 8163 TT: 71:35

No question that Juan Diego Floréz is a spectacular artist in his chosen repertory. His security and ease of production are remarkable, and in performance he is a charmer with his dashing good looks and charisma. His voice has a brittle quality not always pleasant to hear, as evidenced on this new progrm of French arias recorded in Teatro Bologna in July of last year. Floréz admirers will be delighted, although his singing of two arias from Werther clearly show he is out of his element in such repertory. Complete texts are provided.

Argentinian tenor José Cura (b. 1961 already had a good start on his operatic career when he won the Plácido Domingo Operalia competition. His robust, rich sound resulted in appearances in a number of opera houses, and in 1997 this Puccini album was recorded. It shows Cura at his best, which is very good indeed. He also is a conductor and director, and was responsible for the disasterous Samson and Delilah in a 2010 production in which he also sang. It was a disaster in every way (REVIEW). Other videos mentioned on this site are Edgar (REVIEW), Otello (REVIEW) and Andrea Chenier (REVIEW), none of which are memorable. Here we have the opportuniy to hear Cura in his prime, and this previously issued recording now iw less expensive..

Canadian bass-baritone George London (1920 - 1986) was a major figure on the opeatic scene for several decades. He made his Met debut in 1951 and sang 270 performances in a wide variety of operas including Don Giovanni, The Magic Flute, Tosca, Aida, Boris Godunov, Parsifal, Carmen, Faust and The Tales of Hoffman. He was the first American singer in the title role of Boris Godunov at the Bolshoi Opera in 1960. He was a favoite at Bayreuth and sang Wotan in Das Rheingold in the famous 1958 Decca recoding. Here we have him in a light mood, recordings made in 1957-1958. He is perfectly at home in this repertory, and orchestral accompaniments are rich. A fine issue!

R.E.B. (July 2014)