Forget the others - buy this one!
S. Kowalski | San Francisco, CA United States | 10/01/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I originally purchased the RCA Red Seal recording of this opera with Bruson-Mei-Lopardo-Allen never having heard the work before. While the Red Seal recording certainly did not sound bad, I couldn't help but think that, as the heroine, Mei missed a lot of opportunities to hit those incredible highs that Donizetti is so famous for. Since I wasn't familiar with the work, I only assumed that she opted to go an octave lower than Donizetti had originally intended for the part. Well, sure enough I finally saw the opera performed live in San Jose and was blown away by all the highs that the soprano hit throughout the show. I immediately purchased this recording to see if the Norina in this particular performance (Barbara Hendricks) offered a more gutsy performance and boy does she ever! Mei's voice on the Red Seal recording is undeniably beautiful, but Hendricks simply blows her out of the water with all of her vocal fireworks in this recording. The orchestras and male performers are equally good in both, but if you love the sound of a bel canto soprano hitting an incredible high note, then forget about the RCA recording and go for this one instead."