Donizetti: L'elisir d'amore Glyndebourne GFOCD 005-62
E. S. Wilks | Hockessin, DE USA | 02/10/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Glyndebourne's reputation for operatic productions of the highest caliber has been known for many years. Since their first presentation in 1934, they have aimed consistently for the finest productions possible. This 2-CD package of Donizetti's 'L'elisir d'amore' is no exception; the performance, dating from 1962, offers a star-studded cast that includes Mirella Freni, Luigi Alva, and Sesto Bruscantini. Freni, as expected, delivers a sparkling performance. The recording is very clear, with minimal coughing or other distractions from the audience, but with the inevitable on-stage noises, such as people moving around on the stage. Sound quality is typical for a 1960s public performance. As a historical document, this recording clearly has value; one wonders why the Glyndebourne Opera company chose to wait 47 years before releasing the recording. The lavish booklet includes the complete libretto in Italian, English, French, and German, a detailed synopsis in English, French, and German, an essay by George Hall on 'elixirs,' and some comments about Glyndebourne's history. My only peeve, a tiny one, is that the CDs, tucked into two pockets on the inside of the front and back covers of the booklet, are very hard to extract without getting fingerprints on the playing surfaces, which can cause playback malfunctions.