Gorgeous, What a Voice
L. E. Roberts | Escondido, CA | 02/10/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If you want orchestral and engineering perfection, go elsewhere. If you want a mezzo soprano of incredible voice and character, this is the recording for you. I first knew this opera from a compilation of Grace Bumbry (a fabulous mezzo) that my mother owned on LP, where Miss Bumbry sang an unaccompanied "Mon coeur s'ouvre a ta voix." I recently bought this recording, along with the Grata recording of Jon Vickers and Oralia Dominguez, with bonus track by Richard Tucker and Grace Bumbry. I listened to all of them, several times over. With apologies to Miss Bumbry, whom I love whole heartedly (I also love the tenor of Richard Tucker), the Rise Stevens recording blew them away.
The orchestra is well led, but it sounds provincial, which is probably due to the recording techniques of the time. This is NOT a well remastered original, but an historic recording of the New Orleans Opera. The conducting is excellent, as Renato Cellini ranked with the best. If you want a state of the art recording of the Bacchanale, go for Paul Paray. If you want to hear Dalila sung by one of the greatest mezzo sopranos of them all, this is the ultimate recording. Ignoring the poor recording techniques, "Mon coeur s'ouvre a ta voix" with Rise Stevens and Ramon Vinay is incredible. It is 'tour de force.' It is like listening to Victoria de los Angeles singing Madama Butterfly. You LIVE the music.
For those who like passion in opera, this is the recording."