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Notes and Editorial Reviews
Mephistopheles is the spirit who denies; critics, on the side of the angels, must affirm. So: the opera itself (in case there are doubters) repays acquaintance. A richly creative score, it contains much of the life-blood—libretto as well as music—of its remarkable inventor. Thus reassured, the purchaser casts an eye over the castlists: a Domingo for a Pavarotti (for Fabritiis on Decca) as Faust, a Caballé for a Freni as Margherita. Decca then reclaim Caballé, introducing her as Helen to confront the lesser-known Josella Ligi, who still does well enough apart from some squally high notes. As Old Nick himself Decca have the relatively youthful Nicolai Ghiaurov, whose opulent voice and commanding manner EMI's Norman Treigle
cannot match. To set against that is critical affirmation number two: of the two conductors it's Rudel every time. Decca's Oliviero de Fabritiis approaches the Prologue-inHeaven like a Victorian vicar opening his Paradise Lost. Rudel has a much more accurate appreciation of the scenario. At this moment in timelessness the Devil is about to fill the popular satire-slot in the Command Performance while the falangi celesti munch rum truffles and indulge themselves in succulent chromaticism.
The Decca recording is roughly ten years more modern and so that bit brighter and clearer, but I wouldn't let that determine the issue. Nor should the casting of the protagonist: Treigle hasn't the character in his voice but the performance is a worthy memento of an artist whose singing of the role was more acceptable than his showing-off on stage, and who may be otherwise unrepresented in one's collection. Caballé sings much of her music exquisitely and her voice blends with Domingo's to make magic in the "Lontano" duet.
– Gramophone [8/1988], reviewing an earlier release Read less
Works on This Recording
Mefistofele by Arrigo Boito
Montserrat Caballé (Soprano),
Placido Domingo (Tenor),
Norman Treigle (Bass)
London Symphony Orchestra
Written: 1868; Italy
Average Customer Review: ( 1 Customer Review )
Mefistofele Incarnate January 9, 2013
By Leslie A Miller (Belfast, ME) See All My Reviews
"I saw and heard Norman Treigle's Mefistofele at the end of the 1960's. Being in the theatre seeing it live, it was impossible to remember anything but Treigle. I doubt if we will ever see anything like his Satan again. But the whole performance was theatre and music at its best. When this recording became available I snatched it up and listen over and over again. It's quality, despite the date, brings the opera into your life. The cast is superb; a young Domingo-never better and Caballe! What can I say? I think it's my favorite recording of any opera yet. You can't go wrong. If you like this opera, grab this CD set at once. I paid far more....."