Rossini: Il Barbiere di Siviglia (Highlights) (1998)
Fritz Ollendorf (vocals), Gabriella Carturan (vocals), Luigi Alva (vocals), Maria Callas (vocals), Nicola Zaccaria (vocals), Tito Gobbi (vocals), Alceo Galliera (conductor)
composed by Gioachino Rossini
EMI's 1957 Il barbiere di Siviglia remains near the top of the pack of recorded performances of the opera, and this disc of excerpts includes the ... Show synopsis EMI's 1957 Il barbiere di Siviglia remains near the top of the pack of recorded performances of the opera, and this disc of excerpts includes the highlights of the performance. As important as the fine cast is in making this a memorable version, it's a work that needs top-notch conducting to make its fullest impact, and Alceo Galliera leads the Philharmonia Orchestra and Chorus in a quicksilver performance that delivers the work's humor with lightness and its lyricism with warmth. The orchestra's playing is pristine and Galliera makes the most of Rossini's all-important dynamic gradations and subtle demands for rubato; this one of the very finest orchestral performances of the opera. Callas was better known for her tragic roles than as a comedian, but her Rosina is dazzling both musically and dramatically. Her "Una voce poco fa" succeeds both as a breathtaking coloratura showcase and as high comedy. She has seldom sounded better on disc; she has plenty of power and is in absolute control, with no...