Next month Opera Australia is doing Un ballo in maschera. With the exception of an aria or two, this is an opera with which I am not at all familiar. And so I ask you, dear readers, for advice.
Which recording of Un ballo in maschera would you recommend to a Ballo-beginner such as myself?
Preferably something still in print and reasonably priced — though all suggestions will be considered — and at the risk of being yelled at/politely admonished, there's not much point recommending me the Maria Callas recording of anything. At least not in this kind of situation.
As I say, all suggestions considered. However, having paid a quick visit to Premiere Opera, I have a second, more specific question which is perhaps more to the point:
Do I want the live 1978 Ballo from Covent Garden with Sylvia Sass, José Carreras et al, or the live 1981 Ballo from Covent Garden with Montserrat Caballé, Luciano Pavarotti et al?
My immediate leaning is towards the 1981 recording, but what do I know?