It is good news that these brilliantly remastered recordings are being reissued. Sills' "Lucia" is what most collectors have been waiting for because it's not only one of her best performances, it stands as one of the best overall recordings of "Lucia" in the catalogue.
The legendary Italian baritone Giuseppe Taddei, born in Genoa on 26 June 1926, passed away in Rome on 2 June. Equally adept at singing dramatic and comic roles, especially in bel canto scores, Mr. Taddei was one of the finest Verdi singers of the Twentieth Century. His Metropolitan Opera début, in his calling-card role of Falstaff, came in 1985, nearly fifty years after Mr. Taddei's professional début. Mr. Taddei possessed one of the most beautiful natural baritone voices of the Twentieth Century, a voice preserved on many standard-setting recordings. Voix-des-arts.blogspot.com
At last, Sony offers a domestic reissue of the finest recording of Pictures at an Exhibition in the history of the universe. Well, okay, there are other terrific versions, including Reiner (RCA) and Abbado (DG), but this one has everything–great playing and a big, gutsy interpretation that not only characterizes each section beautifully but also welds the suite together into an extremely satisfying whole. The panoramic final pages, from the start of the tolling bell section, have no peer in terms of detail and sheer sonic splendor, and this is one of the best-sounding recordings that Ormandy and Philly ever got from Sony. So the bottom line is that if you don't own this and you love the work, you need it, and urgently. To be fair, I understand why reissuing it wasn't a priority: Sony has other, excellent versions of the piece, including Bernstein's and Szell's; but even among an embarrassment of riches this is the one to have.
- David Hurwitz