In every respect, Sutherland's second studio recording is the benchmark for this work. Her performance remains supreme technically, with dazzling coloratura etc etc, as expected. But it is far more than that. Her Lucia is a real flesh and blood woman and she wrings evey last drop of pathos out of the role - with the most beautiful, evenly produced voice of the 20th century. And to cap it all, she sings it a semi-tone higher than any other recorded performance - as Donizetti intended it! Milnes is also wonderfully dramatic and Sutherland's scenes with him raise this set to a compendium of truly great singing. Pavarotti warbles beautifully but, like most of his interpretations, it could be any composer from the first half of the 19th century. This aside, however, you have to give in to Dame Joan's heart stopping interpretation. Many have tried, but no-one comes near her full realisation, in every aspect, of this key bel canto role.
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