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Recordings: Alla Breve

January 17, 1988|ALLAN ULRICH

MASCAGNI: "L'AMICO FRITZ." Mirella Freni, Luciano Pavarotti, Vicente Sardinero; Chorus and Orchestra of the Royal Opera, Covent Garden, conducted by Gianandrea Gavazzeni. Angel CDCB-47905 (two compact discs). This agreeably digitalized reissue, 19 years after the recording's first appearance, goes a long way toward explaining even the marginal survival in the repertory of Mascagni's featherweight comedy about the lifelong country bachelor who finally capitulates to matrimony. EMI's sessions captured both Pavarotti and Freni in pristine vocal estate. The central Cherry Duet brims with radiant, consummately tasteful lyricism and unaffected charm. Gavazzeni shapes the 1891 score masterfully without ever inflating its slight but inescapable appeal.

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