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John Steane
Gramophone, May 2002

"A complete Ballo with Gigli and Caniglia somewhat outclassed by Bonci and Arangi-Lombardi's extracted arias... Alessandro Bonci, at the age of 56 and near the end of his distinguished career, has an elegance of line and style that point to what was lacking in Gigli's account, which is generous in voice and warm in feeling ... Also a strong point in favor of this new transfer by Ward Marson is that it improves on the EMI version by successfully smoothing over some awkward sidejoins and inconsistencies of balance between voices and orchestra."

Robert Baxter
Courier-Post, March 2002

"Beniamino Gigli's portrayal of Ricardo is the prime interest in this reissue. Gigli pours out a stream of golden sound and sings with grand intensity. Soprano Maria Caniglia sings with great sweep as well, but her voice hardens on top and falls short of the pitch... Fedora Barbieri and Tancredi Pasero add some vocal luster to the performance."

Robert Levine, January 2002

"This lively set has been around in various incarnations for almost 60 years, but Naxos presents it in better, more forward and unobstructed sound than ever before. It's a big, echt-Italian reading of the score, with Gigli, no teenager at the time (I believe he was 53), still the centerpiece of the work as Riccardo (the Boston, rather than Swedish, names are used)....for the most part he's close to ideal, singing with his customary beautiful tone, personality, and spontaneity, and making us care about the character as probably no other tenor on records does. Fedora Barbieri's Ulrica is likewise effective. She's at the start of her career but already singing with big tone (if less chest-push than later), intelligence, accuracy, and innate style. Gino Bechi's huge voice, too, is caught at its most youthful, but (as later in his career) he always sounds menacing, even when he shouldn't. Still, a big healthy sound like his is to be treasured...The Rome forces play very well under Serafin, and the rest of the cast is idiomatic and interested. The bonus tracks, comprising a bit more than a half-hour of music, offer famous singers of the 1920s and '30s in scenes from the opera. Impressive are Giannina Arangi-Lombardi, gushing verismo temperament as Amelia, and Riccardo Stracciari's big-toned Renato. Tenor Alessandro Bonci sounds very out of sorts....Gigli fans will exult."

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