Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Giacomo Puccini: Complete Operas and Other Works on Spotify

Shostakovich: "What do you think of Puccini?'" Britten: "I think his operas are dreadful.'" Shostakovich: "No, Ben, you are wrong. He wrote marvellous operas but dreadful music!" - An overgrown joke.

Giacomo Puccini (1858–1924) was an Italian composer whose operas, including La bohème, Tosca, Madama Butterfly, and Turandot, are among the most frequently performed in the standard repertoire. Some of his arias, such as "O mio babbino caro" from Gianni Schicchi, "Che gelida manina" from La bohème, and "Nessun dorma" from Turandot, have become part of popular culture. - Wikipedia

This playlist collects Puccini's complete operas, sorted in chronological order, as well as small scale works for string quartet and orchestra, songs for voice and piano, and sacred music including Messa di Gloria. See list below for conductor/star cast/label info. Every opera is linked to Wikipedia, where you can find links for synopsis and libretto. For the most famous operas, I also put in a highlights album with different casts after the complete recording. La bohème is from the 11-CD Puccini Edition (Decca), Tosca is from the 17-CD Puccini: The Operas (EMI), and Suor Angelica is from the 15-CD Puccini: The Great Operas (Decca), so you can also find all these great collections in this playlist.
  1. Le Villi, José Cura, Nuova Era
  2. Edgar, Domingo, DG
  3. Manon Lescaut, Callas, EMI
  4. La bohème, Pavarotti, Decca
  5. Tosca, Levine, EMI
  6. Madama Butterfly, Barbirolli, EMI
  7. La fanciulla del West, Matačić, EMI
  8. La rondine, Pannano, EMI
  9. Il tabarro, Pannano, EMI
  10. Suor Angelica, Tebaldi, Decca
  11. Gianni Schicchi, Gobbi, EMI
  12. Turandot, Karajan, DG
The 2nd part of the playlist consists of non-opera works and two albums of rarities: Chailly's Puccini Discoveries (including Luciano Berio's 2001 completion of Turandot), and Domingo's Puccini ritrovato (including original or alternative versions of famous arias).

Here's the Spotify playlist: Giacomo Puccini: Complete Operas and Other Works (530 tracks, total time: 1 day) Ctrl (CMD)+G to browse in album view. All operas are available on Spotify UK and USA in their entirety. You can also find four excellent introductory audiobooks for Puccini's operas on Spotify, from Naxos Educational.


2 comments:

  1. Thanks so much for sharing these playlists, in particular the Naxos Educational audiobooks. When it comes to Classical music on Spotify, nobody need look further than your compilations ulyssestone. You've done the greatest service to fans of classical music like myself. Thanks again!

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  2. A slightly eccentric choice I thought. Much though I love Callas as Manon, if only one of Callas's Puccini operas is to be selected, then surely that should be Tosca (that famous first recording with De Sabata conducting). I don't recall the Levine ever being at the top of anyone's list. For "La Fanciulla Del West", surely the palm must go to DG's excellent recording with Domingo. Pappano, by the way is the name of the conductor you were looking for for La Rondine (no argument there) and Il Tabarro. Tebaldi's Suor Angelica is not one of her best Puccini roles, captured a little late in her career, so I'd opt for Scotto, De Los Angeles or Ricciarelli. As for Turandot, for all its splendour, I really cannot put up with Ricciarelli's overparted Turandot. Better by far is the Mehta, with Sutherland, and if sound is not a barrier, Callas on EMI.

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