Puccini's early opera is perhaps an immature work, but does indeed contain plenty of exciting and hugely enjoyable material - as well as a good deal of characteristic touches. There are many good melodies and several rousing scenes that only occasionally verge on the banal or overly pompous. It's title role is certainly a challenging one, not the least for the stamina it requires - Edgar is present on the scene for much of the time, and much of his music is pretty loud and dramatic. But Placido Domingo is unfazed by the challenge and sings superbly throughout. Not only is his voice still in superb shape; he also imbues the role with plenty of passion as well as a nuanced characterization.
In short, Domingo steals the show. The rest of the cast is generally good, but certainly not in the same class. Adriana Damato is fine but a little hard-toned; she is best in the dramatic scenes, where she admittedly impresses. Marianne Cornetti is similarly good (in a difficult role), and Juan Pons does overall acquit himself well, even if his Frank is not as sharply characterized as one could perhaps have wished - he is also a little approximate in certain entrances as well as with regard to his pitch. But fair enough, this set is still a must for Domingo, and the Coro e Orchestra dell'Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia under Alberto Veronesi are effectively dramatic and fiery throughout. A must for Domingo fans, then, but a rewarding acquisition for any opera fan, one that contains a fine if not magnificent work. The sound and presentation are very good.