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The Independent Culture
Classical: Puccini: Il Trittico. LSO/Philharmonia (EMI).

The three component parts of Puccini's triptych don't often make it as a whole on to the opera stage - too long an evening - so the only standard chance you get of hearing them together is on disc. Although they have no particular integrity as a sequence, they give the same group of voices the chance to show their versatility. The interesting thing is that old recordings, like the classic EMI Trittico from the late 1950s, sold on the strength of the lead soprano and baritone. Now, in this EMI revisitation, it is the lead soprano and tenor who are opera's golden couple. And Angela Gheorghiu and Roberto Alagna don't disappoint. They come as a package with conductor Antonio Pappano, which is what really commends this set, as Pappano is superb: the best you'll find today in this sort of repertory. Jose Van Dam makes an intelligent and likeable Schicchi. Collectively it's a very presentable cast, captured in vivid sound (the old EMI set is mostly mono transfer).

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