Though recorded 25 years ago, this is still one of the best performances of Tosca on disc. Montserrat Caballe may not have been the most convincing of Floria Toscas on stage, but here her beautiful voice, intelligent phrasing and wide range of vocal colour, helped no doubt by the sympathetic conducting of Colin Davis, combine to produce a thoroughly believable characterisation. Carreras captivates with his then glorious vocal timbre and impeccable legato line, while Ingvar Wixell's Scarpia is both powerful and subtle. Supporting roles are well cast and characterised, with the young Samuel Ramey a strong Angelotti. Colin Davis conducts an exciting performance. But even more desirable are Callas, di Stefano and the incomparable Tito Gobbi under the dramatically forceful Victor de Sabata.
© BBC Music Magazine 2001