On Immortal Performances 1003; 2 CD's; Here remastered superbly and naturally for the first time ever, this legendary, wonderful live performance with Bidu Sayao and Jussi Bjorling in prime voice offers not only some spectacular singing, but considerable orchestral vitality. Under Emil Cooper, the party scenes are bracing, and the conversational exchanges fly past us just as they should. In the cast are the best Romeo, Juliette, and Frere Laurent on any recording. Bidu Sayao is always shaping and coloring the melody to give it pulsation, spontaneity and warmth. The Waltz is both commanding and charming, and at the close of the final scene, her very sound seems to die. There is always amazing presence and dramatic range, too. Jussi Bjorling is in magnificent voice, a rapturous presence who always speaks through the music. He and Sayao begin as sunny, youthful lovers who do not expect the tragedy that befalls them, and their attitudes and vocal colors change from scene to scene. Bjorling's scenes are full of foreboding, sorrow and occasionally joy, but are always beautiful simply as singing as well. As well, his high C in "Ah, leve-toi soleil" is glowing, powerful, and elegant all at the same time. In addition, Nicola Moscona is the most interesting, thoughtful Frere Laurent on recordings, intense, thoughtful, and decisive. As Mercutio, John Brownlee sings responsibly, and Mimi Benzell as Stephano is spirited and accurate. Claramae Turner offers a rich-voiced Nurse. Rarely available on compact disc, and now superbly remastered, this is a legendary performance that belongs in every collection. The Bjorling/Sayao performance is supplemented with a performance of Act II in Italian from 1934 starring Gigli and Favero.