ClassicalNet

This long lost recording made for what was then the Gramophone Company, Milan in 1920 is a window on the past that has vanished for quite some time. The crop of quality singers and the much underrated Carlo Sabajno combine together to provide a truly world class performance on all counts although the opera sung in Italian may not be to all tastes. (*)

Romagnoli is a tenor of true stature and he sings his parts with consummate ease although the restricted sound obviously limits our appreciation of his greatness. The same goes for the almost completely unknown Gemma Bosini who is also a fine exponent of Marguerite. Fernando Autori’s “Mefistofele” reminds me of the late Norman Treigle’s unmatched performance on EMI which remains my favourite recording of the opera. The minor roles are similarly well taken.

We are indebted to Stephen Sutton who has generously decided to make this recording available with a stunning remastering from his private collection of 78 rpm discs. The notes also include some fascinating biographical sketches of the singers involved and are also very detailed on the historical aspects of this seminal recording along with some fascinating details on the matrixes and issue numbers. This is an essential historical document which is a must for all fans of opera in all guises.

—Gerald Fenech