Rossini: L'Italiana in Algeri - Horne, Petri, Bottazzo, Monachesi, Mazzini; Franci. Torino, 1968
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Marilyn Horne owned the role of Isabella in L'Italiana in Algeri for decades. No other mezzo (with the possible exception of Lucia Valentini-Terrani) had the ability to combine the agility that one needs to sing this treacherous music with the power and vocal presence especially in the lower range that is so crucial for this part. Of course all of these points are moot if the singer is not able to charm the audience and Horne was probably better at this than any other singer of her day. Her personality bubbles giving this performance a wonderful effervescence that is infectious. Piero Bottazzo's thin tenor seems an odd foil for Horne. Perhaps it adds to the humor having a light voiced tenor paired with such a power house. That said he sings his aria very sweetly. The sound is excellent.