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Jugar con fuego (Barbieri)

Pilar Lorengar, Manuel Ausensi, Carlos Munguia, Antonio Campo. Coro de Cámara del Orfeón Donostiarra, Orquesta Sinfónica, c. Ataulfo Argenta
Novoson Z-540

The only substantially complete recorded performance of Barbieri's first epoch-making success enjoys classic status - and with reason. Lorengar is at her youthful, radiant, rich best - one of her most sheerly musical performances on disk (with some wonderfully secure stratopheric cadenzas thrown in!). Ausensi is tremendously well cast as the coarse, braggardly comic villain at the centre of the plot and brings it off magnificently. Munguia and Campo are equally distinctive, and Argenta's direction is a model of musical energy and stylish elán. If only there had been room on the original LP to open out some of the inevitable cuts to choruses and orchestral introductions - and if only Novoson's CD transfer were less glassily acidic. Still, in every other way this is a zarzuela document to relish.

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