- Released: June 9, 1998
- Originally Released: 1998
- Label: Decca
- 1.Turnadot: Nessun Dorma!
- 2.Gianni Schicchi: O Mio Babbino Caro
- 3.Manon Lescaut: Donna Non Vidi Mai
- 4.La Boheme: Musetta's Waltz Song
- 5.Tosca: Recondita Armonia
- 6.Madame Butterfly: Un Bel Di
- 7.Tosca: E Lucevan Le Stelle
- 8.La rondine: Il Sogno Di Doretta
- 9.La Boheme: Che Gelida Manina
- 10.La Boheme: Si, Mi Chiamano Mini
- 11.La Boheme: O Soave Fanciulla - Love Duet, Act I
- 12.Ch'ella mi creda libero
- 13.Tosca: Ah, Quegli Occhi...Qual'occhio Al Mondo - Love Duet, Act I
- 14.Tosca: Vissi D'Arte
- 15.Madame Butterfly: Vogliatemi Bene - Love Duet, Act I
- 16.La Boheme: Donde Lieta Usci
- 17.Turandot: Signore, Ascolta!
- 18.Turandot: In Questa Reggia
Song previews provided courtesy of iTunes
Ordinarily, it pays to be wary of collections such as these, which often promise a lot but deliver a mishmash of disconnected excerpts. This disc, however, is something of an exception: you really do get just about all of Puccini's best arias, which is possible, because he didn't write so many operas that choosing the best moments becomes a matter of the producer's personal taste. Also, Puccini's operas are so popular that every major label has excellent complete recordings of all of them, so in making this compilation it was possible to cast from strength: all the singers here are fine. In fact, the only proviso that needs to be made before you rush out and add this disc to your collection is that it's wrong to assume that all of Puccini's best tunes lie in his arias. The opening 10 minutes of any one of his operas will tell you that's not true. So by all means enjoy this disc--then start sampling the operas complete. --David Hurwitz
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