RUN to buy this new Gala release which I bought for $9.99 today at
Record Explosion in New York. I read about this performance yesterday
on the list, and couldn't wait. I must refute yesterday's poster who
claimed that the sound was just okay. Honey, I don't know what you
expected but this is one of the best sounding live recordings I've
ever heard. It is obviously an FM stereo broadcast, and frankly, the
sound is better by far than the current Met broadcasts.
The bulk of the cast (no pun intended):
Adriana: Montserrrat Caballe
Maurizio: Placido Domingo
Principessa di Boullion: Janet Coster
Michonnet: Attilio D'Orazi
Choeurs National & Orchestre Lyrique de
Conductor: Gianfranco Masini
First off let me say that you have to love indulgent Italian opera and
VERY indulgent Italian singing to love this performance. Given that,
we have a gem here. I admit I am a sucker for this work, say what you
Caballe enters to a nice little ovation and proceeds to a very slow
and luxurious "Io son l'umile ancella". The last three top notes of
which are, of course, done piannissimo. The last one on the "Moro" she
pulls off a messa di voce that garners a thunderous applause. My only
quibble is that she sings "Mooo", no "r" consonant, but that was
Domingo's "La dolcissima effigie" is wonderful too, with passion to
spare, there appears to be just a touch of tightness this night for
him along the way, but all the top notes are there. His voice does
catch though on the first "bella tu sei".
One excerpt for the ages is Caballe's "Giusto Cielo" in Act 3. My God
she spits it out! I imagine there wasn't a piece of scenery unchewed.
I had to listen to this three times and got the chills each time. Buy
the disc for this scene alone! If you are an opera queen this will be
mother's milk to you I promise.
One minimal caveat about the cast is the slightly under-powered mezzo
of Janet Coster. The "acerba volutta" takes her to the limit of her
abilities, but she manages some good chest tones along the way.
Based on the above, you can guess what the rest of the opera is like.
So I won't repeat myself.
Go buy this one.