These discs are worth buying just for the camp retro cover art -“ each CD features the original LP artwork and liner notes. And then there is the singing: crystalline, old-fashioned, fulsome opera from some of the great mid-20th century divas.

French diva R?ne Crespin rose to fame in the late 50s specialising in German and French repertoire but she sounds magnificently at home here in a recital disc of classic Italian arias. She is described on the original liner notes as a great operatic firmament and she certainly has a commanding power. The range and dramatic force of her voice is awesome. Her Cio Cio San in Un Bel Di is a brilliant mix of fiery determination and frail naivety.

American mezzo Marilyn Horne also has a truly remarkable voice and thrilled audiences over a long career. This recital disc mainly of Rossini and Mozart shows one aspect of her versatile voice but she has sung everything from the baroque to the very modern. Passion, control and a rich viscosity are the exciting characteristics of Horne’s voice which is immediately recognisable even in her many guises.

The recital disc of duets from Italian greats Renata Tebaldi and Franco Corelli should have been another treat. Tebaldi has a regal voice and is almost imperious at times with the force of her declamation. It is undeniable that Tebaldi has a unique voice but by the time of this recording she was on the verge of retiring and it does not capture her at her best. But even at this late stage you get a sense of what a talent she was.

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