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Which ensemble performs the most satisfying rendition of "Bella figlia dell 'amore""

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For a quartet, this is to an important extent a tenor showpiece, and the tenor very nearly makes or breaks it. But a poor conductor, it seems, can ruin it too. I'm sorry to find that the ensemble of Moffo, Elias, Merrill and Flagello is spoiled by Solti's frantic tempo, which trivializes fatally music that isn't exactly profound to start with but which should at least please in the way it counterpoints lyrical phrases against that cackling mezzo-soprano. There's no reason why this talented bunch of singers shouldn't turn in a fine performance, except that here they literally haven't the time to do it. This was my first recording of Rigoletto and my introduction to the complete opera. I thought it was fine fifty years ago, but I wouldn't be eager to renew my acquaintance based on this excerpt.

I've thought of Tagliavini as a lyrical stylist in the Schipa mold, but he fails to live up to that here, with strained and blasted high notes. He makes the whole thing hard to listen to; against his yelling the other singers hardly matter. It's the latest of these recordings that presents the music in the best light, with Domingo phrasing the opening solo nicely and not sounding as if he's strangling himself later on (the thing does lie cruelly high, and no one sings it easily). The other singers are fine, and Giulini, unlike Solti, knows how to conduct Italian opera. This was the only performance of the three that I could enjoy, at least as long as I could keep the ghosts of Caruso and Galli-Curci at bay.
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