Lovely - but sometimes transposed!
Ralph Moore | Bishop's Stortford, UK | 06/10/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"While I agree with most of what Mr Austin wrote in his previous review on Amazon UK, beware - Valletti sings Tonio's big "nine high C" aria transposed down a semitone so he is singing B's. I immediately wondered why his top notes sounded so effortless and somehow not really thrilling - although he makes a beautiful sound, reminiscent of Tito Schipa (who also did not really have a top C). However, it's difficult not to feel a little cheated given how celebrated this aria has become as sung by Pavarotti and Florez, although Valletti's performance is otherwise really charming and not without steel when he needs it. Pagliughi, by contrast, essays a splendid top E natural in her aria "Le Ricchezze" (track 7, side 2). The sound in this 1950 mono recording is a little congested in ensembles but otherwise crystal clear. Pagliughi is clearly singing in a manner drawn from an older tradition before more lower register and vocal colour became the norm - and very lovely it is. Bruscantini is perfect as Sulpizio: urbane, witty, not mugging it up but singing with that characteristically flickering vibrato and pellucid diction. For reasons of the transposition, this cannot be a first choice "Figlia" - but my other favourite versions (the Sutherland/Pavarotti studio recording and Sills' live performance) are in French and it's good to have the Italian version as authorised by Donizetti, if somewhat cut."