I'm so tired of current events that I had to write something completely different.
Here's the question: Suppose you were to be stranded on a desert island. Further suppose that said desert island has electricity and a stereo system. What five opera recordings would you take with you? (If you don't like opera, you'll have to find your own island.)
Here are my five:
1. Puccini. La Boheme. Anna Moffo, Richard Tucker, Robert Merrill, Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and Chorus, Erich Leinsdorf conducting. Yes, it's old and has neither Pavarotti or Domingo, but it's still a beautiful performance and it was the first opera recording that I ever owned.
2. Wagner. The Ring of the Nibelungen. The Georg Solti recordings. Don't lecture me about the Ring being four operas, because it's really only one story and this is my favorite recording. The late Anna Russell said, "The Ring is the only grand opera that comes in the large, economy sized package."
3. Verdi. Rigoletto. Joan Sutherland, Luciano Pavarotti, Sherill Milnes, Richard Bonynge conducting. Verdi's finest opera sung magnificently.
4. Donizetti. L'Elisir d'Amore. Joan Sutherland, Luciano Pavarotti, Richard Bonynge conducting. Sutherland sounds a little old for Adina, but she has such a wonderful tone. Nemorino is the role that Pavarotti was born to sing.
5. Gounod. Faust. Mirella Freni, Placido Domingo, Nicolai Ghiaurov, Thomas Allen, Georges Pretre conducting. One of my favorite operas and this one is well casted, well played and well sung.
Oops. Just saw the news. I'm off to the island!