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Instead of a plastic jewel box, Decca has housed each CD in a digipak, and in lieu of new notes and cover art, the label simply has used a photographic reduction of the front and back of the original LP covers. What this means, unfortunately, is that the program notes are essentially illegible unless you own a magnifying glass. Nothing in these notes has been updated; the news that Corelli is no longer among the living, for example, is not allowed to interrupt the nostalgic trip back in time.
Some of this material has appeared on CD before, but much of it has not, and that is what makes these six releases particularly welcome. The Tebaldi and Corelli LP was recorded in when both singers the soprano especially were nearing the end of their professional careers.
Because Corelli had been a recording artist for EMI, the pairing of these two singers was a novelty, and as both of them had legions of admirers and still do , the LP was bound to be a hit.
It is not just freakishness that leads Tebaldi to sing two mezzo-soprano roles on this LP: Even so, her high notes are squally, and her tone is in the process of becoming desiccated and hollow.
One also feels that she has not stepped into these roles as completely as she would have, had she performed them on stage. Corelli sounds considerably more comfortable. His heroic if unsubtle style is appropriate for the material. Those who love Corelli will not be disappointed; those who dislike him will not find that any of his idiosyncrasies have been corrected here!
In , when he recorded his recital for Decca, Robert Merrill still was in his mid 40s. Second, then as now, there were those who held the bias that an American singer was out of his element in the European operatic repertoire. The fact that Merrill was Jewish must have been additionally threatening to some.
Well, let them hear this recital and be silenced, because this is first-class singing by any stretch of the imagination. Next to his great predecessor Leonard Warren and Lawrence Tibbett before him , Merrill had the more handsome voice.
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He could be a lover and a hero as convincingly as he could be a villain — the excerpt from Don Carlos is proof of that. Every role he sang was invested with personality.
Downes is a gripping conductor, and the engineering remains quite vivid. Bergonzi seldom failed to earn anything but the deepest respect from his colleagues and critics — here was a tenor who had a well-developed brain to go along with his trumpeting voice.
He was the consummate Verdi tenor of his era, as is demonstrated by almost half of the selections on this CD. He was born to play heroic roles — kings, warriors, and revolutionaries. When he tried to create a softer persona, he was a little less successful, but Bergonzi was a tenor who knew his strengths and his limitations, and who respected them.
An Otello late in his career was an act of sheer chutzpah, however. This recital was recorded right of the start of the stereo era, only six years after Bergonzi had made his professional debut as a tenor.
Prior to that time, he sang baritone roles, believe it or not! Perhaps we took him for granted during his long career, given the outsize personalities in more ways that one!
"BBC Sunday-Night Play" The Bergonzi Hand (TV Episode 1963) - Quotes - IMDb
Actually, I think Gueden was a lot more fun and down-to-earth than Schwarzkopf in operetta, who could seem chilly. Unlike the other five CDs in this "Classic Recital" series, this collection of "operetta evergreens" contains much that is relatively unfamiliar today. That is true for all the CDs in this series. The vintage recording has held up nicely. Marilyn Horne went in the opposite direction from Carlo Bergonzi: When she recorded this program in August , she was in her first blush of fame, with many triumphs still ahead of her.
The original LP made many listeners sit up and take notice; here was a successor to the great Giulietta Simionato, and then some. It is difficult not to chuckle at the assured way in which Horne cuts through thickets of Rossinian coloratura — not like a machine, however, but like a real human being.
Her dark vocal coloring made her convincing in "trouser roles" of which there are several on this CD but she never sounded butch. It is amusing, also, to hear her taking on La figlia del reggimento, an opera her soon-to-be bosom-buddy Joan Sutherland would have such a hit with two years later albeit in French, and with a young tenor named Luciano Pavarotti.
The fine conductor on this CD is Henry Lewis, her husband at the time. They divorced in the s, and he passed away several years ago. The engineering remains superb. The last release is an interesting recital of Italian opera arias by one of the consummate French sopranos of the s and 70s: Her Italian program was recorded in May when she was at the peak of her powers.
She made these hapless women bigger than life. And yet, another characteristic of her vocal personality was femininity. Her Madame Butterfly, while not fragile, shows vulnerability, and her Trovatore Leonora is all heartsickness and longing. Like Maria Callas, Crespin showed that big voices can express intimate and subtle emotions. In the intervening years, the master tapes seem to have deteriorated a little; there are traces of flutter at various points in this program.
Crespin has been lit most unflatteringly, accentuating the bags under her eyes while bleaching her skin, and her lipstick is smudged! Where were the Fab Five when she needed them?