Very rough diamond
zaranda | Winnetka, CA United States | 05/23/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"In the aftermath of Maria Callas' famous 1st Act walk-off in January 1958, Anita Cerquetti came on for the remaining Rome Opera performances. After hearing this highly flawed recording you may fume in futile fury that Decca or Cetra or somebody did not rush the cast very next morning into a studio for a commercial setting down. Too bad, they didn't.
Cerquetti's histrionics are not of Callas proportions--one does not cringe before her "trema per te, felon!"--but her voice is always wonderfully rich, vibrant, above all Steady, and--without wobble. Corelli was still in the early flush of his natural endowment, and he luxuriates in the super machismo high testosterone chestiness of it all.
There are apparently limits to digital technology. Altho Opera D'oro's is some improvement over the vinyl "pirate" edition of decades ago--the voices are brought forward more satisfactorily--the sound is, by contemporary standards--even by 1958 air-check standards--wretched. This was supposedly a broadcast pick-up but one might think it was taken off by a guy in the top balcony with a mini concealed in the hanky pocket of an outlandish sports jacket. It is uneven, scratchy at times, cavernous, top-suppressed...on and on. Still, at only $12, Normaphiles' existence with this version "omitted, all the voyage of their life Is bound in shallows and in miseries""