Verdi: Ernani - Del Monaco, Cerquetti, Bastianini, Christoff; Mitropoulos. Firenze, 1957
Listen to a Sample:
This performance of one of Verdi’s early masterpieces is made thrilling almost solely by the masterful conducting of Dmitri Mitropoulos. Driving the opera’s slightly absurd action forward with unyielding momentum, Mitropolous has rarely been better. As the titular hero, Mario del Monaco is in excellent voice, though one feels he is perfectly happy to ignore the plot of the opera and just sing. Boris Christoff is in the opposite camp. His booming, rather coarse bass is occasionally pushed to its limits, but he provides a elegantly menacing presence throughout. Ettore Bastianini projects regal authority with every syllable, and Anita Cerquetti certainly sounds worth fighting for as the object of all of their desires. The sound is marred by some prominent tape hiss, but generally very clear.