Verdi: Simon Boccanegra (In English) - Delme-Jones, Barstow, Erwin, Robinson, Allen; Lockhart. Wales, 1970


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This recording, in impeccable sound, is a good argument for the value of opera in English.  All the leads sing with superb diction and English speakers will certainly appreciate the immediacy of hearing Verdi's music in the vernacular.  The one danger of course with operas in translation is that it will ultimately disfigure the composer's voice.  What is particularly remarkable about this performance is that in addition to their excellent diction, all of the leads are true Verdi singers and sing with an understanding of the Italian style and sentiment so that the "Verdi" in the music is never distorted by the foreign tongue.  In the title role is the woefully under-represented Delme Bryn-Jones.  Here is a true Verdi baritone with the sensitivity and nuance that one associates with a great British singer.  Josephine Barstow is Maria/Amelia and despite her "unique" vocal production she shows that she knows a thing or two about singing and spins Verdi's legato lines exquisitely.  Keith Erwin's voice may be a little lacking in Italianate style and at times sounds like he took a wrong turn on his way to D'Oyly Carte.  However the voice is pleasant enough.   Forbes Robinson is an imposing Fiesco and a young Thomas Allen is cast as Paolo.  As I said before, the sound is near perfect.

OD 10606-2

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