Cilea: Adriana Lecouvreur (In English) - Carlyle, Remedios, Bainbridge; Erede. London, 1971
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If it were not for a frankly absurd plot twist in the forth act, Adriana Lecouvreur would be remembered as the only opera where the best music comes when the soprano is speaking rather than singing. The role of Adriana is one demanding both a great singer and a great actress and the opera's climax, in her recitation at the end of Act III, must be thrilling with only a few passages sung. In this performance (sung in English), Joan Carlyle rises to the challenge admirably, though the effect is undercut by her girlish speaking voice. Her singing is just as pleasing, especially in her entrance aria in act one. Alberto Remedios is her lover Maurizio (referred to as Maurice in the English translation) and sings ardently throughout. Elizabeth Bainbridge, a Royal Opera stalwart as everything from Innkeeper's wives to queens, is given a chance to shine as the vindictive, fiery Princess, and does not disappoint. Also on hand are the excellent baritone Delme Bryn-Jones as Adriana's faithful stage manager and Kenneth McDonald as the toadying Abbé. Alberto Erede leads this fine performance, captured in excellent sound.