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Subject: Re: Barber of Seville recordings
From: Petkovic <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Petkovic <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Sun, 25 Oct 1998 21:34:06 -0500

text/plain (47 lines)

At 06:45 PM 25/10/1998 -0700, you wrote:
>What are everyone's favorite Barber of Seville recordings?
>Two I'm considering are:
>The recording conducted by Gelmetti, with Hampson, Metzner, and Hadley.
>The recording conducted by Levine with Beverly Sills and Sherill Milnes.
>What are your opinions on the above two recordings?  They have great
casts, but
>that doesnt always mean stellar performances.
>Other suggestions?
>Thanks a lot in advance!
>Hart Gilula

Dear Mr. Gilula and the List,

I am free to say that many, many of us would agree that the best "Il
barbiere di Siviglia" recording ever is the one with Tito Gobbi, Luigi
Alva, Maria Callas, Nicola Zaccaria, Fritz Ollendorf and the Philharmonia
Orchestra conducted by Alceo Galliera (EMI 1957, stereo). It is a
brilliant, sparkling, witty and polished performance despite some cuts
(including the Almaviva aria before the Act II finale), and I don't think
that anyone could do wrong in buying this wonderful recording. As one
critic pointed out, "Callas and Gobbi would make a dead man laugh".

A close second would be the Abbado version with Luigi Alva, Teresa
Berganza, Hermann Prey, Enzo Dara and Paolo Montarsolo (DGG, 1972);
however, the conductor's approach is rather on the serious side. The music
is complete (except for the above mentioned Almaviva's aria, which is
omitted, unfortunately). Neville Marriner's set on Philips (with Thomas
Allen, Agnes Baltsa, Francisco Arraiza, Domenico Trimarchi and Robert
Lloyd) is also a recommendation, and the music is complete.

I would by no means recommend the set with Sills (long past her prime and
quite inadequate for the role). Also to be avoided is the live performance
at La Scala (1956) with Gobbi, Callas, Alva, Rossi-Lemeni and Luise (on

I hope this helps!

Milan Petkovic
Toronto, Canada

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