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Released to celebrate Gobbi’s 100th Anniversary, these recordings come from the BBC archives. Filmed for television in 1965 and 1966, they show the great baritone in heavily cut excerpts from three of his most famous roles. Rigoletto is the least successful to the modern eye: it seems hammy and only Gobbi and Renata Scotto’s Gilda offer any dramatic engagement (rather too much in his case, with the camera so up-close and personal). Gianni Schicchi is the perfect antidote and here Gobbi is fresh, sly and witty – an interpretation that would still look completely at home on today’s stage. Elizabeth Robson’s Lauretta is delightful. As Scarpia, Gobbi provides a masterpiece of controlled presence, avoiding any hint of overacting; Marie Collier is a plangent Tosca. Vocally the baritone is generally stupendous, his tone forward-placed and vibrant, his use of the text exemplary. Slightly grainy black and white picture and dull orchestral sound.

Francis Muzzu Read the full review on Agora Classica

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