There are literally well in excess of one hundred different recordings of Tosca. For the purposes of this Opera Lively In-Depth we will just review what we consider to be the best, in the understanding that we are not familiar with all of them.
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Oliviero de Fabritiis (1938)
Floria Tosca - Maria Caniglia
Mario Cavaradossi - Beniamino Gigli
Baron Scarpia - Armando Borgioli
Orchestra and Chorus Opera di Roma
This was the first truly outstanding recording of Tosca. In 1938, Gigli had been singing Cavaradossi for more than twenty years, he was a real expert, and in addition to his great technique and wonderful voice, he also acted the part. A really moving, romantic, dashing hero, perhaps coming short in the heroic aspects. Caniglia was one of the leading sopranos of the 1930s, and she is a convincing Floria Tosca, even if she sounds a little too 'verista' and generic. Borgioli was also singing in the best houses around the world, but his Scarpia is rather crude and impassive, reacting rather than acting. Conducting is fine, but it can not be fully appreciated because the sound quality, good for the voices, it's not that good for the orchestra.