Giordano Andrea Chénier Tebaldi/Cossotto/Del Monac 4254072

This is one of the true gems of the Tebaldi/del Monaco partnership . . . totally suited to their voices and make-up, and in their prime years . . . and the podium was turned over to a conductor with a complete feel for the style. The result is surely the finest studio recording of this opera, and one of the finest overall . . . The quality of these reissues is extraordinary in every way . . . the real value is the improved sound quality. The recordings in every case are clearer, warmer, and fuller in sonority . . . [del Monaco's] sound is positively thrilling, firm and remarkably resonant . . . But there are other moments, and many of them, that are extremely sensitive . . . And when raw power is wanted, no one was his equal. Tebaldi is in her central prime . . . The full bloom of her tone is uniquely beautiful, but so is the natural and moving way in which she shapes the music. She is a believable actress here, thrilling with her anguish at the end of the third act . . . Gerard was perhaps the greatest role for Ettore Bastianini . . . [with] a rich and powerful voice, tonal brilliance, and an ability to lean into a phrase convincingly . . . his strongly focused tonal production is one of the thrills of this set . . . Gianandrea Gavazzeni's conducting is so knowingly shaped and so dramatic . . . [that he] deserves a good deal of the credit for the overall impact of this recording.

The beauty of Tebaldi's voice could melt a stone, and she certainly brings out the best in Mario del Monaco. Their great scenes in acts II and IV are spellbinding . . . Gianandrea Gavazzeni leads a propulsive account -- detailed, and relishing Giordano's rich orchestral palette . . . In short, this is a first-rate achievement in every way . . . you'll be hard-pressed to believe this recording is now 60 years old. And in terms of studio recordings of "Andrea Chenier", I don't think there has ever been a better overall version . . . crank up the speakers, and enjoy verismo opera at its best.