VERDI Aida Price Gorr Vickers Solti 4782679

One of America's leading sopranos for over three decades, and a favourite with conductors from Karajan to Levine . . . With "Aida", the Decca set of 1961 enshrines one of Price's most desirable readings, tone and expression in perfect accord, the phrases long and the technical hurdles of "O patria mia" gloriously jumped . . . she is a most persuasive interpreter. In any case her place as one of the 20th-century's most glorious voices and as an artist who could touch the heart, especially in her own language as Bess and in Italian as Aida, is assured.

Solti motivates his account of Verdi's score with thrilling dynamism, fully displaying the music's grandeur and depth as well as deriving considerable refinement from his Roman forces. His cast is led by Leontyne Price, the Aida of her generation, her enriched soprano fleshing out the title role with heady sensuality. Opposite her, Jon Vickers is a Radames in the heroic mould, but with the character's sensitive side also to the fore in a comprehensively thought-through and superbly sung account. Rita Gorr delivers Amneris's outsize passions in the grandest manner and Robert Merrill makes a memorably complex Amonasro, observing such niceties as comforting the heartbroken Radames after his unwitting admission of Egypt's battle plan. Compelling.