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By Giuseppe Verdi

VIDEO: Luciano Pavarotti, Katia Ricciarelli, Bianca Berini, Judith Blegen, Louis Quilico; Patane conducting [English subtitles]; Metropolitan Opera, 1980; PAR 2362

AUDIO: A) MELODRAM 26039: Giuseppe Di Stefano, Maria Callas, Ettore Bastianini, Gavazzeni conducting ("live," La Scala, 1957); Gavazzeni's baton gives us the most exciting performance available; "one of the most inspired Verdi performances preserved in sound," Henry Wisneski; NOT to be confused with EMI's Di Stefano/Callas studio set under Maestro Votto, 1956--a tentative recording compared with this "live" 1957 performance; this spectacular broadcast has been preserved in fairly good mono [G.R.]

B) METROPOLITAN OPERA GUILD (for a King's ransom(!)) or THE FOURTIES (a specialty label): Jussi Bjoerling, Zinka Milanov, Alexander Sved, Panizza conducting ("live," at the Met, 1940); even more opulent voices without quite so much drama--though there is still more of that here than on any commercially available studio product; only fair sound, mono [G.R.]

C) RCA: Carlo Bergonzi, Leontyne Price, Robert Merrill, Leinsdorf conducting; this may not have so much drama as A or B but there is superbly beautiful singing here in wonderfully spacious sound; Bergonzi was the Gustavo/Riccardo of his generation and Leontyne Price may be just about the most sumptuous voice ever heard on discs as Amelia; stereo [G.R.]


For Further Reading:

The Operas of Verdi : From Il Trovatore to La Forza Del Destino (Vol. 2, Revised), by Julian Budden

A Masked Ball/Un Ballo in Maschera (Opera Guide, No. 40), by Giuseppe Verdi

Encounters with Verdi, by Marcello Conati, Richard Stokes, Julian Budden

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