LABELS: RCA Victor Living Stereo
WORKS: Lucia di Lammermoor
PERFORMER: Roberta Peters, Jan Peerce, Philip Maero, Giorgio Tozzi; Rome Opera Orchestra & Chorus/Erich Leinsdorf
CATALOGUE NO: 09026 68537 2 ADD Reissue
Though less consistently inspired, Linda di Chamounix, which Donizetti wrote for Vienna in 1842, has much of the charm of his earlier and more frequently performed L’elisir d’amore. Its full-scale overture is one of the composer’s finest, and several of its numbers have a gentle, pastoral mood which is most appealing. Linda’s coloratura entrance aria, ‘O luce di quest’ anima’ is the best-known piece in the score, and Mariella Devia despatches it with an easy brilliance.
Luca Canonici is at his best in the hero Carlo’s ‘Se tanto in ira’, one of Donizetti’s most elegant arias for tenor, while the villain, an elderly Marquis who presses his unwelcome attentions on Linda, is strongly characterised by Alfonso Antoniozzi. Under Gabriele Bellini, the Dutch chorus and orchestra sound authentically Italianate.
RCA’s Lucia dates from 1957. Even if there were not more recent superior versions available, I would find it difficult to recommend this one, for Erich Leinsdorf conducts it most insensitively. Roberta Peters sings pleasantly enough as Lucia, but in general makes a rather colourless heroine. The Enrico is no more than adequate, but Giorgio Tozzi is a fine Raimondo. If one were to acquire this recording, it would only be for the stylish and vigorous Edgardo of Jan Peerce. Charles Osborne