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Monthly record guide

Opening Nights at the New Met. Recordings of Metropolitan Opera Stars Re-Creating Celebrated Opening Night Roles. With Leontyne Price, Montserrat Caballe, Carlo Bergonzi, Placido Domingo, Sherrill Milnes (RCA Red Seal ARL1- 4856). - A curious issue, this. Although digitally remastered from analog tapes, the sound is harsh, distant, a bit tinny at times. The selections are straightforward enough, even if there is a disproportionate amount of Domingo on the disc (and not always in the best of voice). A far more interesting set to investigate is RCA's reissue of a three-record set, ''Opening Nights at the Met, '' which more or less chronicles the RCA catalog of opening-night performers, from the very beginning of recorded sound to a 1959 aria with Leonard Warren (AGM3-4805). It, too, is limited by being devoted exclusively to RCA artists, but the scope and quality of legendary singers is impressive nonetheless, and one gets a strong sense of just how strong the Met has been over the years.

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