La rosa del Azafrán (Guerrero)

Teresa Berganza, Manuel Ausensi, Julita Bermejo, Gerardo Monreal. Coro Cantores de Madrid, Orquesta Sinfónica, c. Nicasio Tejada
BMG Columbia 33031 2 / or / Novoson Z-585

Isabel Penagos, Vicente Sardinero, María Orán, Víctor Blanco, Gregorio Gil. Coro y Orquesta del Teatro Apolo, c. Odón Alonso
Zafiro 1002-2

María Espinalt, Conchita Panadés, Marcos Redondo. Coro y Orquesta Sonfónica Española, c. F. Delta
EMI 5 74155 2

Felisa Herrero, Jesús Menéndez, Marcos Redondo, Eladio Cuevas, Pepe Alba. c. Jacinto Guerrero
Blue Moon BMCD 7540 [highlights]

Marcos Redondo, Condesa de Sclafani, Eladio Cuevas, María Téllez. c. Jacinto Guerrero
Blue Moon BMCD 7527 [highlights]

The old BMG set starring Berganza, in one of her first starring roles for the Alhambra series, still holds sway. No other complete performance can boast such vivid, characterful singing, and Tejada's affectionate direction has not been bettered.

Alonso on Zafiro is a better recorded alternative, but even Penagos sounds monochrome compared against Berganza, and Sardinero is a dry stick of a Juan Pedro, staunchly though he sings. Not surprisingly, comparison of Redondo's early LP set with the extracts he recorded many years before with the composer reveals something of a vocal decline from his superb best, and Espinalt is a sour Sagraria.

Both sets of extracts on Blue Moon are worth hearing, although the later set with the mysterious Condesa de Sclafani (revealed as a lady amateur who paid for the privilege of recording the title role!) inevitably doesn't have quite the impact of the earlier extracts with Herrero, Redondo is - if anything - on even better form.