Beware the sound
L. ADAMIAN | NYC | 03/31/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I second the review immediately preceding mine. Good performances by all three leads if one could only hear it half-way decently. Warning: sound is muffled and remote and not up to par of other good pirates. Get this CD only if you love Gencer or other members of the cast.
An aside: I wonder if Zeffirelli borrowed some ideas from Gencer's performance when directing Callas in the last series of Toscas - two of which I saw in NYC. Now, pace Callas fans; I am one, too. But couldn't help wondering.
Catharsis from Naples
RASTKO-R KOZLEVČAR | Ljubljana, Slovenia | 02/25/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Most opera lovers and connoisseurs associate Leyla Gencer with her towering performances in Donizetti's and early Verdi's operas. And yet one of the XXth century greatest sopranos began her carreer coming from Turkey to Italy interpreting Madama Butterfly and Tosca. While listening to this performance from Naples in January 1955, it is clear the new star was born. I heard and saw many Toscas in my life but I have never heard such passionate, dark and violent second act. Only Callas-Gobbi duo ( if you like Mrs. Callas voice, of course ) can emulate Gencer-Taddei savage confrontation. As Leyla Gencer lover I have many of her recordings but this one, in spite of the sound which seems sometimes strangely remote, is certainly one of those I like the most. Scarpia s sinister character has found in Giuseppe Taddei an ideal interpreter - his "Un tal baccano in chiesa !" is awesome and the seduction scene is simply irresisitible. I was pleased to hear Vittorio de Santis as Mario Cavaradossi - he has nice voice, his "Vittoria, vittoria!" is highly effective and "Lucevan le stelle" sound sincere and not pathetic. I wonder why this fine tenor remained almost unknown.
If you search catharsis and true drama in operatic performance, buy this CD."