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I wouldn't place Bergonzi amongst my absolute favourite tenors, but he is a most musical singer. I sometimes feel he is a bit lacking in real tenor thrills, but that may be because I only know him from the few recordings I have or have heard.

He sings most beautifully on Karajan's Aida and Cav & Pag, but there are others I find more exciting, and in any case I find all three recordings just a little too self-consciously beautiful (not Bergonzi's fault). I prefer Karajan's 1950s opera recordings and also some of his later ones, like the second EMI Aida.

He has made some excellent Verdi recordings though and high on the list would be the Moffo Luisa Miller, the Price Ernani, the Gardelli La Forza del Destino and his contributions to the Philips early Verdi series, I Lombardi, Attila, I Masnadieri and the Orfeo Oberto.

Some would no doubt also include the Serafin/Tebaldi recordings of La Boheme and Madama Butterfly, but I'm afraid I can't take to Tebaldi in either role. (She sounds too mature for my taste.)

I rather like his Cavaradossi on the second Callas Tosca, but Di Stefano, in his best voice, is more characterful on the first, which, in any case, has Callas in supreme voice and is much better conducted by De Sabata than Prêtre.

I'm sure others will have favourites I haven't mentioned.
 

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As per usual, I agree with your comments on Bergonzi in the main. However, I can't help pointing out that the Philips I Lombardi doesn't feature Bergonzi, but the main tenor part is taken by Domingo.

I would agree with the OP that Bergonzi never made a bad recording, but I'm afraid I find his singing overly refined and he lacks excitement. If I had to choose a favourite, it would be his Aida with Price from the Met, where he is much more involved than in his studio recording. I would probably go with his Ernani (again with Price) as his best studio recording.

N.
Yes, you're right. Easy to get those early Verdis mixed up. I should have checked.
 
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