Listen to a Sample:
Richard Tucker was "discovered" by the Metropolitan Opera while serving as Cantor at the Brooklyn Jewish Center, and he consistently returned to the pulpit for High Holiday services throughout his career. It follows naturally that this religious man was a major proponent of the Israel Philharmonic, and he is heard here in one of his signature roles only two years before his sudden death at the age of 61. To be frank, he is caught a little bit past his prime, with his ringing tenor sometimes consumed by a worrying bark, but he remains capable of melting tenderness and glorious force. Gilda Cruz-Romo is his Leonora, floating her arias effortlessly, and Mignon Dunn is a creepy, intense Azucena. Siegmund Nimsgern is a bit of an odd choice for Di Luna, but he brings an appealing nastiness to the role. Zubin Mehta's tempi vary on the sluggish side and some of the smaller roles are weak, but the chorus work is hugely appealing and the Philharmonic is in fine form.