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Classicalite's Five Best: Carlo Bergonzi Recordings

by James Inverne   Aug 4, 2014 10:26 AM EDT

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If you want to pay tribute to the great tenor who died recently, you could do worse than get these fabulous recordings.

Here, then, are Classicalite's Five Best...

Verdi's Un Ballo in Maschera, cond. Erich Leinsdorf, RCA Victor

Really only Pavarotti challenges Bergonzi in this role, and the senior tenor brings more romance to the role. Robert Merrill and Leontyne Price co-star in a cast never bettered, while Leinsdorf, an erratic talent, finds his inner master Verdian.

Puccini's Tosca, cond. Georges Pretre, EMI

Everyone knows that Maria Callas's first Tosca set is the best ever, and this, her second bash, show her vocal blemishes as well as her still-sharp characterization. But she is also joined by a Tito Gobbi even finer than in that earlier recording, and by Bergonzi, simply the finest Cavarossi on disc. His "Vittoria!" outburst in Act II makes the spine tingle.

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