Our old friend, tenor Henry Price alerted us to the recent posting on You Tube (https://youtu.be/wxEsheyl3-8) of a 1978 City Opera La traviata with him in the role of Alfredo, the Rumanian soprano Mariana Nicolescu as Violetta, and the late Puerto Rican baritone Pablo Elvira as Giorgio Germont. The Hungarian maestro Imre Pallo leads the NYCO orchestra at a fast clip. The recording is a typical vintage pirate one, complete with occasional coughing and Bravi from the audience.
Ms. Nicolescu sounds great, with a darkish middle voice and fearless high notes, plenty of flexibility for Sempre libera and enough heft to get her through the heavier second and third acts unscathed. Pablo Elvila, a true Verdian baritone delivers a great performance as Germont, with one of the most beautifully sung Di Provenza this listener ever heard. Henry Price is impeccable as Alfredo, with clarion top notes and a lovely lyric tenor voice that serves him well in his duets with Violetta and in a perfectly sung Dei miei bollenti spiriti. Price is not fazed by the more dramatic moments in the gambling scene in act two, which he sings with a keen understanding of text and character.
The comprimarios are all top notch and they bring to mind what a treasure trove the old City Opera was. Ditto for the chorus and orchestra, led by Pallo at times with breakneck tempi but always sympathetic to the singers.
For those of us who feel nostalgic for the great years of City Opera and wonder what became of so many young singers who got their first breaks on that stage, this You Tube link is a welcome gift.
Rafael de Acha http://www.MusicNotes.com