IRINA ARKHIPOVA’S DEBUTCategory: Theatre
The old saying that all you need for a successful production of II Trovatore are the four greatest singers in the world sums up what most people pay their money for — not the scenery, not the acting, and certainly not the improbable and melodramatic plot, but Verdi’s music and especially the singing.
Yet in a good performance genuine emotion and human feeling come through the fustian and touch the heart, especially if there is a convincing Azucena.
Fortunately there was one on this occasion, the contralto Irina Arkhipova from the Bolshoi, known here from her records but making her debut at Covent Garden, and receiving a justifiably enthusiastic reception for a beautifully sung and completely credible interpretation of this central role in the opera.
The Leonora was Montserrat Caballe, who is arguably the finest soprano singing today, and needs to do nothing more than stand and deliver forth her flood of glorious tone to bring the house down.
There was also splendid singing from the male members of the quartet, Sherrill Milnes as di Luna, and Carlo Cossuta as Manrico. Altogether a very good evening, and not just for canary-fanciers.
(Morning Star, April, 1975)