ROSSINI Il Barbiere di Siviglia / Flórez 0743299

[The performance] is treasurable . . . Juan Diego Flórez, as Almaviva, is the current heavyweight champion with this style of vocal music and Maria Bayo, the Rosina, operates at his exalted level. But Pietro Spagnoli's lovable Figaro, Bruno Praticò's oh-so-buffo Bartolo, and Ruggero Raimondi's seedy Don Basilio are treats as well.

This is an outstanding, even stunning performance of Rossini¿s comic masterpiece and New York¿s Met at its best. The cast sing with great verve and catch perfectly the spirit of the music. Soprano Kathleen Battle comes close to perfection as Rosina. Her high notes right up to E flat shimmer and there is a real sweetness to her tone. Leo Nucci¿s Figaro has fine vitality in the famous Largo al Factotum.