One of the most grown-up review sites around

54,928 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here



International mailing

Founder: Len Mullenger                                    Editor in Chief:John Quinn             

Some items
to consider


paid for

Acte Prealable Polish recordings

Forgotten Recordings
Forgotten Recordings
All Forgotten Records Reviews

Troubadisc Weinberg- TROCD01450

100th birthday of Mieczyslaw Weinberg on December 8, 2019.
Renate Eggbrecht has recorded all 3 violin Sonatas
All Troubadisc reviews

FOGHORN Classics

Brahms String Quartets

All Foghorn Reviews

All HDTT reviews

Salon Treasures from the Max Jaffa Library



Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Contributing Editor
Ralph Moore
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger


Discs for review may be sent to:
Jonathan Woolf
76 Lushes Road
Essex IG10 3QB
United Kingdom



Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical
All Naxos reviews

Chandos recordings
All Chandos reviews

Hyperion recordings
All Hyperion reviews

Foghorn recordings
All Foghorn reviews

Troubadisc recordings
All Troubadisc reviews

all Bridge reviews

all cpo reviews

Divine Art recordings
Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10
All Divine Art reviews

Eloquence recordings
All Eloquence reviews

Lyrita recordings
All Lyrita Reviews


Wyastone New Releases
Obtain 10% discount

Recordings of the Month

July 2022

John Luther Adams Houses of the Wind
John Luther Adams
Houses of the Wind

Horneman Alladin
Horneman Alladin

Stojowski piano concertos
Piano Concertos 1 & 2

Vaughan Williams on Brass

Yi Lin Jiang - Dualis I

June 2022

Beethoven Sonatas 29, 32

Orchestral Works

String Quartets Vol 1




Gaetano DONIZETTI (1797 – 1848)
Lucia di Lammermoor (1835)
Beverly Sills (soprano) – Lucia di Lammermoor; Luciano Pavarotti (tenor) – Edgardo di Ravenswood; Raymond Wolansky (baritone) – Lord Enrico Ashton; Simon Estes (bass) – Raimondo Bidebent; Vahan Khanzadian (tenor) – Lord Arturo Bucklaw; Gwendolyn Jones (mezzo) – Alisa; John Duykers (tenor) – Normanno
Orchestra and Chorus of the San Francisco Opera/Jesús López-Cobos
rec. live, San Francisco Opera, 17 November 1972
GOLDEN MELODRAM GM 5.0072 [73:59 + 44:20]

Experience Classicsonline

Like so many live recordings not initially intended for commercial release this 38-year-old effort from the San Francisco Opera has its blemishes. And they are far from negligible. It was recorded in stereo but the balance leaves a lot to be desired. The orchestra dominates the voices and at orchestral tuttis the voices are completely overwhelmed. Even Beverly Sills’s penetrating high notes lose out. The internal balance of the orchestra is also problematic in more than one way. The harp in scene 2 is important but here it becomes the protagonist, extremely closely recorded while the voices seem a mile away.
The true quality of the orchestra is difficult to evaluate but there is a strident quality to the sound that irritates. It’s probably more due to the recording than the playing. In any event large portions of the opera give an impression of aggressiveness. To some extent I also think the conductor is to blame since he rather often chooses speeds that are on the fast side. The sextet is hard-driven and lacks magic and several of the choruses are rushed through. As always there is also a fair amount of applause, not only after arias but also at entrances, and the editing of them is rather clumsily done. In sum, the prospects for an enjoyable evening in front of the loudspeakers are not that favourable.
Still I believe many readers will be interested for the participation of at least two of the most charismatic singers of their generation – and in favourite roles too.
Beverly Sills has her admirers but also her detractors. The main problem with Ms Sills, the detractors say, is her rather thin and wiry tone and the somewhat fluttery vibrato. What makes Sills such a great artist, the admirers retort, is her deep identification with her roles and her expressivity. And, they usually add that her diction is crystal clear! Many readers probably remember these arguments in a sometimes heated debate on Sills vs Sutherland. I have myself come to value Sills very highly for precisely these merits while I can still regret that she didn’t have the rounded tone and the beauty of Sutherland’s voice.
Ms Sills took on Lucia rather late in her career, in 1968 when she was approaching forty. Up till her retirement some ten years later she repeated it a hundred times. She recorded the role in 1970 opposite Carlo Bergonzi and this has long been one of my favourite versions. Some time ago I got a Lucia recorded live in Buenos Aires with Sills. It’s half a year earlier than this San Francisco performance. There she was partnered by Alfredo Kraus, one of the greatest stylists among tenors. It had the same balance problems with the voices rather distantly recorded. However in general it is far preferable to this San Francisco set. Sills is also in marginally fresher voice there but even though Regnava nel silenzio is a little more effortful it is still wonderfully executed and the mad scene is as superb as ever.
Luciano Pavarotti recorded Lucia opposite Sutherland at about this time in London and that recording is regarded by many as one of the classics. Here in San Francisco he is rather insensitive and rarely sings under fortissimo. In their duet it is Ms Sills who cares for the nuances. Nor is he much better in that respect in the finale. He sings magnificently but without subtlety. Not until Alma inamorata does he show his class with some deeply felt pianissimo singing. Raymond Wolansky is rather wooden but at least acceptable as Enrico, while Simon Estes, here in his mid-thirties, and equipped with one of the finest bass voices of his generation, is an uncommonly warm and sonorous Raimondo. Neither of the comprimario tenors is very attractive while Gwendolyn Jones is a worthy Alisa.
Readers who want Pavarotti as Edgardo should turn to the Decca studio recording. Those who want Sills in a live recording of Lucia will be better served by the Buenos Aires set, issued by West Hill Radio Archives and besides a far more stylish Edgardo. It also boasts some fine home-grown singers as Enrico and Raimondo. Only the Simon Estes Fan Club need consider this issue.
Göran Forsling

























Making a Donation to MusicWeb

Writing CD reviews for MWI

About MWI
Who we are, where we have come from and how we do it.

Site Map

How to find a review

How to find articles on MusicWeb
Listed in date order

Review Indexes
   By Label
      Select a label and all reviews are listed in Catalogue order
   By Masterwork
            Links from composer names (eg Sibelius) are to resource pages with links to the review indexes for the individual works as well as other resources.

Themed Review pages

Jazz reviews


      Composer surveys
      Unique to MusicWeb -
a comprehensive listing of all LP and CD recordings of given works
Prepared by Michael Herman

The Collector’s Guide to Gramophone Company Record Labels 1898 - 1925
Howard Friedman

Book Reviews

Complete Books
We have a number of out of print complete books on-line

With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site


Nostalgia CD reviews

Records Of The Year
Each reviewer is given the opportunity to select the best of the releases

Monthly Best Buys
Recordings of the Month and Bargains of the Month

Arthur Butterworth Writes

An occasional column

Phil Scowcroft's Garlands
British Light Music articles

Classical blogs
A listing of Classical Music Blogs external to MusicWeb International

Reviewers Logs
What they have been listening to for pleasure



Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Pat and present

Helpers invited!

How Did I Miss That?

Currently suspended but there are a lot there with sound clips

Composer Resources

British Composers

British Light Music Composers

Other composers

Film Music (Archive)
Film Music on the Web (Closed in December 2006)

Programme Notes
For concert organizers

External sites
British Music Society
The BBC Proms
Orchestra Sites
Recording Companies & Retailers
Online Music
Agents & Marketing
Other links
Web News sites etc

A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Site History  
What they say about us
What we say about us!
Where to get help on the Internet
CD orders By Special Request
Graphics archive
Currency Converter
Web Ring
Translation Service

Rules for potential reviewers :-)
Do Not Go Here!
April Fools

Untitled Document

Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.