"Donizetti's operatic production is amazingly abundant, but only a few titles were regularly performed in the XXth century until the 'Bel canto revival' of the fifties and sixties. This is partly explained by melodies and themes lacking of interest or originality, and partly by the extraordinary vocal abilities demanded (especially to sopranos). A small group of outstanding sopranos have been responsible for Donizetti's revival: Callas, Gencer, Sutherland and Caballé, and, more recently, Gruberova. Roberto Devereux was exhumated in 1964 by Leyla Gencer after being forgotten for almost a hundred years. This recording was taken during one of those historical performances. Here we have a splendid Elisabetta sung by Gencer. An excellent Nottingham is sung by a young Piero Cappuccilli, and Ana Maria Rota is very good as Sara. Ruggero Bondino sings a forgettable Roberto Devereux, but fortunately the title role of this opera is of secondary importance. The Naples orchestra sounds well, conducted by Mario Rossi. The quality of sound is good. Despite some generalized opinion, this opera has good merits and deserves more attention. The music has moments of quality and grandeur. This recording provides an excellent opportunity: an outstanding historical performance by an exceptional soprano (Gencer) and an excellent baritone (Cappucilli) at a very low price. As usual, it would be highly desirable that Opera d'oro series included libretto and comments, especially in the case of rare operas like this one."
A LEGEND SINGS A LEGENDARY ROLE.
rafael garcia | 10/06/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Some years ago the great Beverly Sills recorded this classic role. That recording was legendary. Now we have a live recording of the great Leyla Gencer singing the role. This performance is superb; dramatic, gripping, and also legendary."
A friend of mine gave me this recording -
rafael garcia | Madrid Spain | 01/17/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"and I'm so glad she did. Devereux is one of Donizettis lesser known operas - but it is well worth getting to know - especially if Leyla Gencer is singing.She does everything - the only problem is that that there is no libretto so as commanding as Gencer maybe I don't really know what she is singing about-still the recording is well worth purchasing."
Only OK. It sadly didn't rise to its expectations and popula
Armindo | Greece | 07/20/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I truly believed I'd find perhaps the greatest Elisabetta in Leyla Gencer, especially considering the year of this performance. Almost every other Donizetti opera I have with her ranges from interesting to excellent with Belisario being a personal favourite. Her impressive Lady Macbeth sort of promised me a great Elisabetta (both roles are fierce vocally and dramatically) but vocally I was dissapointed by this performance. She sounds surprisingly unsteady and often tired though she demonstrates Elisabetta's anger well. I also expected a top note at the end of her cabaletta; I could have lived without it if the rest of her performance was better. She must have had an off night because even later performances find her in better vocal state.
Cappuccilli was in his vocal prime and would soon graduate to the group of leading baritones of the time. It's a pleasure to have such a handsome voice with its caressing legato in a role that isn't often sung by top class singers. Rota sings a fine Sara.
I don't think the title role is of secondary importance as a previous reviewer mentioned. If you hear an excellent Roberto Devereux like Jose Carreras (in one of his finest performances ever), you'll immediately realise the difference and how more interesting the opera becomes. Ruggero Bondino is virtually useless here and with this performance gets my vote for one of the most miscast tenors. Sound is standard 60s sound and maestro Rossi merely adequate.
Overall, an OK performance which could have been super with Gencer in better form and Corelli, Bergonzi, Aragall in the title role and Gavazzeni leading the orchestra. "