Merlyn | St. Louis, MO USA | 12/01/2009
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Pro: This really is the classic recording.
Cons: There is no libretto. Instead you get a "Bonus CD" with the libretto and a cued synopsis on it. You can follow on the screen or print the whole thing out yourself.
The recording has not been remastered. It's the same one Amazon sold at mid price.
This thing is at mid price. It has been continuously in print for over 50 years. This recording has long since paid for itself. Deleting the libretto seems simply a ploy to maximize profits even further.
If you must have new, or will not buy used, or do not mind having your own self printed libretto, then this is your cup of tea.
EMI has done the same thing with the Giulini version of Don Giovanni.
EMI seems to be in the process of deleting the older mid priced versions of its operas with librettos and replacing them with these cut rate do it yourself versions at the same price points. I do hope I'm wrong, but I think I'm not.
What I find most annoying is that these operas have be continuously in print for 40 to 50 plus years. They have long since paid for themselves and are pure profit. I own the EMI vinyl of this issue. In 1975, it originally came at $15 with lovely cover art, a beautiful booklet, notes, pictures, illustrations, and texts with translations. Then it went to CD at $35 to $40 with a cheap book, almost no notes, and a text with translations. They called this "mid price". Now for the same "mid price" you get to do your inadequate notes/text/translation. And at 80 pages or printing, you'll probably need a binder and bookshelf.
Most lables (RCA, DECCA, Philips, DG) that drop the libretto also drop the price to $6-$7 per disk. Not EMI.
For future reference on EMI opera sets, select the "see larger view" option for the picture of the cover. In the upper left corner of the cover, in very small type, you will see the notice "Bonus CD with synopsis and libretto". Whatever price you are paying, it means you will have a do-it-yourself libretto.