Rossini: Il Barbiere di Siviglia - Sills, Titus, Brewer, Gramm; Caldwell. 1974
Listen to a Sample:
- I grew up in Boston, and to say that Sarah Caldwell was a mythic figure is an understatement. She achieved notoriety in the operatic world both for her vision, and her eccentric manner, and made a lot of admirers and enemies in the process. Hearing this performance, it is clear that she had a unique voice. Even when I found myself in disagreement with her ideas about Rossini style, I appreciated the fact that she was trying to get me to reconsider a piece I have come to know very well over the years. The most remarkable feature of this recording is that it is completely uncut. She even has Beverly Sills interpolate "Ah vous dirai-je, Maman" and Rosina's rarely performed Act II aria, "L'innocenza di Lindoro." But don't let that scare you off. At no point in the performance does the momentum flag, as evidenced by the audience's enthusiastic reactions throughout the show.
- She had enormous help from a spectacular cast, lead by Beverly Sills. Sills brings boundless energy throughout the long evening, as well as an infectious sense of fun.
- Alan Titus' Figaro is the picture of youth and virility.
- Bruce Brewer sings the role of the Count with effortless bravado, although I must admit, the tone of his voice is not really my cup of tea.
- Fred Teschler as Basilio seems a bit out of his league.