2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Two excellent reviews on Amazon.com make too much comment from me redundant but having only just acquired the set after resisting it for many years, I'll add my endorsement to the previous reviewers' sound and perceptive comments.
I suppose I did not listen carefully to this recording sooner because I feared that Suliotis (or "Souliotis", as she later styled herself) was too wild and uneven and Gobbi too close to the end of his career. It is true that he is a little dry and bleak of voice up top, but that had been the case for several years by 1965 and it does not stop him from delivering a typically nuanced and incisive characterisation of a part tailor-made for his voice - and sometimes the sheer vocal quality is still impressive, in both declamatory and softly-sung passages. Suliotis is literally terrific; no other Verdi rôle apart from Lady Macbeth could have suited her better. She exploits the break between her registers to huge dramatic effect: the lower register is cavernous and commanding, the top notes laser-like in intensity even though the voice isn't properly "joined up". The supporting cast, while not as starry as that of the more recent Sinopoli recording, is more than adequate; Carlo Cava's Zaccaria and Giovanni Foiani's High Priest are two basses who deserve special mention - and the basses in the Wiener Staatsopernchor are particularly resonant, too.
I still enjoy the Sinopoli version, too, although some find his direction too frenetic and disjointed. There is also the hard-driven Muti account (see my review); although I always enjoy Manuguerra's refined baritone, Scotto's screechiness is a trial to some, for all her artistry.