Meyerbeer: Les Huguenots - Sutherland, Arroyo, Vrenies; Bonygne. London, 1968

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Richard Bonynge makes a strong a case as anyone can for this grandest of grand operas. The sound of this recording, clearly captured from the audience, is uneven at best and unfortunate at worst, but it is unquestionable that the performance is one of unusual vitality. The performance features most of the principal cast that Bonynge used for his studio recording several years later (the exception is Robert El Hage, unremarkable as Valentine's father) and without exception they are in fresher voice at the Royal Albert Hall. The supposedly leading role of Valentine does not allow Martina Arroyo much of a chance to make an impression, but she makes the most of her few big moments. Opposite her, Anastasios Vrenios can not be called "involved”, but he is definitely fresher than he would be in the studio, especially in the role’s crucial high-flying passages. Nicola Ghiuselev is a bluff, sympathetic Marcel, and Huguette Tourangeau provides the requisite Gallic charm for her cameo role. As for Joan Sutherland's performance as Marguerite... well, what can one say? I will leave it at "resplendent" and urge you to listen for yourself. You'll be glad you did.

OD 11178-2

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