OP1314. IL GIURAMENTO (Mercadante), Live Performance, 9 Sept., 1979, w.Albrecht Cond. Vienna Staatsoper Ensemble; Agnes Baltsa, Maria Zampieri, Placido Domingo, Robert Kerns, etc. (Germany) 2-Orfeo Stereo C 680 0621. - 4011790680224
"This recording has long been something of a lodestone among operatic collectors. It is a concert performance, given and broadcast in Vienna in 1979, with one result being reasonably good sound. Another result is that the performers seem to warm up as they go, really hitting their strides about halfway through. In the case of Placido Domingo, that could have been because he learned the role over a weekend, filling in for an ailing member of the planned cast. He is nevertheless one of the drawing cards of this recording, as is the presence of the young Italian soprano Mara Zampieri as the romantic lead Elaisa; her sheer dynamic range, with a slashing, edgy fortissimo, is impressive, as was the late-'70s engineering that captured it for posterity. Beyond the individual singers, however, is the work itself, which was well known in its time but disappeared almost completely by the end of the nineteenth century, and few recordings are available today. Its problem, historically, was that Verdi replaced Mercadante's 'reform' with operatic revolution; the virtues of ILGIURAMENTO - dramatic verisimilitude, a restriction of sheer display in vocal writing, and a natural dramatic conception (the finale involves a violent confrontation between the soprano and tenor leads instead of a set piece for the soprano) - are those Verdi would exploit. This recording represents a slight condensation of the opera by Wiener Staatsoper conductor Gerd Albrecht, who championed the work, but the listener is still likelier to admire the singing than to become emotionally engaged. The work nevertheless represents a key missing link between Donizetti and Verdi, and this recording makes a strong case for it. There is no libretto in the booklet, but a detailed plot synopsis is marked with track numbers in the running text."
- James Manheim, All Music Guide