Notes and Editorial Reviews
I first encountered Levine conducting this work, one he particularly loves, at the Metropolitan in 1971, and was mightily impressed with his Verdian credentials. A youthful tenor called Domingo was the Rodolfo. Here they are, many years later, tackling their parts again, Domingo for the second time on disc: he is the Rodolfo on the Maazel/DG set. Energy and internal combustion were the special features of Levine reading in the theatre; they are again in evidence here... Domingo's Rodolfo is more or less as it was for Maazel—generous in tone and phrase... As Luisa, Millo starts out somewhat squally and harsh of tone, but she improves immeasurably as the work progresses rising finely to the sad, doomed girl of Act 3. "Ah! l'ultima preghiera" is delivered in that plangent, piano tone of which we know she is mistress. A little earlier in the act, she and Vladimir Chernov draw all the tenderness and plaintive beauty out of "Andro, raminghi e poveri": this is Verdi singing of the highest class in both tone and feeling.
...Chernov must be the most accomplished Verdian baritone to appear since Bruson. His account of his opening aria and cabaletta, a wonderful chance for display of voice, line and attack, is given a performance that will surely satisfy the most stringest critic of matters vocal. The name of the noble Amato springs to mind: Chernov's tone is similarly dark in colour, vibrant and ringing, with not a trace of strain from top to bottom... I enjoyed the visceral excitement of this set, Millo's truly
spinto tone and, above all, Chernov's debut in a major role on disc...
-- Gramophone [9/1992]