Rossini: Il Barbiere di Siviglia - Guarrera, Robinson, Di Giuseppe, Densen; Moresco. 1975

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If you were an active opera-goer in the U.S. during the 1970s, the names in this cast will probably elicit fond memories of when there was a thriving regional opera scene that produced talent that rivaled anything you might here in a “big house.” Frank Guarrera made his Met debut in 1948 opposite Risë Stevens in Carmen. Some thirty years later finds his dark baritone in pretty good working order, some sagging pitch notwithstanding. Enrico Di Giuseppe brings a swagger to Count Almaviva’s delicate music that you don’t often hear coupled with a secure top and remarkable facility with the fioratura. The real star is Gail Robinson as Rosina. Robinson dazzled audiences in the 70s and 80s with her spot-on coloratura coupled with a richness that extended below the stratosphere of her gleaming top (sadly her brilliance was cut short by persistent health problems.) She does not disappoint in this performance and even switches out Rosina’s Act II aria for Proch’s “Deh torna mio bene” which gives new meaning to the word astonishing. The performance starts on a poignant note when the general director announces the death of Richard Tucker.

OD 11296-2

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