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Suor Angelica – Victoria de los Angeles

La zia principessa – Fedora Barbieri

La badessa / La maestra delle novizie – Mina Doro

La suora zalatrice – Corinna Vozza

Suor Genovieffa – Lidia Marimpietri

Suor Osmina – Santa Chissari

Suor Dolcina – Anna Marcangeli


Rome Opera House Chorus & Orchestra / Tulio Serafin


Naxos Historical 8.111328

Recorded June 1957– 1 CD – 57 minutes


 Suor Angelica is perhaps the most controversial of Puccini’s operas: you love it or you hate it!  It is enveloped in a miasma of romanticised religious fervour, but right at its centre is the stark confrontation between the saintly Angelica and her dogmatic aunt.  It is Puccini at his most dramatic and this vintage live recording brings together two singers who are matchless in these roles. 


Victoria de los Angeles is one of the all time soprano greats and she brings a warmth and clarity of tone, totally sincere without becoming sugary. Fedora Barbieri’s name may have faded from prominence in since the time of this recording, but she had a significant career, most notably as Eboli, and she has a voice with a cutting edge which absolutely evinces steely cold determination. 


Together they are a winning combination which not only justifies the reissue of this recording but at its bargain price propels it to first choice for this opera.  The remainder of the cast are all well up to standard and Tulio Serafin coaxes every inch of emotion from Puccini’s beautiful score.


Serena Fenwick


Selected comparisons:


Katia Ricciarelli, Firenza Cossoto, Bruno Bartoletti  (RCA 886973410226): the young Ricciarelli had, for me, a matchless voice, which is well offset by Cossoto. (Not in the current catalogue but second hand copies are widely available.)


Or on DVD, Rosalind Plowright in in Sylvano Bussotti’s 1983 La Scala production, superbly directed for video by Brian Large. (Warner 5050467-0943-2-1