As a singer, I have to purchase many vocal scores. As scores go, this one is pretty sturdy, though I haven't done anything serious to it yet, and I've only had it for a month. The binding looks solid, and it should enjoy a long shelf-life in my repertoire collection.
The text is clear and easy to read, as are the musical notes. Ensemble parts are clearly marked, easy to distinguish, and are consistantly labeled. There is actually quite a bit of room beneath the Italian to write your own translations of the score, which is what I prefer to do, as most of the translations in other scores are worthless. This is the complete vocal score, so cuts are not indicated, leaving the conductor to decide the placement of the cuts. A nice feature are clearly legible, consistant rehearsal numbers, which follow tradition, so even with a different score than other castmates or the conductor, I can still easily find my spot for rehearsals.
On the downside, and this is typical for most scores, articulation mistakes are rather common, appoggiaturas are not labeled, and there are errors in ending rhythmic values. This is frustrating, as I pride myself on being an accurate musician, and it can get tedious when you have to relearn something through no fault of your own. It wasn't so evident on my part, which is quite small, but the main characters have to deal with quite a few instances of this.
Funny, the reviewer of the Schirmer score for this opera said that the Ricordi score was more expensive. Perhaps it was in reference to a different Ricordi score, as this score was considerably cheaper than the Schirmer. Schirmer will suggest cuts and offer notes on Bel Canto performance practice, which may be useful to some, but I've sung a lot of this repertoire, so the practice is second Nature to me, and sometimes the Schirmer appoggiaturas (sp, it's early) are incorrect. It was a bargain and I needed the score quickly, so I gave it a 3/5 stars.