OP0258. ANNA BOLENA, Live Performance, 16 Dec., 1975, w.Rudel Cond. Philadelphia Opera Ensemble;
Renata Scotto, Samuel Ramey, Susanne Marsee, Stanley Kolk, etc. (Portugal) 2-Legato Classics 175. Long out-of-print, Final Sealed Copy! - 036674175225
"[Scotto] threw herself into everything she sang, never holding back. Scotto was a totally theatrical creature who brought every character she sang vividly to life in a way not found in very many sopranos this side of Maria Callas. If the result is occasional hardness on a high note or an unsteady pianissimo, that is a small price to pay for the total immersion she offers."
- Henry Fogel, FANFARE
“Better voices sing these parts with more body and security, but they are dull; they could easily feed their voices onto computer tape and let technology sing for them. Parceling out the notes as each score reads, for only Scotto takes the trouble to distinguish….Scotto is the last of the mad-genius sopranos….When she goes, opera is [will be, and is] in a lot of trouble. Above all, she is mistress of the traditions, with a grasp on authenticity.”
- Ethan Mordden, DEMENTED, THE WORLD OF THE OPERA DIVA, p.99
“No, this is not the finest recording of this not-well-enough-known masterwork of Donizetti's. In a way, there is no ideal performance available. Callas and Gencer fans will not want to give up their sets, since no matter what else happens, the soprano singing the title role is always going to be the star, but Renata Scotto had not yet sung herself to distraction when this show was caught live, and the excitement she stirs up is equal to that of both Callas and Gencer. Furthermore, her Henry VIII on this set is bass Samuel Ramey, who allows his big, burnished sound to roll across the footlights right into our consciousness in a way that only great low-voiced men (i.e., Pinza or Chaliapin) can. He rules the scenes he's in just as the King ruled England. The rest of the cast is very fine, and Julius Rudel, who conducted Beverly Sills in the role often, knows his way around the score's beauty and drama. This is a good introduction to this fascinating work--those who only know Lucia di Lammermoor are in for a great surprise with Anna Bolena.”
- Robert Levine