Puccini: Turandot - Nilsson, R. Bjoerling, Döse; Ehrling. Gothenburg, 1973
Listen to a Sample:
The 60s and 70s were an era in which stars burned bright and fast. Despite their early brilliance sopranos like Tebaldi, Callas, Stella, Souliotis couldn’t sustain that early promise throughout their careers. The one odd exception was Birgit Nilsson. I say “odd” because she sang some of the most dramatic repertoire ever written. This 1973 performance of Turandot bares out her prodigious vocal achievements as well as her remarkable longevity (she was already in her mid-50s.) She is tireless in this role and hurls her laser-beam high notes with the same ease as when she recorded Turandot with her tenor’s father, some 15 years earlier. That tenor in question is Rolf Björling. Björling had both the fortune and misfortune of being the son of Jussi Björling. On one hand he must have benefited enormously from the guidance (and genes) of his father, on the other, his talent would always invite comparisons to his great father. Even if he may not have inherited his father’s exquisite vocal beauty, he displays an attractive tenor with excellent legato and secure top. Helena Döse’s nordic sound is a good fit as Liù despite the fact that the pitch at the top of her voice tends to sag. The sound is in stereo and generally excellent despite the occasional very mild static.