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Posted October 1, 2010
Fans of the Sills/Cassell recording seem to act as if this one did not exist. But while Beverly Sills may be the definitive Baby Doe for many fans, just as Caruso was the only Canio my grandmother would listen to, one should not overlook Brian Steele's long-standing association with the role of Tabor. Mr. Steele's performance grows in intensity as Tabor's life turns tragic. Listen, in particular, to the brief aria ''Turn Tail and Run,'' and, of course, the ''mad scene.'' ''The Ballad of Baby Doe'' could well be the greatest American opera of the past century, and Steele's performance should be regarded as the definitive one. If the CD has a flaw, I find Mark Freiman's rendidtion of WJB's speech a bit too melodic (contrasted to the intensity of the other CD), but that's only 5 minutes out of a two-CD set.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.