Puccini: Tosca - Rysanek, Johns, Gobbi. Mannheim, 1976
Listen to a Sample:
This performance of Tosca captures the great Leonie Rysanek and Tito Gobbi at the tail end of their careers (although Rysanek would go on to sing character parts for the following two decades.) Although some of the high C's may have been a little more tentative than in the past, Rysanek still maintains her signature intensity and commitment. The venom into which she injects the line "Assassino" is particularly terrifying. Tito Gobbi's voice was nearly bereft of beauty by 1976, but it hardly matters as beauty of tone can often be a liability in the role of Sacrpia. Nonetheless, Gobbi alternates seamlessly between Scarpia the politician and Scarpia the sociopath and proves an apt foil to Rysanek. William Johns sings the role of Cavaradossi. Johns would go on to sing the dramatic Wagner roles in the 80s and 90s. Hearing this performance makes you wish that he had stuck with less dramatic fare as he displays and youthful and lyrical tone which didn't hold up well after a steady diet of Wagner. The sound is fair.