Listen to a Sample:
Maria Stuarda is written to be a two-Donna opera, and if the clashing queens are not evenly matched, the performance can seem lopsided. That is not a concern here. Montserrat Caballé's beautifully-spun Maria and Shirley Verrett's intense Elisabetta are truly equal, and their fiery confrontation is the stuff of operatic legend. Caballé shines in her final scenes, but it is Verrett, sounding exactly in command as Queen Elizabeth should, who sticks in the memory. Edoardo Gimenez is a passionate, well-sung Leicester, but this is a two-woman show if there ever was one. The sound is a little problematic, but is it ever worth it.