Along with Abbaddo's recording of Simon Boccanegra, also on DG, this set stands as a fitting testament to the conductor's tenure at La Scala in the 70s. The true sense of ensemble between the principals is clearly audible, and Cappuccilli and Verrett enjoy a rare chemistry as the guilt-wracked royal couple.
The great baritone was sometimes accused of relying too much on the sheer beauty of his instrument at the expense of dramatic involvement, but there is no sign of that fault here. Listen to the way he and Abbaddo build the tension in the recitative prior to Duncan's murder, or the breathless helplessness he conveys in the subsequent duet with Verrett.
Warmer and more italianate than Nilson (Decca), more verbally alert than Cossotto (EMI), and mercifully free of the exaggerated 'effects' employed by Zampieri (Phillips), Verrett covers the emotional gamut with Callas-like incisiveness and yet rarely displays strain in the high-lying tessitura.
Domingo and Ghiaurov are splendid in their arias, the former's following a spell-binding "O patria oppressa" from the Scala chorus.
For those who prefer their Verdi fast and furious, there is Muti on EMI with a fine cast (Milnes, Cossotto and Carreras - I find Raimondi's Banquo vapid). For me, neither that nor any other issue come near the ideal combination of subtlety and theatricality achieved here.