I was present on the evening of this recording, and although I can testify that it delivered all the excitement you could desire of a live performance of this superlative music, I was simultaneously wholly aware that as much as I was enjoying it, it would no way stand up as a recording in comparison with established, classic versions.
But let's start with the advantages: extraordinarily fine playing from the LSO, fiery conducting from Colin Davis, who really has the measure of the score and infuses it with the kind of nervy, febrile brilliance the many moments of high drama demand, yet also commands the poise and poetry passages such as Desdemona's prayer require. The recorded sound is wonderfully spacious and the crackling electricity of a live performance is wonderfully conveyed. But...
None of the three principals has the right voice for the part. Best by far is Gerald Finley; he has all the notes and serpentine subtleties to portray Iago and acts superbly with the voice he has - but it is not a voice with sufficient Italianate ring or bite; listen to Gobbi or Valdengo or even Warren for that. Schwanewilms is anonymous and even vapid compared with such famous previous exponents as Freni, Tebaldi or, going further back, Muzio. Simon O'Neill deserves all praise for stepping in at the last minute to replace the indisposed Torsten Kerl; he had never sung a public performance yet is virtually note perfect and sings with passion and conviction. But the voice is far too light and throaty for the role and it is one thing to do a sterling job as an understudy and another to set yourself up in direct competition with live recordings by Del Monaco and Vinay. No competition, in fact. In addition, Colin Davis's habit of crooning along loudly with the singers might once have been endearing or eccentric but is fast becoming an intrusive and embarrassing distraction; someone needs to tell him to stop it.
So this is a fine souvenir of an enjoyable evening - but no more than that.