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Medieval & Renaissance Music -- A recording that might expose you to the fruit of the labors of medieval Guido Monaco of Arezzo is Sunday Vespers/Vespers of the Madonna, recorded by S. Giorgio Maggiore Schola Choir, G. Ernetti, conductor (Cetra Records LPU 0046). Religious music was greatly enhanced several centuries later by the compositions of Palestrina, whose work is admirably recorded in Missa de Beata Virgine (Three Motets), sung by the Spandauer Kantorei (Turnabout TV 34-309).

One well-received interpretation of Monteverdi's famous choral work L'Incoronazione di Poppea was recorded by the Concentus Musicus Wien (Telefunken 6.35-247 HB). By the same composer, but in a different genre, is Monteverdi's Seventh Book of Madrigals, sung by an Italian vocal quartet known as the Ensemble Concerto (Tactus TAC 560 31103).

An excellent collection of the late Renaissance's sonatas, canzonettas, and madrigals is titled Music from the Time of Guido Reni, recorded by the Aurora Ensemble (Tactus TAC 56012001).

Orchestral & Operatic Works -- One excellent (and exhaustive) overview of the work of Corelli is his Complete Works, recorded by the Academia Byzantina, conducted by Carlo Chiarappa (Europa Musica Eur 350-202).

Bottesini's Virtuoso Works for Double-Bass and Strings, performed by I Solisti Agilani and conducted by Vittorio Antonelli (Nuova Era NUO 6810), might be one of the finest showcases ever for the double bass. Cherubini's Harpsichord Sonatas Nos. 1-6 provides a highly genteel and attractively restrained insight into the work of a conservative Italian classicist.

A good assemblage of great opera from the most evocative and dramatic singer who ever hit a high C on the operatic stage is Maria Callas's La Voce: Historic Recordings of the Great Diva (Suite SUI 5002). This recording brings together Callas's spectacular arias.

Current Music Stars -- Worthy of the "electric" in his name, Filippo Voltaggio is a high-voltage singer and songwriter who records songs Italians and would-be Italians love to listen to. Paolo Conte writes and performs his own material in his grainy, resonant voice redolent of Francophone singers such as Jacques Brel. His albums selling in the millions, Italian singer and composer Lucio Dalla tours the world, finding new fans in places like South America.

Laura Pausini, an Italian pop singer from Ravenna, has sold more than 26 million records and has more than 160 platinum albums.

Finally, there is Andrea Bocelli, one of our favorites. One critic wrote that a voice like Bocelli's only comes along every generation or so. Bocelli has wonderful opera skills and is a powerful pop singer as well. His language of love is universal.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.