Notes and Editorial Reviews
I won't be throwing away my Scotto/Bergonzi performance of this opera (on Opera d'Oro) anytime soon, but this live, 1962 Glyndebourne set is a sheer delight. Luigi Alva was the tenore di grazie of the '60s despite having a very limited top and little true ability with coloratura; Nemorino requires only a glancing familiarity with notes above A and almost no challenging fiorature and so his sweet tone, lovely characterization, and good humor win the day. There are lots of fine Nemorinos on disc--Pavarotti, Valletti, Alagna, the aforementioned Bergonzi; but Alva is in front of all but Bergonzi.
This set also features Mirella Freni before she was a star of any magnitude, and the voice was never fresher; she certainly doesn't
sound ready for anything as heavy as Mimi but still manages to avoid sounding like a soubrette. She misses Scotto's welcome, barbed delivery of some lines but otherwise is ideal. It's a pity her final cabaletta is cut.
Sesto Bruscantini's Dulcamara is vocally a bit on the light side, but he sings with such "face" and articulation that he seems to be in the room. And Enzo Sordello is equally vivid as Belcore--a roué who just can't stop conquering women. Emily Maire's Gianetta is mediocre. Carlo Felice Cillario occasionally slows down too much for pathos, but when it comes to the ensembles he really gathers the forces and moves. A member (or two) of the audience is driven to applaud before the very end of "Una furtiva lagrima"; I'm sure there was a public execution. The sound is superb. This is wonderful.
--Robert Levine, ClassicsToday.com
Works on This Recording
L'Elisir d'Amore by Gaetano Donizetti
Sesto Bruscantini (Baritone),
Mirella Freni (Soprano),
Enzo Sordello (Baritone),
Luigi Alva (Tenor)
Carlo Felice Cillario
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra,
Written: 1832; Italy
Date of Recording: 1962
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