This album served as my introduction to the artistry of Anna Moffo. She, like other sopranos who had the "misfortune" of appearing on the opera scene during the supremacy of Joan Sutherland, is often overlooked. Ms. Moffo is sometimes reduced to being little more than a footnote in the catalog of 20th century sopranos and is often referred to as simply being "a good soprano." However, she was more than good, she was one of the greats.
Overall, I was pleased with the majority of the selections on the CD. Her interpretation of the Lakme's Bell Song is not the best on record. Indeed, Sutherland's recordings of the aria are technically superior, but Moffo's performance here is not unsatisfactory. Her coloratura technique is passable, but she seems to be in a rush to get the final High E out of the way (so does Maria Callas on the La Divina 3 album).
Her "Signore, Ascolta," is breathtaking. She takes on the broken spirit of Liu and delivers an emotionally fluid performance.
In similar fashion, she performs the absolute BEST "Tu che di gel sei cinta" I have ever heard. If you buy the CD for no other reason, listen to the way she executes the emotional turmoil of Liu in her singing. Moffo is in total control. For some reason, most sopranos rush through this aria way too quickly, but here, Moffo takes advantage of the beautiful melody/orchestration and offers us a lush, legato performance. She sings in perfect synchronization with the orchestra. It's almost the same effect as if she were accompanying herself on the piano in free meter. I know there are many Maria Callas fans out there (including myself) but not even she can match the emotional depth and sheer vocal coloring that Moffo delivers in this aria.
I'm glad that I purchased this album. Anna Moffo is a genuine, undiscovered treasure for any opera enthusiast. Personally, she sounds very similar to Leontyne Price at times (except with more power in the middle and lower ranges and a more pleasant vibrato). I love the deceptive power of her seemingly demure voice. It has that cosmetically superficial beauty that is immediately pleasing, but just beneath the surface there is a notable muscle power to firmly support the complete vocal package (I love it!) The audio is superb and gives the impression of a grand opera hall. There's much to love about this CD. Don't miss out.