Grab this one!
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I enjoyed this performance on the old Cetra LP label and was glad to see it reissued (finally) on CD. This is a good example of the 40s and 50s Italian recordings at their best: good singing, simple miking, and a fast-paced, idiomatic performance. The cast is pretty ideal. The young lovers are Alda Noni as a clear-voiced and perky Norina with Cesare Valletti almost perfect as Ernesto. Mario Borriello does a good job as Malatesta and a very young Sesto Bruscantini comes close to being a definitive Don Pasquale. Conductor Mario Rossi keeps things moving. The sound is okay, not great. All in all, the best recording available: the sound is better than the Schipa version, and the cast and conductor better than the more modern performances."
In perfect style and very pleasing - but I have certain rese
Ralph Moore | Bishop's Stortford, UK | 10/28/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I expected to like this recording rather more than I in fact did once I had listened carefully. It has a lot going for it: a young - thirty years old, in fact - Sesto Bruscantini, already a brilliant buffo baritone with pungent diction and the sharpest timing, and Cesare Valletti, a tenore di grazia whom I enjoy in other Cetra recordings from this era (see my review of his "Figlia del Reggimento". Here, however, Valletti starts off sounding a bit nasal, bleaty and uningratiating of tone compared with his similar, but superior, predecessor Tito Schipa, but he warms up and sounds much better by the time he has his fist big aria "Cerchero lontana terra" and the famous duet "Tornami a dir" goes very prettily. The Dottore Malatesta, Mario Boriello, sounds so similar in tone and vocal production to Bruscantini - both with unfashionably fast vibrati - that they are sometimes indistinguishable but both have fine, nimble voices. Finally, the Norina suffers from a fault all too common to this role: a rather piercing, tweety sound; neat and characterful, yes - but hard on the ears - and she aspirates her runs. (Saraceni in the classic Schipa recording presents the same disadvantage of a rather hard sound but she is far superior in technique and has an altogether classier voice.)
While I do not wholly agree with the previous reviewer, I don't want to be too negative about this set; it is wholly in genre, the comedy crackles along and there is much to enjoy. The sound is excellent; clean, clear undistorted mono and you could do a lot worse than buy this as an introduction to this minor masterpiece - but I would prefer either the old 1932 Sabajno if I wanted a historical classic or opt for the modern Muti set with Freni, Winbergh, Nucci and Bruscantini again (33 years later and not sounding much the worse for that!), if you want good stereo."