OP3328. LA FILLE DU RÉGIMENT, Live Performance, 6 Jan., 1973, w. Bonynge Cond. Met Opera Ensemble; Joan Sutherland, Luciano Pavarotti, Regina Resnik, Fernando Corena, Andrea Velis, etc. (Canada) 2-St Laurent Studio YSL T-932.
“The show was constantly being stopped…where a new production of Donizetti's LA FILLE DU RÉGIMENT was staged. Joan Sutherland stopped the show at her entrance and several times thereafter. Luciano Pavarotti stopped the show with his first aria and, later, with the ‘Quel desin’ aria, the one with the nine - high C's….It was that kind of evening, a fun evening with some awfully exciting singing. LA FILLE DU RÉGIMENT never was considered on the intellectual plane of ‘Critique of Pure Reason’, but it is agreeable, full, a sweet, harmless, amusing little opera that gives the prima donna a chance to take over the stage as comedienne…..All eyes were on Joan Sutherland. She had sung the role of Marie about five years ago in London, and the critics there went wild over Sutherland the comedienne….She was often genuinely funny, and seemed to be having a good time….She showed that she was a good mimic, she moved with more grace than she has done in any role at the Metropolitan …And she sang beautifully. Her voice was under fine control. As always, she threw out many notes in alt, but those D's and E flats, impressive as they may be, are not the real glory of the Sutherland voice. The rich sound, coupled to extraordinary flexibility, is the real glory. Miss Sutherland spun out arch after arch of pure tone. What is more, it was expressive tone. There has not been more beautiful or expressive singing in any opera house than in Miss Sutherland's second-act romance, ‘Il faut partir’. This was bel-canto at its best - secure in technique, melting in tone, delicately shaded, long-breathed.
In the last two years Luciano Pavarotti has come up fast, and today he is the reigning tenor in the lyric side of the Italian repertory. God has kissed his vocal cords, as he has said. This is a voice on the Gigli order, though used with more taste and musicianship. He sings the B's and C's as though he is not afraid of them, and the voice has an absolutely unbroken scale.
For a man of his bulk, he moved surprisingly well through the role of Tonio. And with such a ring in his voice, such an easy and focused projection, he worked beautifully with Miss Sutherland. The first act duet, ‘De cet aveu si tendre’, showed two virtuosos, two gorgeously matched voices, making music together rather than trying to outdo each other. Pavarotti's last-act romance, too, was as stylish an example of bel-canto as one is going to encounter from any tenor today.
The real comedienne of the evening was that wonderful veteran, Regina Resnik. She even played the piano in the lesson scene, with better rhythm than the conductor. Miss Resnik's acting was comedy on a high scale, and she even was able to upstage Fernando Corena. Not many singers can boast of so epochal a feat. Mr. Corena was perfectly cast as Sulpice, and Andrea Velis had some effective bits as Hortensius.
The Metropolitan Opera will of course have a hit on its hands with this production of LA FILLE DU RÉGIMENT. With Sutherland and Pavarotti at the top of their voices it could not have been otherwise.”
- Harold C. Schonberg, THE NEW YORK TIMES