OP3339. IL TROVATORE, Live Performance 19 Dec., 1987, w.Bonynge Cond. Met Opera Ensemble; Joan Sutherland [Sutherland's Last Met Performance], Luciano Pavarotti, Leo Nucci, Shirley Verrett, Franco De Grandis, Jean Kraft, Mark (W.) Baker, Stephen O'Mara & Ray Morrison. [Sutherland's 4th Act is truly a tour-de-force - among her finest performances!] (Canada) 2-St Laurent Studio YSL T-1002.
“...Sutherland is much what she would be for the next quarter-century: the finest vocal technician of her time….her vocalism is wondrous to the ear; to this day, it remains unchallenged in terms of security and reliability. She commands admiration.”
- Paul Jackson, SIGN-OFF FOR THE OLD MET, p.391
"In her own time, there was a tendency to take Sutherland for granted, so consistent were her high standards of technique, musicianship and, yes, acting. Her total command of the stage was always formidable. No recording can really give an impression of how big the voice was….it had an astonishing and physically thrilling impact."
- Patrick O’Connor, GRAMOPHONE, Jan., 2007
“Manrico, the tenor troubadour in II TROVATORE, may be the biggest patsy among all the operatic heroes created by Giuseppe Verdi. Just stir up a little trouble and Manrico will dash off to get involved - usually with disastrous results. At the end of Act I he rushes forth to outduel the evil Count di Luna, but he spares the count's life and later gets stabbed for his trouble: At the end of Act III he races to rescue his adoptive mother Azucena; both end up in prison. The woman in Manrico's life, Leonora, is not much help. In Act IV she tries to secure his freedom by giving herself to the count, but bungles the job by dying before Manrico is released, and Manrico goes to the executioner. Why then would anybody want to play poor Manrico? Because his music has the kind of nobility, beauty and stentorian power to make the ear and heart ignore the scornful urgings of the eye and mind. Vocally it was another matter. This was the kind of elegant, radiant singing that has made Pavarotti the most exciting lyric tenor in all opera. For Pavarotti and opera fans alike, Manrico was a major turning point in a notable career. It was the first time at the Met that Pavarotti had ventured beyond light lyric roles into the deeper waters of dramatic Verdi. It is a step wise lyric tenors do not take until they are 40 or so (Pavarotti is 41), for fear of damaging the vocal cords. At that age, the voice usually begins to darken and toughen. Pavarotti's voice is still lighter than one is used to in this music, but he made the adjustment skillfully and convincingly.”
- William Bender, TIME MAGAZINE, 1976