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Don Manolito (Sorozábal)

Renato Cesari, Celia Langa, Jorge Algorta, Enriqueta Serrano, Enrique Fuentes. Coros Líricos de Hispavox, Orquesta de Conciertos de Madrid, c. Pablo Sorozábal
EMI 7243 5 74343 2 4 / or / Novoson CDNS-204

Manuel Ausensi, Teresa Berganza, Victor de Narke, Julián Molina, Alicia de la Victoria, Ramón Regidor, Luis Frutos. Coro Cantores de Madrid, Orquesta Sinfónica, c. Pablo Sorozábal
BMG Alhambra WD 71581

Vicente Sardinero, Ana Higueras, Julio Catania, Julio Julián, Alicia de la Victoria, Ramón Regidor, Luis Frutos. Coro Cantores de Madrid, Orquesta Sinfónica, c. Pablo Sorozábal
Zafiro 1055-2

Andrés Garcia Martí, Josefina de la Torre, Enriqueta Serrano, Manuel Gas. Orquesta Sinfónica y coro del Teatro Reina Victoria de Madrid, c. Pablo Sorozábal
Blue Moon BMCD 7518 [highlights]

As so often, here it's the charming, seasoned baritone who wins the day and the lady, and Cesari's assumption of the title role is a indeed a winning one - dignified, touching and sensitively crooned where the witty score demands it. Langa and the rest of the 1959 cast match his level, and with only one small cut EMI's recently re-transferred performance is a clear first choice.

BMG's 1976 version with Ausensi is almost equally to be cherished, though the gruff tone he musters at this stage of his career flattens Sorozábal's subtle wit. Though Margot stretches the top of Berganza's range, her reading of the lovely romance "Una rosa en su tallo" is magnificent, despite an ugly edit near the end. BMG include an orchestral interlude mising in the earlier performance.

Many of the same cast appear on the Zafiro issue, featuring Sardinero's dryish, over-youthful Manolito. Higueras is a lightweight, charming Margot, but the comedy duet is better done (by the same singers) on BMG. Guillermo's football patter song is lustily done by Catania, but there's no real reason for preferring this set to the very similar BMG.

Blue Moon's 1946 extracts - like all these sets conducted by the composer - feature the original cast, and again it is the Guillermo (the incomparable Gas) who makes the strongest impression. All in all, the superior 1959 EMI recording remains the strongest shot. "Gol!"

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