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Thread: Vocal recitals.

  1. #76
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    "It is not quite the full story, for their was to be one further recital to come, made for Decca in 1977 and 1979, and simply called To My Friends."






    There are also the earlier recordings that Warner have also released in a box set. This is the first I have heard of 'To My Friends', do you have it and what is it like?

    N.

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    Senior Member Tsaraslondon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Conte View Post
    "It is not quite the full story, for their was to be one further recital to come, made for Decca in 1977 and 1979, and simply called To My Friends."






    There are also the earlier recordings that Warner have also released in a box set. This is the first I have heard of 'To My Friends', do you have it and what is it like?

    N.
    I do have it, and I think she puts it best herself. She recorded it because Walter Legge wanted her to make one more record, and because Ray Minshull of Decca asked them to make it. I think Schwarzkopf herself put it best

    "It was called simply, To My Friends, In that there is already the excuse that it's only for you who like me. Others may find great fault in it and rightly so, but maybe you like me enough to have it."

    Well, I do like her enough to have it. The voice isn't what it was, admittedly, but there is still no trace of wobble or excessive vibrato, and the artistry remains undimmed.

    "It's not enough to have a beautiful voice." Maria Callas

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    Senior Member Tsaraslondon's Avatar
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    This Handel recital, which showcases the talents of Natalie Dessay, concentrates solely on the music Handel wrote for Cleopatra in his Giulio Cesare, and even includes music he wrote but later cut from the full opera. Variety is provided, by the orchestra (the excellent Le Concert d'Astrée under Emmanuelle Haïm) contributing a couple of orchestral interludes, and by Sonia Prina as Caesar, whose contributions, however are restricted to a few lines of recitative and the final duet.

    It is quite interesting to hear side by side, as we do here, Handel's first and final thoughts on certain scenes, so the heroic Per dar vita all'idol mio gave way to the grieving Se pietà di me non senti, whilst the lilting siciliano of Troppo crudele siete was dropped in favour of the intensely moving, and justly famous Piangerò.

    Dessay is on top form, stunningly agile in the florid music such as Da tempeste il legno infrante, playfully seductive in V'adoro pupille, movingly heartfelt in Piangerò.

    Le Concert d'Astrée under Emmanuelle Haïm, offer superb support. This is no replacement for a performance of the complete opera, of course, but nonetheless a wonderful distillation of Dessay's Cleopatra, a role she performed with great success at the Palais Garnier in Paris, shortly after making this record.
    "It's not enough to have a beautiful voice." Maria Callas

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    Senior Member Tsaraslondon's Avatar
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    This is not a recital as such, but a collection of off the air recordings made by Schwarzkopf between the years 1941 and 1952. We get the opening of a Berlin Das Rheingold, conducted by Artur Rother (Schwarzkopf as Woglinde), Nie werd ich deine Hulde verkennen from a Vienna performance of Die Entführung aus dem Serail, conducted by Rudolf Moralt (with Emmy Loose, Anton Dermota, Peter Klein and Herbert Alsen), a duet from Weber's Abu Hassan from 1942, with Michael Bohnen, and part of the Act II finale of Le Nozze di Figaro from La Scala in 1948, with Imrgard Seefried and W Hoefermeyer (who he?) under Karajan. We also get a couple of excerpts from the 1950 Salzburg Festival, both conducted by Furtwängler; Mi tradi from Don Giovanni (on which unusually she takes an unwritten upward ending, presumably sanctioned by Furtwängler though absent from all other versions by her) and Marzelline's opening duet and aria from the famous performance of Fidelio at which Flagstad sang Leonore. In all Schwarzkopf displays her familiar virtues of pure, firm tone, excellent legato and elegant phrasing, the voice shot through with laughter in the lighter pieces. Marzelline's aria is sung with a fuller tone than we often hear in this music, but captures perfectly her wistful charm. Ilia's Zeffiretti lusinghieri is taken from a 1951 Turin Radio Mario Rossi broadcast, but it is not quite so accomplished as the one on her studio recital of the following year.

    The rest is is given over to a Hamburg broadcast from 1952, beginning with a lovely performance of He shall feed his flock, from Handel's Messiah (sung in German). The Act I monologue from Der Rosenkavalier is perhaps less detailed than the one on the complete set under Karajan and no doubt some might prefer it for that reason, though I wouldn't necessarily be one of them. It's a lovely performance nonetheless. Schwarzkopf's Countess is also justly well known, and Porgi amor is sung with creamy tone and matchless legato, but the excerpts from Madama Butterfly (sung in German) don't really work for her, and indeed Schwarzkopf herself, when she heard them in later years, thought them "rather screechy on top". She did however approve the aria from Korngold's Die tote Stadt (the soprano version of the duet Glück das mir verblieb) and rightly so, as this is without doubt the prize of the whole disc. I have never heard it sung better, not by Te Kanawa, not by Fleming, not even by Lehmann, who recorded the duet with Richard Tauber. The pianissimi on the top notes, the diminuendi, the way she fades the tone are absolutely miraculous, no other word for it. Everyone needs to hear this, but getting the recital on disc is quite difficult these days. Fortunately you can hear it on youtube



    The whole disc is a fitting repost to all those who think Schwarzkopf was a studio creation, catching her live and on the wing, but treasured mostly for that sensational and unfortunately unrepeated performance of the Korngold.
    "It's not enough to have a beautiful voice." Maria Callas

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    wrong thread...
    Last edited by starthrower; Jun-04-2019 at 17:08.
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    Senior Member Tsaraslondon's Avatar
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    This EMI disc collects together recordings from Tito Schipa's first recording sessions in 1913, recordings made in the 1920s and 1930s and one (Werther's O, nature) recorded in 1942, when Schipa was 54.

    The name of Schipa is most associated with style, elegance and grace (not for him the over-emotional sobbing excesses of Gigli), though the first aria included on the disc (Che faro from Orfeo ed Euridice) is hardly a model in that respect. The unstylish playing of the orchestra is certainly no help, but Schipa too has some lapses in style, with occasional aspiarates marring his legato.

    The 1913 recordings tell a different story and reveal a surprising amount of power and squillo, not qualities one normally associates with the singing of Tito Schipa. They also offer so much more in the elegance of the phrasing, the firm line and his wonderful legato, as well as a proper appreciation of character and the dramatic situation. The prizes here are the Duke's Ella mi fu rapita...Parmi veder le lagrime, from Rigoletto, Tu che a dio spiegasti l'ali from Lucia di Lammermoor and the Siciliana from Cavalleria Rusticana.

    There are treasures too amongst some of the later recordings, even the 1942 Werther aria, which is wonderfully poetic, but the 1934 aria from Manon is also superb.

    However I think I derived the most pleasure from the duets. WIth Toti Dal Monti we get a lovely Prendi l'anel to dono from La Sonnambula, and, even better, a gorgeous Tornami a dir from Don Pasquale, which is just about ideal in every way, the two singers blending thier voices and playing with the musical line in perfect synchronicity. Then, probably best of all is the famous Cherry Duet from Mascagani's L'Amico Fritz, with the charming Mafalda Favero. Throughout he caresses and moulds the line and there is a moment of pure magic when he sings the words sei pur bella on a delciate thread of sound which perfectly expresses Fritz's shy awakening to love. It is moments such as these which make us turn to these old recordings.
    "It's not enough to have a beautiful voice." Maria Callas

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  11. #82
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tsaraslondon View Post


    This EMI disc collects together recordings from Tito Schipa's first recording sessions in 1913, recordings made in the 1920s and 1930s and one (Werther's O, nature) recorded in 1942, when Schipa was 54.

    The name of Schipa is most associated with style, elegance and grace (not for him the over-emotional sobbing excesses of Gigli), though the first aria included on the disc (Che faro from Orfeo ed Euridice) is hardly a model in that respect. The unstylish playing of the orchestra is certainly no help, but Schipa too has some lapses in style, with occasional aspiarates marring his legato.

    The 1913 recordings tell a different story and reveal a surprising amount of power and squillo, not qualities one normally associates with the singing of Tito Schipa. They also offer so much more in the elegance of the phrasing, the firm line and his wonderful legato, as well as a proper appreciation of character and the dramatic situation. The prizes here are the Duke's Ella mi fu rapita...Parmi veder le lagrime, from Rigoletto, Tu che a dio spiegasti l'ali from Lucia di Lammermoor and the Siciliana from Cavalleria Rusticana.

    There are treasures too amongst some of the later recordings, even the 1942 Werther aria, which is wonderfully poetic, but the 1934 aria from Manon is also superb.

    However I think I derived the most pleasure from the duets. WIth Toti Dal Monti we get a lovely Prendi l'anel to dono from La Sonnambula, and, even better, a gorgeous Tornami a dir from Don Pasquale, which is just about ideal in every way, the two singers blending thier voices and playing with the musical line in perfect synchronicity. Then, probably best of all is the famous Cherry Duet from Mascagani's L'Amico Fritz, with the charming Mafalda Favero. Throughout he caresses and moulds the line and there is a moment of pure magic when he sings the words sei pur bella on a delciate thread of sound which perfectly expresses Fritz's shy awakening to love. It is moments such as these which make us turn to these old recordings.
    I have most, if not all, of that material on the following issues:

    Early years.jpeg

    Schipa.jpg

    Schipa II.jpg

    Essential listening.

    N.

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    Quote Originally Posted by The Conte View Post
    And his later Victor recordings were issued on Romophone:

    schipa_romophone.jpg

    I believe that these have been reissued by Naxos.

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    Quote Originally Posted by The Conte View Post
    I have most, if not all, of that material on the following issues:

    Early years.jpeg

    Schipa.jpg

    Schipa II.jpg

    Essential listening.

    N.
    Is the bottom picture not Woodduck?
    Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Barbebleu View Post
    Is the bottom picture not Woodduck?
    Must be a long lost relative or something...



    N.

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    Senior Member Tsaraslondon's Avatar
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    Looking through my collection I note that the majority of fairly recent recital acquisitions seem to be mostly of music of Handel and the baroque. I'm not sure whether this has more to do with a change in my taste, the general change in taste or the dearth of decent singers of Verdi, Wagner and nineteenth century muisc in general. Whatever the reason, I think it's safe to say there are far more excellent Handel singers around these days than there used to and the performers on this disc are certainly fine examples.

    Handel's operatic duets are rare delights, usually either expressing sadness at lovers' parting or delight in reunion, and there is a good cross-section of both types in this recital. That said, I am not a Handel specialist and I personally find less variety here than I would in a programme of duets from the bel canto period or Verdi. The programme is drawn from well-known works, such as Rinaldo, Serse and Rodelinda, as well as lesser known works like Silla and Teseo, with no less than five excerpts (including the Act III Sinfonia) from Poro, and certainly no fault can be found with the performances.

    We hear two very fine voices in prime condition, DiDonato's darker, straighter mezzo contrasting and blending nicely with Ciofi's bright, clear soprano. Both are expressive artists with a fine legato and superb technical proficiency in the florid music. They also repond well to the dramatic elements in the music, and are superbly supported by Alan Curtis and Il Complesso Barocco. The disc can be recommended unreseverdly to all lovers of Handel and the baroque, even if on this occasion, and I realise this has no relevance to the present disc, I found myself wishing I was listening to, say, Caballé and Verrett in their disc of Romantic opera duets.
    "It's not enough to have a beautiful voice." Maria Callas

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    A vocal recital of Gershwin songs, beautifully sung by Ella Fitzgerald and accompanied by Nelson Riddle.

    Also the artwork is of exceptional quality. The CD format will therefore always remain a shortcoming.

    51CZ8DRCCPL.jpg

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    Senior Member Tsaraslondon's Avatar
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    Born at the beginning of the last century, the Brazilian soprano Bidu Sayão, a pupil of the tenor Jean de Reszke, first made her career in Europe as a coloratura, singing such roles as Lucia, Elvira, Amina and Zerbinetta. She made her US debut in 1935, and was soon after engaged by Toscanini for a performance of Debussy's La damoiselle élue, making her Met debut in 1937 in the role of Manon. Thereafter she became a great favourite and sang regularly there until 1952, when she retired from the stage, retiring completely from public performance in 1957. In 1959 she made her final recording, of Villa-Lobos's Forest of the Amazon, with the composer conducting, and it is the Aria from Bachianas-brasilieras, no. 5, also conducted by the composer which opens this disc. Of the many recordings that exist of this popular piece, this one is certainly one of the best, and might even be considered definitive.

    From there we turn to French opera and we note her perfect diction and facility in the language. Juliette's Waltz Song is all youthful charm and lightness, the voice clear and bright with none of the acidity often associated with coloratura sopranos of the time (though one imagines it was quite small and certainly not capable of singing the big Act IV aria, which indeed is cut in the live recording of the opera with Bjørling as Roméo). Charm and grace also characterise her Marguerite and Manon, though she is able to find a deeper vein of feeling for an Adieu notre petite table, which is close to the ideal.

    We next hear a group of French songs, both with orchestra and piano. Hahn's Si mes vers avaient des ailes suffers somewhat from an awful (and not particularly well-played) orchestral arrangement, but Duparc's Chanson triste is quite lovely, even if the orchestra isn't much better. Her peformance of L'année en vain chasse l'année from Debussy's L'enfant prodigue rivals that of Victoria De Los Angeles, and we also hear a charming performance, with piano accompaniment, of Ravel's Toi, le coeur de la rose, excised from his L'enfant et les sortilèges, which works remarkably well out of context.

    A selection of Folk Songs of Brazil, arranged by Ernani Braga, bring this lovely disc to a fitting close. The disc is beautifully presented with plenty of photos and articles in English, German and French, though, regrettably, no texts or translations, and is a fitting memorial to a charming and lovely soprano.
    Last edited by Tsaraslondon; Jun-09-2019 at 10:23.
    "It's not enough to have a beautiful voice." Maria Callas

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    Senior Member Tsaraslondon's Avatar
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    Joyce DiDonato gives us here a collection of largely little known bel canto arias, some by composers such as Pacini, Mercadante, Valentini and Carafa who are hardly household names. It doesn't get off to the best of starts as the heroine of Pacini's Stella di Napoli sings a jolly little ditty, in which the heroine berates her lover for not being there to hear her dying breath. It is the sort of aria that gives bel canto opera a bad name and is exactly the thing Gilbert and Sullivan took such delight in parodying.

    Happily we are on much stronger ground with the next item, a lovely elegiac piece from Bellini's Adelson e Salvini, and thereafter things greatly improve, though it is safe to say the best items are those by the more well-known triumvirate of Rossini, Donizetti and Bellini, even if the final item, a fourteen minute excerpt from Pacini's Saffo does much to exonerate him.

    DiDonato's singing is supremly accomplished with a mastery of coloratura, scales, trills and legato which is second to none. Added to her technical accomplishments, she has a wonderful grasp of the dramatic situations presented and there is no doubt that she is pre-eminent in the field today. If I were nit-picking, I would say that her singing doesn't quite have the sheer personality of some of her predecessors in this music, and the preghiera from Maria Stuarda doesn't quite erase memories of Montserrat Caballé or Janet Baker in the same piece. But, that would be unfair and we should be grateful for what we have, which is a great deal; a singer at the height of her powers with a beautiful voice, technically proficient, put at the service of the music.

    She is excellently supported by the Orchestre ey Choer de l'Opéra de Lyon under Riccardo Minasi and the disc comes with notes, texts and translations, though a little more information about the dramatic situations would have been welcome. Warmly recommended.
    Last edited by Tsaraslondon; Jun-10-2019 at 09:57.
    "It's not enough to have a beautiful voice." Maria Callas

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    Senior Member Tsaraslondon's Avatar
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    This is a superb compendium of recordings taken from live concerts given by Callas between 1949 and 1959. It is being offered as a FREE download (yes, you read that right, free) from Divina Records, so surely there can be no reason not to snap it up while you still can. The sound, while hardly state of the art, is not bad for the period, all of the performances having been taken from radio broadcasts. Taken from BJR LPs, transfers are up to Divina’s usual high standards and the download comes with an excellent pdf of the booklet which accompanied the original release.

    The first track is actually her first 78 recording, made for Cetra in 1949, a beautiful performance of Casta diva and Ah bello a me ritorna, though without the opening and linking recitatives in which Callas always excelled. The aria is ideally floated, the scales and coloratura in the cabaletta stunning in their accuracy. We next turn to a radio concert recorded for Turin radio in 1952, with Oliviero de Fabritiis conducting. Callas was obviously out to demonstrate her versatility, and was also trying out for size a couple of roles she would sing later that year, Lady Macbeth and Lucia. To Lady Macbeth’s Letter Scene and the first part of Lucia’s Mad Scene, she adds Abigaille’s Ben io t’invenni from Nabucco and the Bell Song from Lakmé. She is in stupendous voice in all, the high E in the Bell Song ringing out here much more freely than it does in the 1954 recording. Not only is the singing technically stunning, but the contrasts she affords as she switches from the powerfully ambtious Lady Macbeth, to the sweet and maidenly Lucia, from the demonically triumphal Abigaille to the improvisatory story-telling of Lakmé are simply out of this world. You really don’t hear singing like this nowadays.

    Next we move to a 1954 Milan concert, starting with her justly famous and technically brilliant recording of Constanze’s Martern aller Arten from Die Entführung aus dem Serail (sung here in Italian as Tutte le torture), her one Mozart stage role. Not only does she execute the difficulties with ease, she sounds properly defiant. It is a thrilling performance. Louise’s Depuis le jour (sung in French) suits her less well, and the performance is marred by occasional unsteadiness. Nonetheless it is hard to resist the quiet intensity of her intent. Armida’s D’amore al dolce impero from Rossini’s opera is, like the Mozart, stunningly accomplished, even if some of the more daring variations from the Florence complete performances have been trimmed down. The bravura of the singing is still unparalleled. The last item from this concert is Ombra leggiera from Meyerbeer’s Dinorah, a rather empty piece, which is hardy worth her trouble, though it improves on the studio recording with the addition of the opening recitative and the contribution of a chorus. Her singing is wonderfully accomplished, the echo effects brilliantly done, but it is not a piece I enjoy.

    Another Milan concert, this time from 1956, brings us her best ever performance of Bel raggio lusinghier from Semiramide, though she adds little in the way of embellishment and the effect is less thrilling than her singing of the Armida aria. We get her first version of Ophélie’s Mad Scene from Hamlet (sung here in Italian rather than the original French of the studio recording), which is superb, it’s disparate elements brilliantly bound together. We also have a beautiful performance of Giulia’s Tu che invoco from La Vestale, which seques into a rousing performance of the cabaletta, and she revisits the role of Elvira in I Puritani with a lovely performance, with chorus and soloists, of Vieni al tempio.

    From Athens in 1957, there is a dramatically exciting performance of Leonora’s Pace, Pace from La Forza del Destino, in which she manages the pitfalls of the piano top B on invan la pace better than you would expect for post diet Callas. Her performance of Isolde’s Liebestod (again in Italian) is very similar to the Cetra recording, warm and feminine, passionately yearning.

    From the 1958 Paris Gala we have her minxish Una voce poco fa from Il Barbiere di Siviglia, with its explosive ma, as Rosina warns us she is not to be messed with. She sings in the mezzo key with added higher embellishments. This is followed by a couple of lesser known performances from a UK TV special, conducted by Sir Malcolm Sargent. Mimi’s Si mi chiamano Mimi is similar to the performance on the complete recording, charming and disarming, whilst Margarita’s L’altra notte from Mefistofele is a touch more vivid, a little less subtle than the studio recording.

    Just one item from the 1958 rehearsal for the Dallas Opera inaugural concert, the Mad Scene from I Puritani. Though, by 1958, Callas’s voice had been showing signs of deterioration, Bellini’s music still suits her admirably, and she sounds in easy, secure voice here up to a ringing top Eb at its close. The scale work is as supple as ever, and she executes its intricacies with ease even when singing at half voice.

    To finish off we have the Mad Scene from the 1959 Carnegie Hall concert performance of Il Pirata. It had been a variable evening, with Callas’s colleagues hardly in her class, but here, left alone on the stage, Callas responds to the challenges of the final scene superbly, the cavatina, in which she spins out the cantilena to incredible lengths, becomes a moving lament to her son, and the dramatic cabaletta is then thrillingly flung out into the auditorium. The audience unsurprisingly go berserk.

    How lucky we are to have these wonderful live performances preserved in sound, and how grateful we are to Divina Records for offering them to us free of charge. Nobody need hesitate.

    https://www.divinarecords.com/bjr143/bjr143.html
    "It's not enough to have a beautiful voice." Maria Callas

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