This is certainly not the Elixir of Elixirs, but it does prove itself to be a survivor. On first appearance it was welcomed by Philip Hope-Wallace as "delightful entertainment": "I don't wish to overstate the case for it, but I think if you are disposed to like Donizetti at all, then this performance of the opera with its high spirits, rustic romps and sentiments will give you real pleasure." The mono version was replaced by the previously unissued stereo (2/69), the LP by the CD, and all the time the competition grew. Its most recent reissue prior to this present one was reviewed by me in company with a bright new job under Levine (DG, 2/91), with Pavarotti and Battle heading a cast starry even down to the secondaryRead more role of Giannetta which, though unremarked at. the time, I now see to have been sung by Dawn Upshaw. The old Decca might have been more decisively outclassed had the modern version not indulged in cuts that constituted a real loss. They are made in the Decca set too, but the restoration of defective texts had not then become the big business it is today. "Companionable" was my word for the set in 1991, and it is good company still.
Attractions include the Adina of Hilde Gueden. Far more than most German-trained sopranos she sounds at home in Italian opera: there is even a little touch of Toti Dal Monte girlishness about her, and the later hint of Viennese sophistication does not come amiss when the tone is fresh and sharply flavoured, the line firm, the manner unaffected. PH-W found di Stefano "at the very top of his form". I don't quite think that: he 'lifts' too often, is too open on the Es and Fs, lacks the refinement of true lyric tone. But his "Una furtiva lagrima" is often touchingly beautiful, and throughout he presents a live, likeable character. Corena is an effective Dulcamara, Capecchi an unstylish Belcore. Molinari-Pradelli conducts ably, and the recorded sound is brighter and more spacious than remembered.
-- Gramophone [7/1995] reviewing a prior reissue of this recording, Decca 443542
Includes full libretto in Italian and English Read less
Works on This Recording
L'Elisir d'Amoreby Gaetano Donizetti Performer:
Hilde Gueden (Soprano),
Giuseppe Di Stefano (Tenor),
Luisa Mandelli (Soprano),
Renato Capecchi (Baritone),
Fernando Corena (Bass)
Florence Maggio Musicale Orchestra
Period: Romantic Written: 1832; Italy Date of Recording: 09/1955 Venue: Teatro Comunale, Florence, Italy Length: 108 Minutes 9 Secs. Language: Italian