Paul A. Dunphy | Bogota, New Jersey USA | 10/11/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Since the New York City opera's production in the late 1960s, this opera is not as unusual as it used to be and now there are a number of good stereo recordings. This all-Italian cast from 1956 captures performances of several singers who are not found elsewhere, namely, the late Marcella Pobbe and Disma De Cecco both of whom had estimable careers in Italy (Pobbe sang briefly at the Met).
Pobbe's voice is unusual for Margherita. It is lighter than those of Tebaldi, Caballe or Freni and is more suited to Gounod's heroine than Boito's. Nonetheless, she brings an innocence to the role which is lacking in other interpretations.
DeCecco's brief appearance as Elena shows a powerful, chesty voice.
Tagliavini's voice is absolute heaven...the role suits him to a T. There are none of the bad habits which plague many of his recordings and his famed pianissimo is right in place.
Giulio Neri is one of the darkest Mefistofele's on record. His basso profundo would be most welcome today.
The recording could use a little more theatricality - possibly the fault of conductor Angelo Questa whose tempi seem erratic.
The chorus, an important element in this opera, sounds muddy - particularly in the prologue, and the orchestra is not as present as they should be."
Neri and Tagliavini great
figaro | Eugene, OR United States | 08/22/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Tagliavini and Neri are absolutely fabulous on this recording. Pobbe is good. The sound is decent."