Another (re-mastered) Cetra winner
Ralph Moore | Bishop's Stortford, UK | 07/06/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"In clean mono sound (in a slightly cavernous acoustic which suits the grandiose Prologue but seems slightly too distant for the more intimate scenes), nicely re-mastered to remove the original shrillness and permit reasonable clarity without much congestion in climaxes - this is another very desirable historical set from Cetra which could quite easily be your only "Mefistofele" if you're not too bothered about having spacious stereo and are on a budget - otherwise I would suggest either the superb Siepi/Del Monaco/Tebaldi issue or the later Decca offering with Ghiaurov, Pavarotti, Freni and Caballe. However, this has the tang of authenticity and Neri's rotund bass is probably more what Boito had in mind rather than Ghiaurov's Slavic snarl (which is mightily beautiful and impressively demonic, nonetheless). Tagliavini is a prince among lyric tenors and this role suits him perfectly; he is both ardent and tender. The orchestra, chorus and conductor have the music in their blood, although I find Questa's direction a little too leisurely at moments of tension. Pobbe, overshadowed by her more celebrated contemporaries such as Callas and Tebaldi, sings plaintively and movingly; the voice is a big, pure sound with a slightly pronounced vibrato - and I like it. This issue is attractively packaged with, like all this series, the original 50's artwork on the cover a short introductory essay, a synopsis and an Italian libretto."