This is my favoirte recording of the work as I believe that Ghena Dimitrova is the greatest interpreter of Abigaille. Her voice while lush and beautiful is also dramatic and capable of expressing all of the characters feelings. In addition, she has the perfect voice for the role as she has both the low and high notes. Cappuccilli adds his beautiful voice to the role of Nabucco with such care and understanding for the role. Finally to add to the impressive cast Placido Domingo actually makes something out of the short tenor role of Ismaele
Renata Scotto surprisingly recorded the role of Abigaille and believe it or not is wonderfully sung. Her voice may not be the most suitable for the role and sometimes may sound a bit harsh. However this harshness adds to the role of Abigaille. In addition her phrasing in her death scene is some of most dramatic yet subtle singing I have ever heard from Scotto. Matteo Manguerra adds his interpretation to the role of Nabucco and Nicolai Ghiaurov sings in my opinion one of the the best interpretations of Zaccaria ever recorded.
If we talk about Nabucco Elena Suliotis must be in the conversation as her interpretation of Abigaille was acclaimed. Her vocal power and beauty may be for some to pretty but Suliotis adds drama to her singing. Her vocal range is easily displayed by solid top notes and exceptionally powerful low notes. She is accompanied by none other than Tito Gobbi who while recorded it late in his career adds great singing. The chemistry of the leads is also easily heard in their duet.
I don't want to forget about Maria Callas who basically reinserted the role of Abigaille into the repertoire. Like most of the roles she sang, she adds her dramatic power and a few e flats on the way. It is rare to find this CD as it is one of Callas early roles which sadly she quickly retired. She is a one of a kind Abigaille who I really can not compare with anyone else.
There are plenty of DVDs out of this opera which include Maria Guleghina's exceptional Met DVD (The current production at the Met) which displays Guleghina in her prime. Here she displays her acting abilities and a good balanced voice. While the voice has never been perfect especially in the coloratura or high notes she demonstrates why she is today's leading interpreter of Abigaille. Guleghina is joined by Juan Pons and Samuel Ramey and conducted by James Levine. The other DVD which I recommend is the Scala DVD which includes none other than Ghena Dimitrova. Here we see not just her vocal abilities but also her acting abilities. Believe me it is not disappointing. It is truly amazing. She is joined by Renato Bruson and Riccardo Muti.
As for the artists performing this year
Maria Guleghina who is a Verdi specialist has plenty of DVDs available. Other than the Nabucco DVD I would probably recommend the Macbeth from the Met which also stars Zeljko Lucic who will also be starring in Nabucco this. This DVD shows their chemistry and is a great preview for what the Nabucco could be like. There is also another Nabucco with Leo Nucci from Vienna starring Guleghina.
For more information on Nabucco check out my Nabucco preview.