In classical singing, if you can count the pulsations in a singer’s vibrato, it’s a wobble. Gwyneth Jones wobbles all the way through this. She also screams. This Turandot deserves to lose her head to her own executioners (of course all Turandots do, even if they sing well ).
The sound quality of Cigna’s recording, somehow muffled and metallic at once, doesn’t flatter her – I doubt that her high notes had quite the edge they seem to here – but it can’t conceal a solidly sung and expressive performance. I like the slow tempo of the opening section; it allows her to bring some thoughtful shading to her phrasing in relating her story. And who is that brilliant tenor? Is it Francesco Merli?
Eva Turner has a Nilsson-like ease and brilliance on high. I’ve never been quite able to decide what I think of the actual sound of her voice; it sounds huge and girlish at once, even on later recordings with better sound than this one. In any case, the music holds no terrors for her.
Cigna has a sexier sound than Turner, and brings more expressive subtleties to the music. She’s my gal.