22 July 2011 | TheLittleSongbird
A remarkable production/broadcast of Bellini's Bel Canto masterpiece
I Puritani is a Bel Canto masterpiece, and one of Bellini's masterpiece alongside Norma and La Sonnambula. The story is vivid and compelling as are the characters and the music with colour and Bellini's distinctive style(the arpeggios for instance) is wonderful.
This 1976 production/broadcast from the Met is truly remarkable. The orchestra play with superb style, and to me this is one of Richard Bonynge's more secure conducting jobs.
The singing is fantastic from all four principals. Joan Sutherland is dazzling as Elvira. There may be a slight wobble in her voice, but while I am one of those who always have loved her even when she was past prime it is more attractive than it was in the 80s. Her performance here though is wonderful and one of her better ones of the late 70s. Her trill at the end of Qui La Voce is superb.
Luciano Pavarotti is in the role of Arturo, and to me this is a role he is perfect for. The role shows off his unique, rich and effortless high notes perfectly. Hearing his singing in A Te, O Cara, you'll know what I mean.
Then there is the singing of old favourite Sherrill Milnes, which is nothing short of magnificent, and Riccardo is one of the non-Verdi roles he excels in. His singing in Ah! Per Sempre... Bel Sogno Beato is very musically and intelligently done, and when he joins forces with James Morris as Giorgio in Suoni La Tromba they literally bring the house down.
James Morris is an excellent Giorgio, one of my favourites roles of his alongside Wurm in 1979's Luisa Miller, Wotan in 1990's Ring Cycle and Henry VIII in 1984's Anna Bolena. All the principals get a turn to shine, and Morris does indeed shine, especially in Cinta Di Fiori, which is one of my personal favourites of the opera.
In conclusion, truly remarkable. 10/10 Bethany Cox