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Maybe I’m just nostalgic—this second-tier Lucia was the one I cut my teeth on before Callas ruined me for everyone else—but I enjoyed the hell out of RCA’s “Living Stereo” reissue. And living stereo it certainly is. Who knew all this information was in the grooves of those Victrola LPs? Voices are up close and personal but rarely overload. More surprising is the robust orchestral sound. It’s an unmistakably ’50s, RCA Studios acoustic, with wide separation, spotlighting, and little resonance, but it’s startlingly clear. Perhaps all that clarity will help revise the popular misconception of conductor Erich Leinsdorf as some dispassionate time-beater, when his expressive molding of instrumental lines can be heard in such bold relief. The cast (recorded in Rome but typical of the Old Met) gives unexpected pleasure, too. Roberta Peters was at a disadvantage recording Lucia after Callas had begun to reclaim the bel canto repertoire for more dramatic voices. But her silvery, girlish tone and fluid scales and ornaments impress in the manner of old-school songbirds like Tetrazzini and Pons. Jan Peerce, less nasal than usual, is in exciting form, and if the supporting singers were considered ordinary for their day, ordinary obviously used to mean damn good.—Joe Banno