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The same orchestra crops up on Great Verdi Voices, recordings from concert and radio performances between 1962 and 1984. Leontyne Price gets it off to a flying start with ‘Ernani! Ernani, involami’, displaying voluptuous tone and dazzling technical ability. Other sopranos who thrill are Júlia Várady as Lady Macbeth and Margaret Price as Aida, both plunging straight into character. Less successful perhaps is Sena Jurinac, whose Don Carlo aria bumps occasionally, and Anneliese Rothenberger, whose soprano, though effortless, seems too brittle for La traviata. There is glorious tenorial outpouring from José Carreras (Il Corsaro) and Neil Shicoff (Ernani), and a masterclass in elegance from Carlo Bergonzi in the aria from Il trovatore. His good work is somewhat undone by Franco Bonisolli who sings the ensuing cabaletta, and certainly doesn’t let good taste or consonants spoil a fun time; he is the only tenor I’ve ever heard who sings the variant high C in the first verse as well as the second – I suppose if you’ve got it, flaunt it. Renato Bruson’s baritone steers us back to decorum with a finely traced ‘Di Provenza’.

Francis Muzzu Read the full review on Agora Classica

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