La Scena Musicale
"Andrea Chenier is a singer's opera. The tenor has no less than four arias, nicely paced over four acts. The baritone has two big set pieces, Nemico della patria being a real showstopper. The 'poor' soprano is assigned only one, La Mamma morta, but she gets two extended duets and chews scenery while the tenor and baritone work hard to earn their fees. Even a cameo role like the blind woman Madelon, often assigned to superannuated former divas, gets a moment in the sun. With the whole wrapped up in the best verismo tradition, it's no wonder this 'blood and guts' piece has lasting audience appeal. This Naxos release of a seventy-year old performance scores on all counts. Originally issued on Italian Columbia, it features a very young Lina Bruna-Rasa as Maddalena. She pulls no punches vocally nor dramatically, offering up searing high notes and a generous chest register. Carlo Galeffi, a noted baritone with a warm, mellow sound, is a superlative Gerard. Compared with these two powerhouses, tenor Luigi Marini as Chenier is less pronounced, singing correctly and without exaggeration, but with clarion power and heroic heft when required. Also notable is the Roucher of the great character baritone Salvatore Baccaloni. ...As a bonus, Naxos has included seven additional arias by Bruna-Rasa, recorded three years earlier."