Anna Moffo: Arias – Anna Moffo, soprano – Rome Opera Orchestra, Tullio Serafin, Conductor – RCA Living Stereo

by | Oct 20, 2005 | SACD & Other Hi-Res Reviews | 0 comments

Anna Moffo: Arias – Anna Moffo, soprano – Rome Opera Orchestra,
Tullio Serafin, Conductor – RCA Living Stereo 82876-67905-2 –
Multichannel (3) SACD, 44 min. ****:

This truly delightful disc of mostly coloratura arias forms a nearly
perfect bookend with Leontyne Price’s classic “Blue album.” Both Living
Stereo discs were recorded within months of each other, featured the
same forces (although here led by Tullio Serafin), and were recorded in
the same venues; and both featured amazing sopranos at the height of
their vocal powers. Unfortunately, Anna Moffo, who was much in demand
early on in her career, peaked soon after and disappeared pretty much
into obscurity.

This three-channel disc offers the first opportunity to hear these
tracks as they were originally recorded, and this disc easily eclipses
all previously released digital versions – while managing to sound very
analog-like in the process. Anna Moffo’s coloratura is superb; she
sings with a lovely lyrical quality and achieves admirable upper
extension throughout. The disc pretty evenly mixes French and Italian
genres; on the French side, we get a sprightly rendering of the Jewel
Song from Gounod’s Faust, while her heartfelt singing in Delibes’ Bell
Song from Lakme is nothing short of amazing! Traditional Italian fare
comes in the form of well-known arias from Puccini and Rossini; for
good measure, Meyerbeer’s less frequently played (but truly superb)
Shadow Song from Dinorah is included.

Tullio Serafin and the Rome Opera Orchestra are no strangers to this
repertory, and offer lush and sympathetic accompaniments throughout.
The recorded sound here is remarkable – lets hope RCA/Sony continues to
pump these discs out! The only caveat is the rather skimpy 44-minute
playing time the disc clocks in at – but truly, what would you pair it
with? Very highly recommended!

— Tom Gibbs 

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