Puccini: Tosca - Pobbe, Raimondi, MacNeil; Argento. Genova, 1965
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Marcella Pobbe was almost a cult figure in the world of opera. She had a great stage charisma, she was quite beautiful and her performances were always very exciting,. Perhaps it was that intensity that meant a slight unevenness in her vocal production which evidences itself occasionally. "Vissi d'arte" starts a little under-pitched but she manages to correct it and delivers a great b flat in the final phrase, singing it in one breath. Otherwise the dramatic moments are hair-raising. Cornell MacNeil was at the height of his powers in 1965 and delivers a truly terrifying Scarpia. His voice has such a natural bite to it that he never has to push it like some other Scarpias have been known to do resulting in a vulgar characterization as opposed to a suave gentleman who is able to control his own evil. Gianni Raimondi delivers a sweet-voiced Cavaradossi and although some of the climaxes do no have the heft that some of his colleagues brought to the role, he manages admirably. The sound is excellent.