Rossini: Il barbiere di Siviglia

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

LABELS: DG Originals
WORKS: Il barbiere di Siviglia
PERFORMER: Luigi Alva, Enzo Dara, Teresa Berganza, Hermann Prey Ambrosian Opera Chorus, LSO/Claudio Abbado
CATALOGUE NO: 457 733-2 ADD Reissue
Of the many recordings of the Barber, this is one of the very best. Abbado’s 1972 performance scraped away layers of traditional performing practice, revealing the sparkling colours beneath – the whole work was sung in the original keys. The LSO played superlatively well, with an unmatched blend of finesse and panache. The cast was the A-team of the day, performing together regularly on stage with great gain to their work in the recording studio. It may therefore seem ungrateful to offer one or two tiny caveats. No question about the precision of Berganza’s fioritura, but the longer line over the pauses sometimes falters – the velvet perfection maybe just a touch too cool. Luigi Alva lacks the agility to throw off his faster passages without loss of tone and quality. Were it not that he tries too hard, you wouldn’t suspect Hermann Prey was the only non-Latin member of the team. All in all a vocal fiesta, but when it comes to characterisation, there are parts that this otherwise highly recommendable recording doesn’t quite animate. Patrick Carnegy