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Thread: Historic Opera Singers - Arias, Duets, and Ensembles of the Day Calendar...

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    Default Historic Opera Singers - Arias, Duets, and Ensembles of the Day Calendar...

    This thread is intended to be the musical equivalent of a "Page-A-Day" calendar which will document a personal listening project that I have decided to embark upon and I hope that you will join me each day as featured arias, duets, and ensemble pieces by historic opera singers will be presented.

    They may indeed by "Voices of the Past" but they are as thrilling - as transcendent - now as they were then and thus merit being heard and appreciated lest they forever fade into the obscurity of the forgotten past.

    Each day will feature from three to five historic recordings along with biographical information, photographs, and performance videos (when available).

    Initially two labels will be featured - Nimbus with the "Prima Voce" line of releases and Opera dOro with their "Great Voices of the Past" series - others will be added later.

    Multiple artist listings will alternate with posts which feature a single performer.

    Commentary on any and all aspects are welcomed.


    - Duncan

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


    Historic Opera Singers - Arias, Duets, and Ensembles for the day of October 6, 2019 -

    k.jpg

    Delibes: Lakmé -"Dov'e L'indiana Bruna" - Amelita Galli-Curci

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dKJok0o0Cis

    l.jpg

    "Amelita Galli-Curci (18 November 1882 – 26 November 1963) was an Italian coloratura soprano. She was one of the most popular operatic singers of the 20th century, with her recordings selling in large numbers.

    Galli-Curci made her operatic debut in 1906 at Trani, as Gilda in Giuseppe Verdi's Rigoletto, and she rapidly became acclaimed throughout Italy for the sweetness and agility of her voice and her captivating musical interpretations. She was seen by many critics as an antidote to the host of squally, verismo-oriented sopranos then populating Italian opera houses."


    Verdi: La traviata: "Attendo, attendo...Addio del passato" - Claudia Muzio

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pFb_X8RTC1Y

    m.jpg

    "Claudia Muzio (7 February 1889 – 24 May 1936) was an Italian operatic soprano who enjoyed an international career during the early 20th century.

    She established a special relationship with audiences at the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires, where she first appeared in June 1919 (in Catalani's Loreley). From then until 1934 she sang there in 23 different operas, becoming known as "la divina Claudia".

    Muzio was noted for the beauty and warmth of her voice, which, although not particularly large, acquired a considerable richness of tonal colouring as she grew older. Her performances were sometimes criticized for excessive use of dynamic extremes, including her exquisitely expressive pianissimo singing."


    Bizet: Carmen: "Presso il bastion di Siviglia" (Séguidille) - Conchita Supervia

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KdA-Dg6N5s0

    n.png

    Conchita Supervía (8–9 December 1895[1] – 30 March 1936) was a highly popular Spanish mezzo-soprano singer who appeared in opera in Europe and America and also gave recitals.

    She had a powerful chest register linked to a flexible upper voice that could cope easily with florid passages, allied to a musicianship of great individuality and infectious flair. Her voice is not without its critics; a pronounced vibrato that in the lower part of the voice became almost a machine-gun rattle, ‘as strong as the rattle of ice in a glass, or dice in a box’, in a comment attributed to the British critic, Philip Hope-Wallace.

    Many who heard her in the flesh have said that this vibrato was more evident on records than on the stage – an example of the microphone exaggerating a singer's faults."


    Puccini: Vissi d'arte (from Tosca) - Magda Olivero

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vuhKi_RYAeA

    v.jpg

    "Magda Olivero, née Maria Maddalena Olivero (25 March 1910 – 8 September 2014), was an Italian operatic soprano. Her career started in 1932 when she was 22, and spanned five decades establishing her "as an important link between the era of the verismo composers and the modern opera stage". She has been regarded as "one of the greatest singers of the twentieth century."
    Last edited by Duncan; Oct-06-2019 at 20:15.

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    This is wonderful. Thanks for this.
    My favorite soprano, Magda Olivero, does a beautiful job with the Vissi d'arte.

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    You've made some excellent choices, showing what made these singers distinctive. Today the agility, clarity, dreamy sweetness and sheer effortlessness of Galli-Curci in her prime knocked me out all over again and reminded me that some 78 rpm records inherited from my great grandfather were among my introductions to operatic singing in childhood. I played these on the family's Victrola (look it up, youngsters!):

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U4bdz_UFeQ0

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5hu2GmebZ7o

    A suggestion: If you can supply recording dates for your selections it would be useful for those interested in the chronology of a singer's career.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mollie John View Post
    Verdi: La traviata: "Attendo, attendo...Addio del passato" - Claudia Muzio

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pFb_X8RTC1Y

    m.jpg

    "Claudia Muzio (7 February 1889 – 24 May 1936) was an Italian operatic soprano who enjoyed an international career during the early 20th century.

    She established a special relationship with audiences at the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires, where she first appeared in June 1919 (in Catalani's Loreley). From then until 1934 she sang there in 23 different operas, becoming known as "la divina Claudia".

    Muzio was noted for the beauty and warmth of her voice, which, although not particularly large, acquired a considerable richness of tonal colouring as she grew older. Her performances were sometimes criticized for excessive use of dynamic extremes, including her exquisitely expressive pianissimo singing."
    Claudia Muzio
    (1889 – 1936)

    I never thought I’d love an older woman,
    and surely not one seventy years my senior.
    But from the faded past, she reaches out:
    a voice that captures, captivates my heart.

    In times gone by, they called her “La Divina”—
    an opera diva, great tragedienne,
    the Bernhardt or the Duse of her day.
    Before Ponselle or Callas, there was Claudia.

    Born in Pavia, parents musical,
    she quickly showed her promise, stood apart.
    A voice made up, her listeners soon would say,
    of “tears and sighs,” “restrained interior fire.”

    Reclusive, shy, devoted to her art,
    she nonetheless found fame throughout the world—
    New York, Chicago, Buenos Aires, Rome—
    and set her seal on roles she made her own.

    Her Norma, Nedda, Tosca, Turandot,
    Santuzza, Leonora, Maddelena,
    Mimì, Manon, Desdemona, Aida,
    Cecilia and, above all, Violetta.

    I hear the pathos of those portamentos,
    those fleeting, floated pianissimos,
    especially in those final arias
    recorded just a year before her death.

    Her passionate “Adio del passato,”
    La Traviata’s deathbed-scene farewell;
    the poignancy revealed in that voice,
    when she herself stood poised upon the void.

    She left the world too suddenly, too soon;
    ironic fate: a failure of the heart.
    Just her recorded legacy remains,
    those faint mementos, faded memories.

    Yet when my own day comes, perhaps I’ll find
    no more dividing me from La Divina.
    For now I hear her darkly, through a glass,
    but then—who knows?—in glory, face to face.
    Alan

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    Historic Opera Singers - Arias, Duets, and Ensembles

    for the day of October 7, 2019 -



    Featured Artist - Beniamino Gigli

    2.jpg

    Beniamino Gigli Volume 1 1918-1924 - Part One -

    Ponchielli - La Gioconda: "Cielo e mar" (Recorded 1918)

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Vu3...W&index=2&t=0s


    3.jpg

    Cannio: O Surdato 'nnammurato (Recorded 1918)

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VMfq...pA804W&index=2


    4.jpg

    Boito: Mefistofele - "Dai campi, dai prati" - (Recorded 1921)

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5wEQ...pA804W&index=3

    Boito: Mefistofele - "Giunto sul passo estremo" - (Recorded 1921)

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zc_m...pA804W&index=4


    "Beniamino Gigli (20 March 1890 – 30 November 1957) was an Italian opera singer. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest tenors of his generation."

    "They called him the “Caruso Secondo,” a title he disliked saying that he preferred to be known as the “Gigli Primo.” In truth he was unlike Caruso in many ways, not least because Caruso’s voice was larger, darker, and more dramatic with what Italians referred to as “squillo” – that full-bodied sound that is the hallmark of a spinto tenor and can thrill an audience."

    "Early in his career, Gigli possessed a beautiful, soft and honey-like lyric voice, with incredible mezza-voice, allowing him to sing light, lyrical roles. As he grew older, his voice developed some dramatic qualities, enabling him to sing heavier roles like Aida and Tosca."

    "Music critics, especially those outside Italy, often complained of his sloppy musicianship and careless interpretations, especially his habit of interjecting sobs at dramatic moments but, much like his later Italian counterpart Luciano Pavarotti, his overt emotionalism and the unequalled beauty of his voice delighted his fans and he is undoubtedly one of the very finest tenors in recorded history."

    "Some of the loveliest of all singing on record is heard here. By 1918 Gigli had been hailed as 'the tenor' in the land of tenors, and by 1921 he had come to be thought of as Caruso's successor in New York...The beauty of the voice emerges with clarity and presence; and all the transfers have been made from originals of the finest quality."
    - Gramophone

    Last edited by Duncan; Oct-07-2019 at 13:20.

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    I would be remiss if I didn't add Aureliano Pertile's name to the spectacular tenor list. Not only was he a fine tenor but a fantastic actor as well.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nina foresti View Post
    I would be remiss if I didn't add Aureliano Pertile's name to the spectacular tenor list. Not only was he a fine tenor but a fantastic actor as well.
    Both "Pertile Edition Vol. 1 - The Young Pertile - The Acoustic Records" and "Pertile Edition, Vol. 2: Il Tenore di Toscanini" are in the pipeline and will be making a future appearance.

    A sample from the following album -

    3.jpg

    Verdi: Aida - "Celeste Aida" - Aureliano Pertile

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D-82...Y&index=8&t=0s

    4.png

    Thank you for your continued support - It is greatly appreciated!

    - Duncan
    Last edited by Duncan; Oct-07-2019 at 19:47.

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    Historic Opera Singers - Arias, Duets, and Ensembles

    for the day of October 8, 2019 -


    Featured Artist - Rosa Ponselle


    3.jpg

    Rosa Ponselle Volume 1 1923-1939 - Part One -


    Ponchielli: La Gioconda: "Suicidio" - Rosa Ponselle - (Recorded 1925)

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z_mV...i&index=2&t=0s


    a.jpg

    Verdi: Otello - "Piangea cantando (The Willow Song)" - Rosa Ponselle - (Recorded 1924) -

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XwZH...4vA2vi&index=2

    Verdi: Otello - "Ave Maria" - Rosa Ponselle - (Recorded 1924) -

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x5OE...4vA2vi&index=3


    b.jpg

    Verdi: Aida - "Qui Radames verà!...O Patria mia" - Rosa Ponselle -
    (Recorded 1923) -


    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fTHq...4vA2vi&index=4

    Verdi: Aida - "Pur ti riveggo" - Rosa Ponselle and Giovanni Martinelli -
    (Recorded 1924) -


    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uY3X...4vA2vi&index=5


    c.jpg

    Verdi: Ernani: "Surta è la notte...Ernani, involami" - Rosa Ponselle - (Recorded 1924) -

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kxji...4vA2vi&index=6


    "Rosa Ponselle (January 22, 1897 – May 25, 1981) was an American operatic soprano.
    She sang mainly at the New York Metropolitan Opera and is generally considered to have been one of the greatest sopranos of the 20th Century.

    Rosa Ponselle made her Metropolitan Opera debut on November 15, 1918, just a few days after the Great War had finished, as Leonora in Verdi's La forza del destino, opposite Caruso. It was her first performance on any opera stage. She was quite intimidated for being in the presence of Caruso, and in spite of an almost paralyzing case of nervousness (which she suffered from throughout her operatic career), she scored a tremendous success, both with the public and with the critics. New York Times critic James Huneker wrote: "...what a promising debut! Added to her personal attractiveness, she possesses a voice of natural beauty that may prove a gold mine; it is vocal gold, anyhow, with its luscious lower and middle tones, dark, rich and ductile, brilliant in the upper register."

    Martin Bernheimer, writing in The New Grove Dictionary of Opera, had this to say about Ponselle's voice and recordings:

    "Ponselle's voice is generally regarded as one of the most beautiful of the century. She was universally lauded for opulence of tone, evenness of scale, breadth of range, perfection of technique and communicative warmth. Many of these attributes are convincingly documented on recordings. In 1954 she made a few private song recordings, later released commercially, revealing a still opulent voice of darkened timbre and more limited range."

    Note: Every effort will be made to match photographs with roles portrayed but substitutions will be made when the veracity of the claim made by the identification of the image is questionable.

    - Duncan
    Last edited by Duncan; Oct-08-2019 at 13:51.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mollie John View Post
    Historic Opera Singers - Arias, Duets, and Ensembles

    for the day of October 8, 2019 -


    Featured Artist - Rosa Ponselle


    3.jpg
    Allow me to add to this a selection by the fabulous Ponselle recorded in 1954, when she was 57 years old and long retired from opera, but in scarcely diminished voice:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wkg6wLXn3_Y

    And I can't resist adding what must be the greatest singing of "O Danny Boy" ever heard:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jXfj4LcA3DQ

    Even through the radio static of 1936 she can stand as a lesson in diction - and everything else - to singers today.
    Last edited by Woodduck; Oct-08-2019 at 21:33.

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    The tomb scene duet with Martinelli is legendary: the famous tenuto on O terra addio - sometimes imitated, never quite equaled.

    As for sheer vocal beauty, Ponselle is number one in my book.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Scott in PA View Post
    The tomb scene duet with Martinelli is legendary: the famous tenuto on O terra addio - sometimes imitated, never quite equaled.

    As for sheer vocal beauty, Ponselle is number one in my book.
    untitled.jpg

    Rosa Ponselle sings Verdi (1918-1928)

    Rosa Ponselle (soprano), Giovanni Martinelli (tenor)

    "La fatal pietra... O terra addio"

    Recorded: 19th September, 1923


    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ddvTlfd9HiY

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    Historic Opera Singers - Arias, Duets, and Ensembles

    for the day of October 9, 2019 -

    Featured Artist - Tito Schipa



    4.jpg

    Tito Schipa 1913-1937 - Part One -


    Mascagni: Cavalleria Rusticana: "O Lola, c'hai di latti la cammisa ("Siciliana")" - (Recorded 1913)

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fw11...hXMnrc&index=1


    a.png

    Verdi: Rigoletto: "Ella mi fu rapita...Parmir veder le lagrime" -

    (Recorded 1913)


    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dp01...hXMnrc&index=2


    c.png

    Donizetti: Lucia di Lammermoor: "Tu che a Dio spiegasti l'ali" -

    (Recorded 1913)


    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dp01...hXMnrc&index=2


    e.png

    Leoncavallo: Pagliacci: "Serenata d'Arlecchino" - (Recorded 1922)

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GKt1...hXMnrc&index=4


    f.jpg

    Massenet: Manon: "Il Sogno" - (Recorded 1922)

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TdKt...hXMnrc&index=5


    "Tito Schipa (Italian pronunciation: [ˈskipa]; born Raffaele Attilio Amedeo Schipa; 2 January 1889 in Lecce – 16 December 1965) was an Italian tenor, considered the greatest tenore di grazia and one of the most popular tenors of the century.

    Schipa had no grand voice nor exceptional beauty of timbre, it was rather the manner in which he employed it that captivated the audiences. He had no astounding high notes and limited therefore his repertory to a handful of operatic roles which he performed over and over again in a career that lasted for 55 years. His voice was subtle and light, capturing the shades and colors of the music, yet it reached in the great opera arenas by virtue of its great projection."

    "Tito Schipa had something far more important than high notes: a great singing line. One of the most ingratiating of singers, with refined enunciation of text, elegant phrasing and superb musicianship, he held a prominent place in the light Italian romantic tenor repertoire during his long and successful career."
    – Luis Eduardo Goncalves Gabarra


    Tito Schipa - Cilea - L'arlesiana -

    "È la solita storia del pastore" - ("Lamento di Federico")


    Last edited by Duncan; Oct-09-2019 at 20:30.

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    Historic Opera Singers - Arias, Duets, and Ensembles

    for the day of October 10, 2019 -


    5.jpg


    "Legendary Opera Duets" - Part One -


    a.jpg

    Bizet: Les Pêcheurs de Perles - "Au fond du temple saint" -

    Marcel Journet and Edmond Clément - (Recorded 1912) -


    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JOui...R3jihw&index=1

    "Marcel Journet (25 July 1868 – 7 September 1933), was a French, bass, operatic singer. He enjoyed a prominent career in England, France and Italy, and appeared at the foremost American opera houses in New York City and Chicago.

    He possessed a beautiful, cultured voice and a fine technique—hitting the absolute peak of his powers as a singer and an actor during the 1915-1925 period, during which time he became La Scala's principal bass."

    "Edmond Clément (28 March 1867, Paris - 24 February 1928, Nice) was a French lyric tenor who earned an international reputation due to the polished artistry of his singing.

    He was admired him for his stylish vocalism, exemplary diction and elegant stage presence. Although his voice was not large, he was considered to be one of the leading Roméos and Don Josés of his era by dint of his musicianship."


    b.png

    Puccini: La Bohème - "O Soave Fanciulla" -

    Enrico Caruso and Geraldine Farrar (Recorded 1912) -


    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CZqn...w&index=3&t=0s

    "Enrico Caruso (25 February 1873 – 2 August 1921) was an Italian operatic tenor. He sang to great acclaim at the major opera houses of Europe and the Americas, appearing in a wide variety of roles from the Italian and French repertoires that ranged from the lyric to the dramatic.

    One of the first major singing talents to be commercially recorded, Caruso made approximately 260 commercially released recordings from 1902 to 1920, which made him an international popular entertainment star.

    Caruso's voice extended up to high D-flat in its prime and grew in power and weight as he grew older. At times, his voice took on a dark, almost baritonal coloration. He sang a broad spectrum of roles, ranging from lyric, to spinto, to dramatic parts, in the Italian and French repertoires. In the German repertoire, Caruso sang only two roles, Assad (in Karl Goldmark's The Queen of Sheba) and Richard Wagner's Lohengrin, both of which he performed in Italian in Buenos Aires in 1899 and 1901, respectively."

    "Alice Geraldine Farrar (February 28, 1882 – March 11, 1967) was an American soprano opera singer and film actress, noted for her beauty, acting ability, and "the intimate timbre of her voice." She had a large following among young women, who were nicknamed "Gerry-flappers"."

    "Unlike most of the famous bel canto singers of the past who sacrificed dramatic action to tonal perfection, she was more interested in the emotional than in the purely lyrical aspects of her roles. According to Miss Farrar, until prime donne can combine the arts of Sarah Bernhardt and Nellie Melba, dramatic ability is more essential than perfect singing in opera."
    — Elizabeth Nash (biographer)


    c.jpg

    (Jussi Björling, Hjördis Schymberg with conductor Tor Mann)

    Verdi: Rigoletto: "È il sol dell'anima" -

    Hjördis Schymberg and Jussi Björling - (Recorded 1941) -


    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ShCs...R3jihw&index=3

    "Hjördis Gunborg Schymberg (April 24, 1909 – September 8, 2008) was a Swedish coloratura and lyric soprano active on the opera stage and in concert halls between 1934 and 1968.

    She made her stage debut in 1934 as Berthe in a matinée performance of Adolphe Adam's comic opera La poupée de Nuremberg. Later that year she sang Mimì to Björling's Rodolfo for their 1934 role debuts in La bohème and went on to sing with him over 100 times, including his last performance in Stockholm in 1960.

    She soon became one of the leading sopranos of the Royal Swedish Opera and also sang regularly in Copenhagen, Oslo, and Helsinki.

    A review of her Met debut in The New York Times described her: "Comely, petite and graceful, she was an ideal Susanna to the eye. Her impersonation was refined and filled with the spirit of youth. She brought the needed vivacity and sly humor to her interpretation and gave it real human appeal in a natural and unaffected way that won immediate favor with the large audience."

    "Johan Jonatan "Jussi" Björling (5 February 1911– 9 September 1960) was a Swedish tenor. One of the leading operatic singers of the 20th century, Björling appeared for many years at the Metropolitan Opera in New York and less frequently at the major European opera houses, including the Royal Opera House in London and La Scala in Milan."

    "Almost from the beginning of his career, Jussi sang with a relaxed but perfect legato line, so effortless that it often seemed he was creating the music as he sang it. A quality of unforced naturalness, along with an absolute technical mastery, both taught him by his father, were the most notable aspects of Björling’s artistry along with what was once described as “a voice heavy with unshed tears.”

    Note: There should be four photos accompanying this post but they are appearing and disappearing on a random basis due to issues with the server. If they fail to appear within the post they will be added as a separate post later.

    - Duncan
    Last edited by Duncan; Oct-10-2019 at 18:08.

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    Speaking of the past, I am privileged to have a copy of the impossible to understand Mapleson Cylinders (circa 1910+) with the de Reszkes and Caruso, etc. It is a study in true concentration to listen with all the static in the background but I tell you if you are able to REALLY concentrate, you will get to hear most of their arias and they somehow prove that they had the right to be called fine opera singers.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nina foresti View Post
    Speaking of the past, I am privileged to have a copy of the impossible to understand Mapleson Cylinders (circa 1910+) with the de Reszkes and Caruso, etc. It is a study in true concentration to listen with all the static in the background but I tell you if you are able to REALLY concentrate, you will get to hear most of their arias and they somehow prove that they had the right to be called fine opera singers.
    By "copy" do you mean a recording? Those cylinders, some of which go back to 1901, were made in the wings during live performances at the Met. They're fascinating documents indeed, in lowest fidelity, often sounding like someone singing in the shower in a movie on the TV in the apartment next door. Still, as you say, there are glimpses of vocal glory.

    There are quite a few of the Mapleson cylinders on YouTube, as well as some even older Edison cylinders. How's this for a trip in a time machine?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-qDwz3JdD1c

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