BJÖRLING in Puccini's Manon Lescaut (Met, 1956)

"To judge from the freshness and warmth, the solidity and ring of the sound he is currently producing, this should be but a waypoint on a singing career paralleled by few tenors of our time. With all respect for those who have done the lion's share of the roaring at the Metropolitan this season, Björling brings something individual, refined, and cherishable into the operatic jungle, which -- to say the least - more should have the opportunity to enjoy.

With such so staunch a partner as Licia Albanese to give her own skilful version of the heroine and Dimitri Mitropoulos providing responsive leadership, this was the best account of Puccini's earliest masterpiece to be heard this season. Here was an occasion to which the management could point - if it was vulgarly disposed - with pride." - Saturday Review of Literature, 1956

The Met broadcast of 1956 is by far the most exciting of Björling’s four recordings of Manon Lescaut, capturing the full range of his vocal colours, his resplendent tone, and above all his passion. The opening aria, ‘Tra voi, belle’ has just the right degree of lightness and frivolity, but by Act 3 ‘Non! Pazzo son!’ is tormented, anguished and replete with as much dramatic tension as anyone could want. The duet in Act 4 allows him to showcase his exceptionally beautiful voice. This new XR-remastered transfer by Andrew Rose offers this exceptional performance in unprecedented sound quality.