Beverly Sills had to record the famous mad scene twice in quick succession because placing the microphone for balancing was so difficult. The end result was well justified, but the balancing problems were formidable, as was witnessed by the reviewer for the Gramaphone magazine. He records he was present at the recording session when the first run through of the Mad Scene was tackled. He said he never thought the idea would work as well as it did, but did work as he expected. He noted the contribution of the soprano herself, Beverly Sills. On that occasion she had been singing almost non-stop for nearly six hours, two full sessions, covering among other things the Sextet. The strain of then tackling a couple of 'takes' for the Mad Scene, even ones that were not expected to provide much material for the finished tape, can just be imagined. Her singing was an act of valour, and the emotional tension of her performance was of a kind that had rarely if ever been experienced in the recording studio. Vividly in the finished result (whichever particular 'take' was used) one experiences Beverly Sills as a complete and compelling actress, very different from Callas on the one hand and Sutherland (a great singer but poor actress) on the other, but plainly an artist who deserved the ovation that greeted her, when she sang the role for the first time in October 1969. Sills then had great success in the part at Covent Garden too. This is a fine set with an excellent supporting cast, alert conducting and exceptionally crisp orchestral playing at a good price. However, Ms. Sills deserves the laurel crown!