on 12 March 2016
Renata Tebaldi recorded Aida just seven years later with Decca, again, but in stereo under Karajan. Here Tebaldi demonstrates why she was grabbed so quickly by Decca to challenge Callas on EMI, and whilst I would not want to choose between them, there is something about Tebaldi that is just right for Aida.
When Mario Del Monaco opens his mouth you'll have never heard anything like it before. He has his detractors (haters, more like) but I think in the right role, like Radames, he is wonderful. His timbre is so dark and steel-like. It's just a wow!
Ebe Stignani was replaced by Giulietta Simionato for the stereo recording in 1959, but on this recording she is all you need for Amneris - ample volume, and a comforting timbre. Aldo Protti, similarly, was overshadowed by his contemporaries (Taddei, Bastianini, Merrill. MacNeil, Gobbi) but he had a fine robust baritone voice. Alberto Erede brings all the forces together quite ably.
The sound is great for 1952, but of course they couldn't cover all bases with an opera of this scale, so the chorus is distant.
If you want the definitive Aida this is probably not it (for that you should buy the Caballe/Muti on EMI, or my favourite the Price/Solti on DECCA) but this is worth having purely to hear an all-Italian cast of the golden era. Never the like again, they say, and I can't disagree.
on 5 October 2001
Caballe and Bergonzi are fantastic however the audience gets rowdy and ruins the mood of the opera. If you like live recordings, then this recording is a nice set to have. However, the Music sounds a bit suffocated, as if the theater was overcrowded or the recording equipment was not terribly good.