OP0415. ERNANI, Live Performance, 25 March, 1969, w.Gavazzeni Cond. RAI Ensemble, Milano; Montserrat Caballé, Bruno Prevedi, Peter Glossop, Boris Christoff, etc. (Slovenia) 2-Living Stage 4035154. Long out-of-print, Final Sealed Copy! - 3830025742053
“ERNANI is one great tune, one great ensemble, one great idea after another; it’s early Verdi at his most fecund. Gianandrea Gavazzeni whips through the score as if he had a train to catch. I wish I’d been there (it’s actually an RAI broadcast so there was no ‘there’; but you see what I mean). Ensemble work is just about flawless, the chorus and orchestra are right on the money (even if the Milan RAI forces are not the most polished), and the drama never has a chance to stall.
And the cast is pretty glorious: Bruno Prevedi may never have been in the same class as Corelli, Bergonzi, or del Monaco, but he’s only one notch below them. He occasionally jumps the beat, but he sings ardently, is stylistically right, has all the notes, and makes a good bandito. Peter Glossop’s baritone is not particularly Verdian, but he’s a superb Carlo - dignified and noble - and this performance catches his voice at its peak. Boris Christoff is his usual cavernous self as the villainous Silva, and to say he’s imposing is an understatement. Again, he’s caught at his best.
And the icing on the cake is Caballé, her voice in absolutely pristine condition from C to shining C - some in her legendary pianissimos, some at full throttle. Her chest voice is in bloom, as is her involvement with the text (she probably was singing from the score). She even makes ‘Ernani, involami’ sound relatively easy. This set is full of thrills, and the sound is very good. What a bargain!”
- Robert Levine, ClassicsToday.com