Donizetti: Lucia Di Lammermoor
London Symphony Orchestra & Thomas Schippers
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One of a Kind!
Even though this recording does not capture Sills's voice at its absolute best, it is still one of her best complete recordings. She sang this role all over the world, and her familiarity with it comes across here with a well-considered, sensitive performance. Of particular note is that this recording was the first (and I believe is still the only) to use the glass harmonica that Donizetti originally planned in the Mad Scene. The combination of its eerie, plaintive quality and Sills's expressive singing makes for an unforgettable impression. Schippers did some uneven work in opera, but he leads an exciting, wonderful detailed performance. Bergonzi is predictably good, making Edgardo sound heroic for a change, and Cappuccilli is especially villainous as Enrico (maybe a bit over-the-top at that - you can almost picture him twirling his mustache at points!). Diaz lacks some focus, but that's not such a bad thing for his character. Sutherland may boast the fuller voice, but her Lucia is quite pallid indeed compared to this one. Only Callas made Lucia more of a flesh-and-blood character, and this recording is one of the few that can stand next to hers as a comparable artistic achievement.
I don't believe that there is, besides Maria Callas's famous recording, a recording of Lucia that matches up to this. This is just a great opera. buy it
Wonderful vocals AND acting
There are many great performances of Lucia and this is definitely one to have in your collection. There is nothing like Sills with her deep routed emotional interpretations. She does sacrifice vocal quality, at times, for the raw emotion of the moment, but it really captivates the listener.
This is truly an emotional listening experience. She doesn't just sing beautifully (like Sutherland) but she also has great interpretations. They say this is one of the three recordings in the Holy Trinity of Lucia di Lammermoors: Callas, Sills, and Sutherland. They all bring something unique. For me, it's how truly feminine and beautiful Sill's voice is while STILL portraying the heartbreak in the text. It's almost as if Sills is a combination of Callas and Sutherland. True acting combined with beautiful sound.
I would also like to comment on the previous reviewer who stated that if you want to hear Sills in her prime focus on the Tutor Queens, Thais and Baby Doe. I would most definitely replace Thais with this Lucia recording. Sills was much more known for her Lucia than her Thais. This Lucia was recorded in 1970, while her Thais was done a whole 6 years later when some of her vocal decline started to show.