Verdi: Otello - Del Monaco, Ligabue, Vinay; Rescigno. 1962


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No one has had a career like Ramón Vinay (Domingo is trying, but not quite succeeding). One of the world's greatest dramatic tenors, and in the running for the title of the greatest Otello of all time, returned to his baritone roots late in his career. This is no vanity of an aging tenor: he sounds like a true baritone, with no hint of his past tenorial glories except for an unusually strong top. He is a thrilling, intelligent Iago in this 1962 performance. Perhaps the only Otello who could have sung opposite this Iago is Mario Del Monaco, and he is caught here in top form. Heard live, he sounds more involved with the drama then he does on his studio recordings of the same opera, and he sings a heartbreaking "Niun mi tema". His lovely Desdemona is the Italian soprano Ilva Ligabue, who gives a tender, beautifully spun, willow song and floats effortlessly over the ensemble at the end of the Act III. Nicola Rescigno is on the podium for this rather boisterous, nearly out-of-control performance.

OD 11053-2