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Notes and Editorial Reviews
The '70s was a great time at La Scala under Claudio Abbado's reign; not only were some great performances of Verdi operas offered on a regular basis (Simon Boccanegra has rarely sounded better), but Rossini-lovers had a field day as well. To be sure there are issues with this live performance from 1975: Paolo Montarsolo does not quite have the coloratura technique to cope with Mustafa's florid music and Luigi Alva sometimes is stressed by Lindoro's high tessitura (his first-act aria is taken down a half-tone). It would be another 10-or-so years before basses and tenors caught up with the female voices when it came to Rossinian agility and the ridiculous heights that he asked his tenors to scale. But both men are terrific in their own
rights; Montarsolo captures just the right windyness and arrogance of the Algerian Bey, and Alva is utterly charming and spirited as Isabella's suitor.
And of course, the Isabella is Marilyn Horne. She recorded the role commercially as well (on Erato, with Samuel Ramey as the amazing Mustafa), and while that performance may be more polished, here, in addition to the staggering virtuosity and the pointed characterization we're used to, we get wonderful humor and the impression that she is having a simply terrific time. On CD we also have Agnes Baltsa and Jennifer Larmore in the role, both of whom are first-rate, but this is Horne's domain. Both Enzo Dara and Alberto Rinaldi make good bass-baritone foils as Taddeo and Haly, and they manage surprisingly well with the fiorature. As suggested, Abbado's leadership is a sheer delight, and the La Scala forces are in grand shape. The sound is very good. At this price--or possibly any price--this can't be beat.
--Robert Levine, ClassicsToday.com
Reviewing earlier release of this recording, Opera D'Oro 1382 Read less
Works on This Recording
L'italiana in Algeri by Gioachino Rossini
Luigi Alva (Tenor),
Paolo Montarsolo (Bass),
Enzo Dara (Baritone),
Marilyn Horne (Mezzo Soprano)
Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra,
Milan Teatro alla Scala Chorus
Written: 1813; Italy
Date of Recording: 1975
Venue: Live La Scala, Milan, Italy
Average Customer Review: ( 1 Customer Review )
Horne is Fabulous September 21, 2013
By J. Markley (Chapman, KS) See All My Reviews
"This live recording is not the studio quality of sound we are used to now. That being said the performances are very good (for supporting cast) to great (for M. Horne). The sale I got it on made it a great bargain and worth the price."