In the 1950s EMI's leading A&R man, Walter Legge, made a series of recordings with Herbert von Karajan conducting that set the standard for studio recordings of opera. This "Falstaff" is probably the most brilliant example of their collaboration: a flawlessly cast set which sounds like an imaginative performance, but which also has all the accuracy and polish possible in the studio. The opera itself is so quick-moving and complex that no-one records it lightly. There are many fine recordings, conducted by no less Toscanini, Solti and Bernstein. But this performance has a balance, elegance and sheer accomplishment that place it in a special category. And in Tito Gobbi, it boasts the most mercurial of Falstaffs.