Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Vissi d'arte

For the opera lovers out there (and I know there are a few!) who are already missing the Met Saturday afternoon broadcasts, you may want to sample their new CD series of historic reissues. Anthony Tommasini wrote a lengthy and adulatory New York Times article on the first grouping, which he summarizes below:
There is a 1962 broadcast of Puccini’s “Tosca” with Leontyne Price in sumptuous voice as an impassioned yet dignified Tosca; Franco Corelli, a virile-voiced and charismatic Cavaradossi; Cornell MacNeil in his prime as Scarpia; and Kurt Adler conducting.
The cast of a 1950 broadcast of Rossini’s “Barbiere di Siviglia” is headed by Lily Pons as Rosina and Giuseppe Valdengo as Figaro. Of special interest is the Count Almaviva of Giuseppe di Stefano, sung with such lyrical splendor that no one should mind his dicey execution of passagework and dated approach to the Rossini style.
Speaking of Björling, he is a poignant Roméo in a ravishing 1947 broadcast of Gounod’s “Roméo et Juliette,” with Bidú Sayão as the most heartbreaking, tender Juliette imaginable. And speaking of “Bohème,” the series offers an affecting performance from 1958 with Licia Albanese as Mimi, Carlo Bergonzi as Rodolfo and the conductor Thomas Schippers, 27 at the time, drawing a buoyant and glowing performance from the Met orchestra.
Lily Pons and Bidú Sayão
After his article, the Met also issued Fidelio, Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg, and The Marriage of Figaro. To view a lovely meditation on Figaro as a perfect work of art, you can peruse this blog entry by soprano Mary Beth Loup, with videos of some of her favorite performers (including the one below with her husband, François, as Dr Bartolo!).


1 comment:

  1. What a review! I'm drooling and would love to experience all of these recordings. The greats on vinyl come to the digital (CD) age - thank goodness! Of course I am incredibly interested in the fresher faces and new productions of the masterpieces, but the legacy of such singers mentioned here is vital to the continuation of our craft. There is so much to learn from them and I am so glad to know of this series! Please take your prima donna bow for yet another brilliant and delicious review!