, February 2001
"The third volume in Naxos' chronological survey of Enrico Caruso's recordings offers a generous sampling of the celebrated tenor's greatest hits. Start with track 8, and hear why Caruso's 1907 'Vesti la giubba' remains the archetype for generations of aspiring Canios. Then back up to track 6. Revel in his effortless legato and unforced yet powerful B-flats in 'Un di all'azzurro spazi' from Andrea Chenier. The fourth of Caruso's six Celeste Aida recordings is his first with orchestra, and the slowest of the batch. Caruso also had that special knack for spinning lighter fare into memorable gold, like Tosti's 'Ideale' or Barthelemy's 'Triste ritorno' and 'Adorables tourments.'
"Among the tenor's 1906-08 sessions are a feast of ensembles featuring his Metropolitan Opera cohorts. Indeed, baritone Antonio Scotti and the tenor complement each other to the extent that it's hard to ascertain who's who in Verdi's Solenne in quest 'ora from La forza del destino. Scotti figures in the 1907 and 1908 Rigoletto Quartets, the first of Caruso's three Lucia di Lammermoor sextets, and a memorable Act 3 Quartet from La Bohème, with Geraldine Farrar's beguiling Mimi. Then there is Caruso and Farrar's ardent love duet from Madama Butterfly. If you zero in on Farrar's opening phrase, she sings what seems to be "he had a highball!" No hanky panky, however, concerning Ward Marston's clean, honest transfers. Recommended, of course."