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Two live recordings from the Vienna Staatsoper are well worth investigating. Lucia di Lammermoor marked the 1978 breakthrough for two young Slovakians, Edita Gruberová and Peter Dvorský: both had already had major successes, but it was this new production that catapulted them into the major league. It is excitingly conducted by Giuseppe Patané, though marred by many traditional cuts. Gruberová offers a fluent and persuasive heroine, her voice bounding through the coloratura with no fear. She is occasionally slightly wan, and hasn’t quite adopted some of the impressive vocal tricks that can be heard in her later recordings of this role, or, for that matter, the bad habits. Dvorský is in fresh, vibrant voice, a pleasure to listen to. Matteo Manuguerra’s baritone is sumptuous and comes close to stealing the limelight; Siegfried Vogel’s Raimondo is smooth.

The late Dmitri Hvorostovsky is presented in a selection of scenes from the Staatsoper, ranging from a smooth Puritani for his debut performance in 1994 to a dignified Germont in Traviata, caught on the last evening he sang in the house in 2016. His mastery of rich-toned legato is wonderful to hear, and this is a moving tribute.

Francis Muzzu Read the full review on Agora Classica


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