To begin with a correction of Sony's description, and as other reviewers have already pointed out, this performance has been available for some years in what I have always considered good sound, on MYTO, at about twice the oprice of this issue; and possibly on other labels as well. Sony asserts that this is the "first release on CD" which is inaccurate; but it is the first "official" commercial release, and the sound, pretty good to start with, has been restored in a way I consider to be a meaningful improvement. And it is an exciting performance, with Price in uninhibited and voluptuous voice, Corelli at his peak, and MacNeil in splendid form as well. Kurt Adler knows the work and maintains firm order (not always easy with Corelli), but this is not a conductor's performance. This is a magnificent, old-fashioned, singer's afternoon, and there are very, very few commercial "Tosca" recordings that can equal it--certainly neither Price's (handicapped, sadly, by Di Stefano) or Corelli's (undone by Dieskau's unidiomatic Scarpia and the ham-handed conducting of Maazel). If you already own the MYTO, as I do, you may well still find this sufficiently improved to buy it, especially at this very low price. If you've never heard it--buy it now.
The real significance of this release--and the "Boheme", "Barbiere" and "Romeo" that accompany it--is that the Met has always hoarded these broadcasts and released only a handful as "gifts" to donors of significant contributions. Private label iterations abound, but often in compromised sound, and virtually never from original sources. If these releases sell, we can hope that the Met will find them a significant source of income and open the vaults to Sony, who, with access to the best source material available, may be able to make, as I believe they have here, significant improvements to the sound. For an idea of what the Met's vaults contain, look at Paul Jackson's 3 volume history of the broadcasts, "Saturday Afternoons at the Old Met", "Sign-Off for the Old Met", and "Startup at the New Met." Saturday Afternoons at the Old Met: The Metropolitan Opera Broadcasts, 1931-1950 (Amadeus)Start-Up at the New Met: The Metropolitan Opera Broadcasts, 1966-1976 (Amadeus)Sign-Off for the Old Met: The Metropolitan Opera Broadcasts, 1950-1966It would not surprise me at all to learn that many more recordings were made in-house that were not radio broadcasts, although I do not know this to be the case. There is no way to know what priceless treasures may exist, but the prospect is a very exciting one.