A small provincial town is buzzing with excitement: the town's most illustrious son, a world-famous opera singer, is coming home. Meanwhile, Sebastian, a kitchen boy who is as good as married, falls head over heels in love with the new maid, Maria. Their love affair, along with rumours that the opera singer and the kitchen boy are related, turns the town upside down, threatening to ruin everyone's high expectations and the opera singer's triumphant return.
A dark evening, a crime writer Peter Sander, drives through a forest when his car runs out of petrol . A little distance from the road there is a house with lighted windows, and he goes there to borrow a phone. Suddenly he trips over a tree root and sprain one foot . He lags up the forest road . Then there is a shot, a moment after running steps. A beam cuts through the dark. It goes out . The steps moves away. Peter gets up and stomps up to the house . No one responds to his knokking.
It is a concert performance, given and broadcast in Vienna in 1979, with one result being reasonably good sound. Another result is that the performers seem to warm up as they go, really hitting their strides about halfway through. In the case of Plácido Domingo, that could have been because he learned the role over a weekend, filling in for an ailing member of the planned cast. He is nevertheless one of the drawing cards of this recording, as is the presence of the young Italian soprano Mara Zampieri as the romantic lead Elaisa; her sheer dynamic range, with a slashing, edgy fortissimo, is impressive, as was the late-'70s engineering that captured it for posterity.