Usually collections of this kind are culled from various complete sets, but this programme has been specially recorded in the flattering acoustic of London's Henry Wood Hall, which certainly does justice to the choruses, notably the Soldiers' chorus from Faust which is sung with rumbustious glee. But the snag of a studio collection of this kind, is that one misses the immediacy and flow of adrenalin which a full performance can generate. Thus Valerie Masterson's ''Un bel di'' is touching and rather beautifully sung, but not heart rending, and the famous duet from Les pecheurs de perles is pleasingly lyrical, with the tune obviously relished, yet lacks high drama.
On the other hand, Anthony Michaels-Moore's ''Largo al factotum'' is genial enough and the Flower duet from Lakme is charming. At the end Edmund Barham shows he can support the British team as well as anyone with a genuinely stirring ''Nessun dorma''. Altogether an agreeable but not a distinctive collection.'