Giordano: Andrea Chénier / Pavarotti 0743421
. . . James Levine in winning conductorial form and Luciano Pavarotti in one of his signature roles . . . Pavarotti's golden lirico-spinto sound and his outgoing personality had always been ideal for the role of the ardent French poet and revolutionary . . . his voice sounds full and fresh, his diction, as ever, impeccable . . . he inhabits the part with solid conviction . . . [Maria Guleghina] looks smashing in Monloup's beautifully fitted costumes, and she gives a passionately committed performance. The ripe fullness of her tone is satisfying . . . [Juan Pons] is alive to the nuances of this complex role and makes every moment count. His angry howls of imprecation against the French aristocracy in Act I are particularly incisive. One of the best things about this performance is the very high level of the casting, down to the smallest comprimario role . . . the young Stephanie Blythe scores with her Vecchia Madelon. As Bersi, Wendy White creates a memorable portrait in a very few minutes of stage time and is utterly winning in her lusty Act II arietta. Judith Christin is an enjoyably flouncy Contessa di Coigny, Paul Plishka a memorably rough-edged and nasty Mathieu . . . [French character tenor Michel Sénéchal] brings a career's worth of stage savvy and a vocal tone almost untouched by time.
James Levine, brillantissime, donne ses lettres de noblesse à une partition où lyrisme et émotion vont de pair.