Verdi: Un Ballo in maschera - Verrett, Pavarotti, Cappuccilli, Obraztsova; Abbado; Milano 1977
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Luciano Pavarotti always seemed to enjoy himself as Riccardo (or Gustavo) in Un Ballo in Maschera, and he is heard to great effect in Claudio Abbado's almost sprightly reading of the score. His light, piercing and incredibly beautiful sound lends itself both to the playboy of act one, the ardent lover of act two, and the pensive ruler of act three. Shirley Verrett sings Amelia continuing her foray into the soprano Verdi role. Her Amelia is anguished, (occasionally wooly) but remarkably secure. If Elena Obratszova sounds a bit more like Carmen than Ulrica, the tone is certainly spectacular. Piero Cappuccilli is a big, plush-sounding Renato, and the supporting cast features strong turns from Luigi Roni's sinister conspirator and Daniela Mazzucato's lively Oscar.