MASCAGNI: Cavalleria Rusticana
Richard Tucker (Turridu); Eileen Farrell (Santuzza); Lili Chookasian (Mamma Lucia); Cesare Bardelli (Alfio); Mildred Miller (Lola); Metropolitan Opera Chorus and Orch/Nello Santi, cond.
LEONCAVALLO: Pagliacci
Franco Corelli (Canio); Lucina Amara (Nedda); Anselmo Colzani (Tonio); Calvin Marsh (Silvio); Franco Ghitti (Beppi); Metropolitan Opera Chorus and Orch/Nello Santi, cond.
SONY CLASSICAL 8869190999 (2 disks) TT: 76:08 & 70:05
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DONIZETTI: L'Elisir d'Amore
Carlo Bergonzi (Nemorino); Roberta Peters (Adina); Frank Guarrera (Belcore); Loretta Di Franco (Giannetta); Fernando Corena; (Dr. Dulcamnara); Metropolitan Opera Chorus and Orch/Thomas Schippers, cond.
SONY CLASSICAL 88691 90991 (2 disks) TT: 64:28 & 49:26
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VERDI: Ernani
Carlo Bergonzi (Ernaniu); Leontyne Price (Elvira); Cornell MacNeil (Don Carlo); Carlotte Ordassy (Giovanna); Giorgio Tozzi (Don Ruy Gomez de Silva); Roald Reitan (Jago); Robert Nagy (Don Riccardo); Metropolitan Opera Chorus and Orch/Thomas Schippers, cond.
SONY CLASSICAL 88691 90996 TT: 37:53 & 65:51
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VERDI: Luisa Miller
Sherrill Milnes (Miller); Montserrat Caballé (Luisa); Nancy Williams (Laura); Richard Tucker (Rodolfo); Ezio Flagello (Wurm); Giorgio Tozzi (Count Walter); Louise Pearl (Federica); Lou Marcella (Peasant); Metropolitan Opera Chorus and Orch/Thomas Schippers, cond.
SONY CLASSICAL 88691 90994 (2 disks) TT: 130 min.
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Sony Classical already has issued 20 sets of live historic Meft broadcasts, most of extraordinary interest as they include performances by some of the finest singers o the era. Now we have four more releases, all of supreme interest. We can experience Richard Tucker's impassioned Turridu from a broadcast of Cavalleria Rusticana April 11, 1964 in which Eileen Farrell's fiery Santuzza shows involvement with the role one might not expect. Farrell only sang four operas at the Met (Cav/Gioconda/Forza and Chénier), as well as Falla's Atlantida in 1962 at Philharmonic Hall the opening week of Lincoln Center. Let us hope future releases in the Sony series will include her other broadcasts: Gioconda,Forza and Atlantida).The Ernani broadcast was December 1, 1962, five years before Leontyne Price and Carlo Bergonzi made their RCA recording in Italy, also conducted by Thomas Schippers. The two leads are in spectacular form. Bergonzi also stars in L'Elisir d'Amore, broadcast March 5, 1966, joined by Roberta Peters at the peak of her career. Luisa Miller was broadcast February 17, 1968, 8 years before Montserrat Caballé made her famous recording of the opera with Luciano Pavarotti. However, Richard Tucker again offers a sterling performance, and inclusion of Sherrill Milnes as Miller is an added plus. Franco Corelli only sang Canio early in his career; his 1954 RAI video is stunning (REVIEW); this thrilling Met performance was April 11, 1964.In all of these broadcasts audiences throughout are overly enthusiastic, sometimes applauding even before an aria is over. Minimal applause is included; don't expect librettos. All of these recordings have been remastered successfully, and are worthy of space in any opera collection.

R.E.B. (February 2012)