Verdi: Il Trovatore - Tinsley, Dalis, Borso, Ruzdak, Schultz. Hamburg, 1970
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There are clues to this recording that suggest that this performance of Il Trovatore may not have been the most important opera that year at the Hamburg State Opera. For one thing the chorus sings in German and there are moments where the ensemble begins to slightly unravel. However the soloists seem to embrace this fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants approach to opera production and deliver inspired performances that have an air of improvisation. The stand-out is Pauline Tinsley as Leonora. This is truly one of the great Verdi sopranos of all time. The voice is full and lush while maintaining the purity of the sound. Never does she push and she manages the coloratura passages with aplomb. One caveat is she misses the d-flat at the end of "Tacea la notte" however makes up for it by interpolating an extraordinary d flat at the end of the act. Irene Dalis is equally stunning as Azucena. Her voice has even more richness to it than in her early years; however she seems more focused on highlighting the character than her own prodigious vocal abilities and does not shy away from using her chest voice to exciting effect. The men are not quite as strong as the women. Umberto Borso has a nice burnished tone to his sizeable instrument however lacks finesse and style. He also opts to take "Di quella pira" down a whole step. Vladimir Ruzdak may not be the greatest Verdi baritone but he negotiates the demands of this role admirably. The sound is very good.