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DONIZETTI: “Don Pasquale.” Lucia Popp, Francisco Araiza,...

DONIZETTI: “Don Pasquale.” Lucia Popp, Francisco Araiza, Bernd Weikl, Yevgeny Nesterenko; Chorus of the Bavarian Radio; Munich Radio Orchestra conducted by Heinz Wallberg. Eurodisc 7790-2-RG (two compact discs). Can a Czech soprano, a Mexican tenor, a German baritone and a Soviet bass even hope to achieve idiomatic results with perhaps the quintessentially Italian opera buffa? You won’t find much of that sunny Latin quality in this often exceptionally well-delivered 1979 performance, released on mid-priced domestic compact disc for the first time. Popp etches a memorable portrait of the scheming widow Norina, while Araiza deploys considerable tenorial finesse in the service of the love-struck Ernesto. But Wallberg’s conducting is generally roisterous and missing the requisite charm and ensemble spirit.


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