Ponchielli: La Gioconda - Souliotis, Tucker, Elias; Bartoletti. Buenos Aires, 1966


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Elena Souliotis was whispered to be the next Maria Callas, but her career (and voice) flamed out after a few too many attempts at roles a size too big for her. Well, as they say, go big or go home. This recording of La Gioconda, caught in 1966 before she began to run into vocal problems, reveals a sensitive performer with a steely, impressive instrument. The sound is a bit of an issue but the performance of Souliotis and her impressive colleagues, under the sure baton of Bruno Bartoletti, is worth a listen. First on the list is her Enzo, the great Richard Tucker. He practically owned this role and the performance is a textbook explanation of why he did. Rosalind Elias is a plush, luxurious Laura and Paolo Washington does lovely work in the ungrateful role of her husband. The underrated baritone Cornell MacNeil is an excellent, sinister Barnaba, and Luisa Bartoletti (no relation to the conductor, as far as I can tell) is a frail-sounding Cieca. The chorus and orchestra of the Teatro Colón are in fine form, and given the rapturous reception they receive, so were the dancers in their performance of the Danza delle ore ballet.

OD 11104-2