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Renata Tebaldi’s reputation remains generally unblemished, and Renata Tebaldi: The Early Years, a new CD release of her first recordings from 1949, plus some from 1955, will only consolidate appreciation of her considerable legacy. They demonstrate her forward vocal placement and rich tone, clear diction, firm sense of line and admirable phrasing. Which current Italian soprano can match this? A canard, I know, but who is as talented and as reliable today? The 1949 tracks show Tebaldi in generally core repertoire (her Tosca, Butterfly, Aida); the 1955 selection features roles for which she is less known. She captures the verismo passions of Cilea’s Adriana, Mascagni’s Lodoletta and Refice’s Cecilia, and it’s interesting to hear her clean vocalising of the Countess’s arias from Figaro plus ‘Selva opaca’from Guglielmo Tell. Alberto Erede conducts, fleet and idiomatic throughout.

Francis Muzzu Read the full review on Agora Classica

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