La linda tapada (Alonso)

Dolores Cava, Rosita Montesinos, Manuel Ausensi, Pedro Lavirgen. Coro Cantores de Madrid, Orquesta Sinfónica, c. Benito Lauret
BMG 82876 501172 / or / Novoson CDNS-206

[digest from the full review]

La linda tapada (1924) was Alonso's first, great triumph - and what a marvellous score it is! 17th century Salamanca gave José Tellaeche the setting for a romantic drama featuring a variety of situations and characters, and this diversity is reflected in Alonso's generous score, with many numbers based on aristocratic or popular Castilian dance forms. Lauret's neatly pointed direction lacks nothing in theatrical largesse, and his sizeable cast perform with distinction. Ausensi as Don Inigo (doubling as a Gypsy who gets to sing the most famous song in the score, "En la carcel de villa") is in lusty form, and if Montesinos's fresh-voiced Inés rather upstages Cava's Laura - the eponymous 'veiled beauty' - that testifies to the rather better opportunities Alonso sends her way.

The more cause to regret BMG's unpardonably poor transfer, congested to the point of distortion, gilded with perceptible electronic reverb, and with the dynamic range of a flat pancake; and surely at medium price BMG could have offered better value by at least including a libretto? But with no competition in the catalogue, this issue is self-recommending.