Although known among opera aficianados, Pilar Lorengar never reached the heights of fame and name recognition as her contemporaries Callas and Sutherland. This has lead to an unfortunate dirth of Lorengar on CD, and which makes this compilation most welcome. Although never an operatic superstar, Lorengar had a magnificent instrument: soft, creamy, dramatic when necessary, and always charming. Fortunately she had a long career with Decca and made some magnificent recordings, many of which appear on this delicious two-CD set. I think few can fail be to moved by her near-perfect Mimi, her touching Cio-Cio San (infused with just the right amounts of pathos and fortitude, her ravishing Mozart interpretations, and her silvery reading of Korngold's "Gluck, das mir verlieb". The second CD is entirely made up of her specialty repertoire of songs from her native Spain, and these, while maybe not quite as familiar, are also a delight. Hopefully this compilation will make her better known to casual opera fans who only listen to Callas or Fleming simply because they're better-known names; this has been a much-needed release!
P.S. - For those who would like an inexpensive introduction to Lorengar in a complete operatic role, it has come to my attention that Decca is re-issuing her fantastic "Cosi Fan Tutte" (conducted by Solti) in its "Compact Opera" series very soon. The cast, which also includes Berganza, is perfect and Solti's conducting right on the mark. Keep your eyes open for it!