Serafin’s 78-r.p.m. version was recorded I July 1948, the last of the complete opera sets from HMV that featured Beniomino Gigli as the hero. It is an electrifying performance, with voices firm and true. Heralded by trumpets that vividly leap out of the speakers, Gigli launches into Celeste Aida At the start with a clarity and bravura that mark his whole performance. Maria Caniglia in the title role is at her very finest, using the widest range of expression, a fire-eater who knows tenderness too, while Gino Bechi is a superbly sinister Amonasro with a natural snarl in the voice. The others characterize strongly too, with the close balance of the voices and relative dryness of acoustic vividly bringing out words and expression. The transfers by Ward Marston are standing, making this one of the very finest of the impressive Naxos historic opera series.
"With Serafin's wise and experienced guidance, this formidable quarted produces red-hot Verdian Darma? Although the Rome Opera orchestra occasionally sounds a bit scrappy, Serafin's conducting delivers plenty of theatrical punch and helpful flexibility for his singers."