?This performance was recorded live at La Scala on January 20, 1964. Gabriele Santini ? who would pass away toward the end of that year ? brings the authority of a life saturated in this repertoire to his pacing.
Sesto Bruscantini hams up Figaro?s sense of self-regard, nicely matching the other big voices on hand: Nicolai Ghiaurov is a positively thunderous Basilio who all but brings the house down, while the underrated Carlo Badioli is alone worth the price of admission for his hilariously characterized Bartolo.
Alva brings wonderful variety to the role, encompassing its lovesickness in his serenades as well as the swagger of the soldier and the unctuousness of the music teacher?the two fake identities Figaro plots out for him.? ? Thomas May