"Mario Del Monaco has grown astonishingly in the role of the Moor. From the moment of his appallingly difficult "cold" entrance on the "Esultate!," with its high A, he is the alternatingly regal, brooding, tender, sickly jealous, ferocious Moor of Shakespeare's creation. And he has brought an added dignity to his performance -a restraint in the frenetic moments and a vocal refinement and nuance which are highly commendable."
Thus began Musical America's review of the fabulous 1958 Metropolitan Opera production of Verdi's Otello, conducted by Fausto Cleva and starring Mario Del Monaco, Victoria de los Angeles and Leonard Warren in the lead roles.
Working from superbly recorded source material, the broadcast matinee performance of 8 March 1958 springs to life in this Pristine XR release, remastered by Andrew Rose in Ambient Stereo. Not only is Del Monaco singing perhaps as well as he ever did, but Victoria de los Angeles' rare appearance as Desdemona is quite simply brilliant. Her liquid and creamy soprano is ideally suited to the role, infusing it with a touching sense of injured innocence. Rarely has the pivotal Ave Maria at the start of Act 4 been sung with more beauty of tone and tenderness.