Faust first became popular in this Italian version with libretto by Achille de Lauzières, before being fully accepted in the original French. The Italian text seems to suit the music so much better! Among the many recordings of this opera, this 1920 La Scala performance, made for HMV, must be amongst the best - the main soloists are superb and despite the age of the recording (made acoustically) come through clear due to the wonderful audio restoration work of Andrew Rose.
“Divine Art seems to have done its job well. Most of the singers have rapid little vibratos, but their voices are not unattractive. Autori has a dark voice and fairly smooth delivery ... he isn’t crude and heavy”
“Autori as Mephistopheles: a vital, vivid, vibrant interpretation. He brings the character to life without excess: one of the best. Transfers are well done”
John T. Hughes
“Absolutely minimal surface noise... thus we can appreciate this set as a genuine performance. The quality of this world-class opera company shines through these old discs with an excellence and unfailing deep musicianship that justifies this reissue in artistic grounds”
“Superb sound!...instrumental details are well caught, the chorus has great impact, the singers leap out of the speakers with surprising realism. Carlo Sabajno...secures fine playing and singing from the La Scala forces. The star of the performance is Fernando Autori as Mephistopheles. He has a magnificent black-tinted bass... one of the most impressive devils on any recording. Gilda Timitz is an excellent Siebel and his/her Flower Song is one of the highlights. A lot to admire on this almost 90-year old surprisingly listenable version.”
“The crop of quality singers and the much underrated Carlo Sabajno combine together to provide a truly world class performance on all counts... stunning remastering. This is an essential historical document which is a must for all fans of opera in all guises.”