Collection: Rarities

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COMPOSERS: Donizetti and Verdi,Rossini
WORKS: Rarities by Rossini, Donizetti and Verdi
PERFORMER: Montserrat Caballé (soprano) Orchestrae Coro della RCA Italiana; London Symphony Orchestra/Carlo Felice Cillario/Anton Guadagno


Thanks to this year’s Rossini bicentenary and numerous releases and re-releases, the six Rossini showpieces on this disc no longer really deserve the tag ‘rarity’. Sadly this is not the case with the splendidly florid Donizetti excerpts (from Belisario, Parisina d’este, Torquato Tasso and Gemma di Vergy) and Verdi arias (from Un giorno di regno, I lombardi, I due foscari, Alzira, Il corsaro, Arnoldo and Attila) also featured.


Caballe"s reputation as a queen of bel canto is borne out by this recital. Recorded between 1968 and 1970, by which time she was in her mid-thirties and had sung more than 60 roles, her voice was at its peak: dazzlingly accurate and exciting in the pyrotechnic coloratura passages, ravishingly lyrical in the melodic parts. Where Caballé stands out is the way she pays as much attention to the melismata as she does to the legato line. Combined with a delectable sense of characterisation, her outstanding vocal skills make her as brilliant an interpreter of these arias as one could wish for. Claire Wrathall