Performer: Anna Moffo – soprano
Orchestra: Rome Opera House Orchestra
Conductor: Tullio Serafin
Number of Discs: 1 SACD-R
Bit Depth: 64(2.8 MHz/1 Bit)
Number of channels: 3.0, 2.0
Label: Living Stereo
Size: 1.76 GB
Anna Moffo – Arias (1960/2005)
01. Faust, opera: Air des bijoux (Jewel Song) 05:27
02. La bohème, opera: Mi chiamano Mimì 04:59
03. Dinorah (Le pardon de Ploërmel), comic opera in 3 acts: Ombre légère (Shadow Song) 05:59
04. Carmen, opera: Je dis que rien ne m’ épouvante (Micaela’s Air) 06:55
05. Semiramide, opera: Bel raggio lusinghier 07:04
06. Turandot, opera: Signore, ascolta 02:36
07. Turandot, opera: Tu che di gel sei cinta 02:39
08. Lakmé, opera: Air des clochettes (Bell Song) 08:18
This truly delightful disc of mostly coloratura arias forms a nearly perfect bookend with Leontyne Price’s classic “Blue album.” Both Living Stereo discs were recorded within months of each other, featured the same forces (although here led by Tullio Serafin), & were recorded in the same venues; & both featured amazing sopranos at the height of their vocal powers. Unfortunately, Anna Moffo, who was much in demand early on in her career, peaked soon after & disappeared pretty much into obscurity.
This 3-channel disc offers the 1st opportunity to hear these tracks as they were originally recorded, & this disc easily eclipses all previously released digital versions – while managing to sound very analogue-like in the process. Anna Moffo’s coloratura is superb; she sings with a lovely lyrical quality & achieves admirable upper extension throughout. The disc pretty evenly mixes French & Italian genres; on the French side, we get a sprightly rendering of the Jewel Song from Gounod’s Faust, while her heartfelt singing in Delibes’ Bell Song from Lakmé is nothing short of amazing! Traditional Italian fare comes in the form of well-known arias from Puccini & Rossini; for good measure, Meyerbeer’s less frequently played (but truly superb) Shadow Song from Dinorah is included.
Tullio Serafin & the Rome Opera Orchestra are no strangers to this repertory, & offer lush & sympathetic accompaniments throughout. The recorded sound here is remarkable – lets hope RCA/Sony continues to pump these discs out! The only caveat is the rather skimpy 44-minute playing time the disc clocks in at – but truly, what would you pair it with? Very highly recommended!
– Tom Gibbs