Rossini: Il Barbiere di Siviglia - Scotto, Kraus, Protti, Badioli, Di Stasio; Bellezza. Napoli, 1958

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This performance of Il Barbiere di Siviglia is a bit of a contradiction.  On one hand, the ensemble is very sloppy and it bares all of the hallmarks of provincialism that typify Italian music at its worse.  On the other hand there is a freshness and vitality to this performance that gives Barbiere that needed spark and the performances bubbles from beginning to end, warts and all.  The major draws are the leads.  Renata Scotto was still in her early twenties and sings with a freshness of tone and an innate sense of Italian style.  She also proves herself to be a winsome comedienne.  Alfredo Kraus was in top form here as Almaviva and shows that this role can be sung with the same full-throated ardor that he brought to Edgardo and Arturo.  Aldo Protti brings luscious tones as well as an easy top to the role of Figaro.  The sound is good although this is an outside performance.  The prompter can be a little loud at times and believe it or not there is the odd over-head jet that creeps in now and then.  But it all adds to the comedy (inadvertent or otherwise) of this magical evening.

OD 10611-2

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