La Cenerentola might just be my favorite Rossini opera, and this Abbado version is probably the best there is. In fact, this recording was Abbado's first as an opera conductor in 1972. He delivers an utterly spirited, sparkling and lively version, warm and humane, and has the LSO play their hearts out; the orchestral playing is technically impressive, of course, rhythmically exact, but more importantly manage to realize a range of colors and textures and a freshness that one rarely hears in a Rossini opera.
The singers might perhaps be a little more variable. Teresa Berganza is wonderfully idiomatic and sympathetic as Cenerentola, giving a touching and vivid, beautifully sung and warmly characterized portrayal - one which I cannot really imagine being surpassed. Luigi Alva is a steady, impressively sung Don Ramiro and Ugo Trama, despite being perhaps a little heavy-handed at times, is generally good as Alidoro. Evaluating Capecchi's performance is more difficult - on the one hand, he gives us an impressively sung role, with lots of character and color, but on the other he does seem to lack a little in humor. Something of the same applies to Montarsolo's Don Magnifico. I have no qualms about Guglielmi or Zannini who delivers generally finely sung and characterized parts.
Yet the glory of the set is undeniably Abbado and the LSO, and I believe he is responsible for the fact that the ensembles are consistently magnificent; an all-important feature of a Rossini opera, of course. Importantly, the 1972 sound quality is exemplary; vivid and clear. In the end, this is really not a recording you'd want to be without, despite the fact that equally good - perhaps even better - singing can be found elsewhere. I'd say it's a classic.