This recording of Beatrice di Tenda is just one among the many very great bel canto recordings that Joan Sutherland and Richard Bonynge did. This opera is not often performed and even Dame Joan did not sing the role of Beatrice on stage more than 5 times. There is two live recordings catching Sutherland in this role; both are notable for supreme singing and bad sound quality. This Decca studio recording dating from 1966 is better. Joan Sutherland was very much in her vocal prime at that time; her large, agile and above all extremely beautiful voice stunned the whole world. The role of Beatrice is not an easy one, but for Dame Joan it certainly seemed to be. All elements are in place. The thrills, the portamentos and the top notes (several gigantic high e flats and even e naturals)...what more can one beg for??? Well, perhaps diction and dramatic intensity, but that does not matter much. The rest of the cast is also good indeed, but only Sutherland is at Sutherland-level. That must also be said about the other superstar on this recording: Luciano Pavarotti. He was at the beginning of his career and this was his first recorded collaboration with Sutherland and Bonynge (with La Fille de Regiment soon to come). As for the conducting, we must admit that there are better conductors than Richard Bonynge. However, he was a specialist in the field of bel canto and his sense for details suits this music very well. Over the years he got better and better (sadly Sutherland got worse), but he is good here (in 1966) too. I have always liked his conducting, whereas others have not. On the third cd there are some "bonuses"; Sutherland sings Bellini arias: taken from the Sutherland/Bonynge recordings on Decca. The recording of "Casta Diva" from 1964 is remarkable, probably one of the best around.