OP1140. IL BARBIERE DI SIVIGLIA, Live Performance, 16 Feb., 1956, w.Giulini Cond. La Scala Ensemble; Maria Callas, Tito Gobbi, Luigi Alva, Nicola Rossi-Lemeni, Melchiorre Luise, etc. [Not to be confused with EMI's subsequent studio recording] (Italy) 2-Myto 062.H113. Very long out-of-print, Final Sealed Copy! - 8014399501132
“Maria Callas, who primarily sang the heavy dramatic roles, had an early success in 1950 in Rossini’s IL TURCO IN ITALIA. In 1954 she recorded the role for EMI and the following season she wanted to do it La Scala under the direction of Franco Zeffirelli. Again it was a success, so for February 1956 she demanded IL BARBIERE DI SIVIGLIA….There is a lot of over-acting, especially from Callas, about whom a critic wrote that her interpretation of the role was ‘nearly worthy of a psychoanalytical study’….I am not 100% certain but probably it was the premiere that was recorded….EMI…chose to record the opera under studio conditions in Kingsway Hall a year later.”
- Göran Forsling, musicweb-international
"After serving as a cadet in the Peruvian navy, Luigi Alva studied singing with Rose Mercedes Ajarza de Morales in Lima. He later studied singing with Emilio Ghirardini and Ettore Campogalliani. In 1954 he sang Alfredo in a production at the Teatro Nuovo in Milan. The following year he was invited to take part in the opening of the Piccola Scala, a new studio theatre adjacent to La Scala, as Paolino in a production of Cimarosa’s IL MATRIMONIO SEGRETO, in which he sang opposite Giulietta Simionato and Graziella Sciutti, and which was subsequently recorded by EMI. After the first night, Carlo Maria Giulini, then conducting at La Scala, asked him to sing Count Almaviva in IL BARBIERE DI SIVIGLIA in the main house, with Maria Callas and Tito Gobbi. Alva’s international career was thus effectively launched.
Alva swiftly established himself as a pre-eminent tenore di grazia: at the Salzburg Festival he sang Fenton under Herbert von Karajan (1957–1958), Belmonte and Ferrando (1967), Almaviva (1968–1969) and Ferrando once again in 1970. He also appeared at the Edinburgh Festival in 1957, at the Holland Festival in 1959 in Haydn’s IL MONDO DELLA LUNA, and at the Aix-en-Provence Festival in various Mozart roles from 1960. He made his débuts at Covent Garden in 1960 as Almaviva, at the Vienna State Opera in 1961 and at the Glyndebourne Festival in 1961 as Nemorino, returning in 1962. By this time he was in demand throughout the world. He made his début at the Metropolitan in 1964 as Fenton, and sang there regularly until 1975; he enjoyed especial acclaim for his Nemorino in 1971.
Alva possessed one of the most expressive lyrical tenor voices of his generation. He was especially notable as an interpreter of Mozart and Rossini, and was equally successful in Donizetti’s comic operas DON PASQUALE, L’ELISIR D’AMORE (Nemorino was his favorite role) and LA FILLE DU RÉGIMENT, which he sang in both the French and Italian versions. A man of great personal charm and integrity, as well as an infectious sense of humour, he brought the same qualities to all his stage appearances. He appeared in eighteen productions directed by Franco Zeffirelli, including FALSTAFF at Covent Garden in 1961, which Alva has recalled as ‘very beautiful’ (interview with Silvia Luraghi, 2001). His discography is extensive. These partnerships with outstanding conductors reflect the esteem in which Alva was held for both his beautiful voice and his outstanding musicianship.”
- David Patmore, Naxos' A–Z of Singers