Donizetti: Anna Bolena - Souliotis, Horne, Domingo, Baker, Cava; Lewis. 1966
Listen to a Sample:
This 1966 concert performance of Anna Bolena, captured in terrific sound, features A-level work from the chorus, orchestra, conductor, and five of its six cast members. The sixth cast member, unfortunately, is Elena Souliotis, who is having one of the off-days that would soon come to dominate her career. She starts out strong, maintaining gorgeous tone and tremendous dignity in Anna’s Act I confrontations with her husband and former lover (respectively), and musters some real fire for her duet with Marilyn Horne’s conflicted Giovanna Seymour, but by the time her mad scene comes along at the end of the opera, her powers are sapped and she sounds shaky, squally and short of pitch. Her colleagues make up for much of her deficiencies. There are sterling performances not only by Horne and by Carlo Cava, who makes for a plush-voiced Enrico, but also by Janet Baker, making a splendid showcase of the ungrateful role of Smeton. Plácido Domingo, at the emergence of his career, sounds like a dream: his voice here is as burnished and brilliant as it ever was, and he has the added benefit of being the only member of the cast to really act his music as opposed to just singing it. This is Domingo on the verge of international stardom, and it is a pleasure to be reminded how he got there.