OP1638. L’ITALIANA IN ALGERI (Rossini), Live Performance, 18 April, 1975, w.Claudio Abbado Cond. La Scala Ensemble; Marilyn Horne, Luigi Alva, Paolo Montarsolo, Enzo Dara, etc. (Slovenia) 2-Myto 064.331. Long out-of-print, final copy! - 608974503314
"The Mezzo sopranos are not the leading ladies in opera, the soprano is, but American-born Marilyn Horne became as big a star as any dramatic soprano diva. Her career span the 60's, 70's and 80's, she sang in all the leading opera houses - The Met, Covent Garden, La Scala, etc., and was an artist who upheld the most consummate musicianship. Her voice was not as dark or deep as the voices of such mezzos as Giuletta Simionato, Fiorenza Cossotto, Grace Bumbry and Shirley Verrett. Hers was a voice that had a brassy, dramatic ring to it though she was clearly in her element as Rossini heroines- Neocle in SEMIRAMIDE, Rosina in BARBER OF SEVILLE, LA CENERENTOLA - and she sang Carmen and Adalgisa in NORMA opposite Joan Sutherland. She sang trouser roles like Cherubino. Not being in the spotlight was at first a struggle for Horne, but she overcame this by her dedication and sheer vocal artistry. Her voice is beautiful and BIG, a mezzo with lyric bravura and coloratura to boot. Marilyn Horne is still a very loved American singer."
- Ned Ludd
“Claudio Abbado was named music director of La Scala in 1968 and held the position until 1986, when he became music director of the Vienna State Opera. He also made débuts at Covent Garden and the Metropolitan Opera in 1968, both in productions of DON CARLOS. His repertory included Mozart and Wagner as well, but his real specialties were Rossini and Verdi, whose music he performed with respect for the artistry they embody rather than the showmanship they allow. Mr. Abbado was known for the directness and musicality of his performances. He almost always conducted from memory, insisting that using the score meant that he did not know the work adequately.
Mr. Abbado disdained the trappings of a modern, media-driven conducting career. As communicative as his podium manner was, he seemed slightly awkward coming on and off the stage. Explaining this in a 1973 interview, he compared himself to the conductor Hans Knappertsbusch, whose habit was to refuse curtain calls. ‘I used to be somewhat like that’, he said. ‘Now I take the time to be polite. Look, I like the reaction of the audience. I’m not sincere if I don’t say that, but it still embarrasses me to take bows. I’m not a showman’.”
- Allan Kozinn, THE NEW YORK TIMES, 20 Jan., 2014