Notes and Editorial Reviews
The finest recorded Tosca remains the Callas/di Stefano/Gobbi on EMI, but if you won't miss Callas' multi-layered insights, di Stefano's youthful passion and beautiful (for the most part) strain-free sound, Gobbi's audible sneer and epically snide cruelty, and de Sabata's whip-smart conducting, then this new Sony release is the one for you.
Recorded at the Metropolitan Opera during the matinee of April 2, 1962, it features the most impressive singing of any Tosca on disc. Both Leontyne Price and Franco Corelli had made their sensational Met debuts the previous season, and what we hear is big, exciting voices--the kind, I'm sorry to say, we really don't have any more--in their prime. Price lightens her tone when needed and
unleashes waves of gorgeous, expressive sound, and Corelli was still a fearless tenor, with dark, baritonal low and middle tones and high notes of tempered steel (which he was not ashamed to hold on to). Cornell MacNeil, a fine baritone, was still peaking at this point as well, and his singing is filled with malice, insinuation, and just pure, Italianate sound.
The rest of the cast is good, and Kurt Adler, a perfectly fine Kapellmeister, is happy listening to and following his singers. The orchestra's brass is not above some bloopers, but who cares? This is a thrilling ride, and the 1962 sound is far better than acceptable. Sony's packaging is minimal--just track listings, synopsis, and cast list.
--Robert Levine, ClassicsToday.com
Works on This Recording
Tosca by Giacomo Puccini
Leontyne Price (Soprano),
Franco Corelli (Tenor),
Cornell MacNeil (Baritone)
Metropolitan Opera Chorus,
Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
Written: 1900; Italy
Date of Recording: 04/07/1962
Venue: Metropolitan Opera, New York
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