|The DG Figaro conducted by Claudio Abbado.|
Original slip-case cover art, with the famous chair.
Which is to say, they're really ugly.
Now, we all know that record labels, with their deep vaults, are endlessly recycling and regurgitating their catalogues, especially following the over-recording of the CD boom, where every kapellmeister worth his salt would be laughed out of the musician's union unless he recorded heavily.
All over Europe and America, these first (and second) rate maestros felt inadequate unless they recorded and released a Bruckner (or Mahler) symphony cycle, a complete set of Mozart operas, and possibly a Ring. Some of these performances were released. Others languished (and may continue to languish) in the import catalogue or gathering dust in a German warehouse.
|Same case. Same recording. New art. Ugh.|
Which is why this supposed "consumer friendly" Opera! series has come out. I guess they figure by stripping anything to do with opera from the covers, people roaming record shops will grab and buy--just because it's, y'know, RED.
This Figaro is just one of the series. Other reissues getting this non-deluxe treatment include:
- Sir Georg Solti's Aida with Leontyne Price and Jon Vickers. Hope it's the remaster and not the "bad" original CD pressing with the dodgy sound.
- Sir Colin Davis' Peter Grimes with Vickers and Heather Harper.
- Jeffery Tate's Tales of Hoffmann with Jessye Norman and Cheryl Studer.
- The Metropolitan Opera/James Levine Die Walküre, which is currently available as part of a budget box with the whole Levine Ring. Bet the Met just loves the purple-and-orange cover with their new Ring in progress.
- Cavalleria Rusticana and Pagliacci. Cav is under Semyn Bychkov. Pag is led by Riccardo Chailly. Both are good conductors who deserve better fates.
- The second, lesser Herbert von Karajan recording of Der Rosenkavalier with Anna Tomowa-Sintow. Skip it.
- Giuseppe Sinopoli's Madama Butterfly with Mirella Freni, near the end of her career and pretending to be a teenager.
- That really weird Lucia di Lammermoor (conducted by Ion Marin. (Who?)) with Cheryl Studer (again!) and Placìdo Domingo totally miscast as Edgardo. See above.
- Rameau's Hippolyte et Aricie conducted by Marc Minkowski. Maybe it's not a total loss.