OP0233. LE NOZZE DI FIGARO, Live Performance, 29 Jan., 1944, w.Walter Cond. Met Opera Ensemble; Ezio Pinza, Bidú Sayão, Eleanor Steber, Jarmila Novotná, John Brownlee, Salvatore Baccaloni, etc. (Italy) 2-AS Disc 419/20. Very long out-of-print, Final Sealed Copy!
“During the forties, [Steber’s] Mozart singing is a herald of the emerging Viennese Mozart manner. She is as subtle as any Viennese in handling tone and word, vocally able to cast a glinting shimmer upon Mozart’s phrases…. the Steber voice is as lovely as ever, or more so, since the palette she draws upon is greater and her emotional response has deepened….In Walter’s ‘Dove sono’ Steber is no longer merely spinning tone – she summons an outburst of tone and shame at the close of the recitative…..‘Dove sono’ is a vocal and interpretive trial by fire, and the young soprano, whose control of the Mozartean line is both supple and steadfast, emerges not only unscathed but triumphant….What remains a matter for wonder is the complete poise of her vocalism from start to finish….Thoroughly composed, she wafts the gentlest, slenderest thread of tone onto the ether, yet there is nothing anemic or uncommunicative about it….Seldom does an artist capture the psychology as well as the beauty of Mozart’s heroine.
At projecting character, Sayão, in particular, is a past mistress, especially in those parts where a wheedling charm is essential….Bampton is at the peak of her form here and gives an estimable performance….she offers a thoughtfully, carefully plotted reading of the role….Anna’s plight has captured her imagination.”
- Paul Jackson, SATURDAY AFTERNOONS AT THE OLD MET, pp.304; 309 & 310