Offenbach: Les contes d'Hoffmann (In Italian) - Lazzari, Freni, Bruscantini, Sellas, Fusco, Lazzarini; Maag. Napoli, 1960
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Although this is a very interesting performance of Les Contes d'Hoffmann because it is in Italian, the truly remarkable feature is the fact that it sports a 25-year-old Mirella Freni as Antonia. Hearing her at such a young age, it is amazing how fully-formed as an artist she already was. The voice is so distinctive, creamy and voluptuous. She has no trouble going up to the C sharp at the end of the trio- a note that has confounded many of her colleagues. The rest of the cast is very good. Agostino Lazzari delivers a well sung interpretation of the title part and Sesto Bruscantini relishes painting each of his four villains to the point that it would be easy to convince oneself that they were sung by four different singers. The sound is good.