Manon Lescaut, recordings, WHRA
Under the guidance of Andrew Rose, Pristine Audio has issued no less than three Puccini recordings with Jussi Björling. Earlier I commented on PACO158 Manon Lescaut (Met-1956). To sum up my reactions from that set, I find the sound of orchestra absolutely exemplary. Few can make an old recording of an orchestra sound more up-to-date than Mr. Rose. I have in my collection most of Pristine’s Furtwängler and Toscanini sets and they are second to none. Björling`s voice on the other hand, I find sounds more “muscular” than is to my liking. And it is the restoration that has made him sound like that. I don`t believe Björling ever sounded muscular. With muscular I mean that you can hear the physical process behind the vocal production. It gives the voice a slightly forced sound. That is not Björling to me. So I still prefer the WHRA version of that performance even though Pristine surely has a better source on hand to work from.
"Audio Update and Observations,"
Newsletter of the Jussi Björling Societies of the USA & UK: Vol. 35
, Article 6.
Available at: https://scholarsarchive.byu.edu/jussibjorlingsocietynl/vol35/iss1/6