Verdi: Il Trovatore - McCracken, Vaughan, Gorr, MacNeil, Langdon; Atherton. London, 1968
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Despite the fact that there is not even one Italian on hand in this performance of Il Trovatore, the cast still manages to deliver a first rate take on one of the most quintessentially Italian operas of all time. A good Manrico must combine a dramatic instrument with a rock solid technique and James McCracken delivers on both fronts managing an exquisite ”Ah sì, ben mio” followed by a thrilling ”Di quella pira” in Act III. The vocal achievement is enough to forgive the slightly rough quality of his voice. Elizabeth Vaughan delivers a human-scale Leonora, expertly sung even if lacking in opulence. Rita Gorr offers an Azucena for the ages, delivering thrilling high notes, gutsy low notes along with all of the intelligence and musicality that made this artist so beloved. Cornell MacNeil’s Di Luna is a lesson in what makes a great Verdi baritone: rock solid technique, endless breath control and ample sound from the bottom of the staff to the top. The sound is good.