Notes and Editorial Reviews
Franco Corelli did nothing better for the gramophone than this Chenier, giving his portrayal a verbal presence not even Domingo matches.
I hadn't encountered [this] performance before, and round it all highly enjoyable. Chènier may not be for the purist, but it has enough rousing, impassioned music to carry one over the infilling passages which, in any case, Santini handles with such elan that one hardly notices the want of distinction in the score.
Corelli, much underrated when he was active, did nothing better for the gramophone than this Chenier. The role of the passionate, defiant poet suited his methods well. As Philip Hope-Wallace said in his 1964 review: "Note-values, attack etc., may be all over the place but the heart is in the right place, the tone ringing with utter belief in the declamatory, surging stuff". That couldn't be more cogently expressed. I would only add that his Italianate way with consonants and his free use of portamento give his portrayal a verbal presence not even Domingo matches in the admirable RCA set (RL02046, 8/77), and essential for Chenier's public and private solos.
Stella equals him note for note in the final, death-going duet, but elsewhere she proves a tentative Maddalena, no match for Scotto (RCA) in "La mamma morta", let alone for Tebaldi in the old Gavazzeni version (Decca GOS600, 11/70). I can't resist quoting PH-W again, this time on Sereni's Gerard: after pointing out, quite rightly, that he sings the part with considerable but not maximum power, he wrote that "[he] bites into it like one crunching nougat, which is fine". The small parts are all well taken.
-- Gramophone [2/1984]