Puccini: Tosca - Caballé, Bergonzi, Paskalis; Stein. Wien, 1976
Listen to a Sample:
This performance really makes a case that Tosca should be called "Cavardossi". Montserrat Caballé's Tosca is gorgeously sung, though a little placid, but Bergonzi, caught in his late prime, could sing a sterling Cavaradossi in his sleep. However, he is very much awake here, and the results are thrilling. ”Recondita armonia” is meltingly ardent and plaintive, and ”E Lucevan le stelle” features impeccable pianissimi before exploding into cries of anguish at the end. Greek Baritone, Kostas Paskalis is a resounding, elegant Scarpia, and there are strong supporting appearances from Manfred Jungwirth's thankfully well-sung Sacristan and a luxury-cast Dmitir Uzunov, who was more often heard in leading roles, as Spoletta. Horst Stein conducts the orchestra and chorus of the Wiener Staatsoper, and while he does let the tension lag a bit in Act II, he certainly gets a lush, Italianate sound out of them, especially in the Act III prelude. The sound is fait to good.