5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 10 December 2013
I was very impressed with this recording. It's a contender even if you want a stand-alone recording. The Cetra sound is mono and the singers are close-miked but, apart from the echo on Tagliavini in the first act, it's perfectly acceptable.
Tagliavini had a unique voice - it was powerful but he could switch to a Gigli-like dulcet falsetto, which is pleasing and used with discretion. It's a wonder why his voice deteriorated so rapidly by the early sixties. He makes a great Riccardo, evidently enjoying the role ("E scherzo od e follia" - a fine tribute to Bonci's original giggle).
Maria Curtis Verna is slightly hard of tone for my tastes but she covers Amelia's extensive range with ease - she is the quintessential dramatic soprano that Italy churned out in the 40s, 50s and 60s.
Giuseppe Valdengo was towards the end of his career here but you'd never guess it. A full-bodied baritone with all the power and anger that you want for Renato.
Pia Tassinari is wonderful, by this point she had turned to the Mezzo repertoire with amazing results, and one of the best Ulricas I've heard.
Maria Erato had the perfect voice for Oscar. I think I prefer her to the great Reri Grist.
Angelo Questa does a more than fine job with the RAI orchestra. Unfortunately there are two tiny cuts (at the end of the act II trio and in the chorus of the final scene) both adding up to a paltry 20 seconds - I kid you not - so one wonders why.
Nonetheless this is a great recording and at a bargain price you should go for it!