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Turn-ons And Turn-offs In Current Home Entertainment Releases : Compact Discs

December 17, 1985

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Puccini: "Tosca." EMI/Angel. Many a "Tosca" has graced the catalogue in the past 30 years. Still none can equal the fire and finesse of this desert-island version, conducted by Victor de Sabata. Maria Callas, captured in her prime, conveys definitive electricity and pathos. No one in recent memory has matched the ardor of the young Giuseppe di Stefano as Cavaradossi, much less his ravishing pianissimo. Tito Gobbi's Scarpia was and is the most elegant, most oily, most formidable Scarpia of them all. Now, thanks to CD, the monaural drama can rage with renewed, shocking immediacy and without surface distractions. --MARTIN BERNHEIMER

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