Despite several rave reviews, I am with the Santa Fe listener on this one: it is a lacklustre affair in recessed sound, lacking the drive and fire both Pretre and Solti (especially, in his fabulous 1981 set) bring to this mercurial piece. Indeed, Davis' own earlier version is far preferable. The choir is ragged and quite often strained, Skhosa's odd vibrato makes her sound permanently flat and her French is poor, Davis' tempi are limp - absurdly so at the start of the "D'amour l'ardente flamme" - and everyone, apart from Sabbatini, is ordinary. Just compare Skhosa's run-through of Marguerite compared with Janet Baker's deeply felt and sublimely sung rendition in the old (1969) version, or Pertusi's perfectly adequate assumption of Méphistophélès compared with Van Dam's spine-chilling suavity on the Solti. Sabbatini is the honourable exception; his French is good and he brings real passion - including a ringing C sharp - to his Faust, bringing him into the same league as Gedda and Keith Lewis on the Inbal set. (Riegel is the comparative weakness on the Solti, but he is more than adequate.) Turning up the volume to compensate for the low recorded dynamic only serves to emphasise the inadequacies of this performance.
I am afraid that I find many of these Davis/LSO live peformances to be over-rated and disappointing; I include the Falstaff (also with Pertusi) and the Berlioz "Romeo et Juliette". I have bought them after reading rave reviews and as they are so cheap, played them and given them away. I suggest yout turn to the Solti, Markevitch or the Pretre (see my reviews for all three) if you want to hear this piece done properly; the newer Chung sports the advantages of Terfel as the demon and Keith Lewis' Faust, but the latter is no longer as sweet and sappy as he was for Inbal and the rest of the cast, including Von Otter's bland, characterless Marguerite and Victor Van Halem's past-it Brander, cannot measure up.