Verdi: Aida - Jones, Domingo, Cortez, Holmes, Giaiotti, Ghazarian; Muti. Wien, 1973
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Despite the preeminence of the Wiener Philharmoniker, the grueling schedule at the Staatsoper can often mean minimal rehearsal. Sadly, even the greatest orchestra in the world cannot create greatness on the fly. On this particular occasion, however, the orchestra is heard to full effect thanks to the inspired leadership of Riccardo Muti. Muti’s tempi are on the brisk side without ever feeling disorderly, highlighting the remarkable virtuosity of the Wiener Philharmoniker. Gwyneth Jones sometimes struggles to keep up with Muti, but otherwise delivers an Aida that is both opulent and delicate. Placido Domingo doesn’t necessarily make Radamès’ music sound easy but he manages all of the high notes by shear force of will to thrilling effect. Viorica Cortez is a fiery yet strangely sympathetic Amneris. The only weak link of the cast is Eugene Holmes who delivers an under-pitch, weak Amonasro. The sound is excellent.