Otello by Rossini

What a shame that I did not know who Virginia Zeani was, when in 1968 the Rome opera brought Otello by Rossini to the Met. Well,at least we have this document featuring one of our favorite sopranos. This is from 1960 Rome under Fernando Previtali, and also features Agostino Lazzari as Otello, Giuseppe Baratti as Iago,Franco Ventriglia as Elmiro, and Anna Reynolds as Emilia. Look for the plot on Wikepedia or other sites. (70 min.)

Direct download: Otello_Rossini.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 6:58pm EDT

In Loving Memory of Shirley Verrett

Born on May 31, 1931, I have always felt that Shirley Verrett ranks way up there with Simionato,Cossotto,etc. She was a marvelous singer, who blew the roof off with a magnificent voice, and I will never forget her. We lost her in 2010, but her memory lives on.

Category:general -- posted at: 5:42pm EDT

In memory of George London on his birthday.

 In memory of the marvelous George London, on his May 30th birthday, we shall hear duets  from Eugen Onegin (with Valerie Bak), Aida (with Astrid Varnay, Arabella (with Eleanor Steber, arias from Prince Igor,Flying Dutchman, and a scene from act one of Parsifal. Also included,from a live recital, are the Mussorgsky "Songs and Dances of Death." We pay tribute to this glorious artist.   (71 min.)

Direct download: London_Birthday.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 3:50pm EDT


 For May 30, we wish the marvelous mezzo,turned soprano,Olivia Stapp, a very happy birthday. She has been one of our finest artists, and you will hear scenes from Elektra, Macbeth, Anna Bolena (as both Seymour and Anna), and Tosca (with Nicolai Gedda).    (60 min.)

Direct download: Stapp_Birthday.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 11:34pm EDT


Highlights from an Italian version of Berlioz's "Les Troyens" from La Scala, 1960 under Rafael Kubelik. Mario del Monaco,Giulietta Simionato(Dido),Nell Rankin (Cassandra). and Nicola Zaccaria (Narbal) are in the cast.    (67 min.)

Direct download: Troj.Del_Mon..mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 2:20am EDT

Forza del Destino, 1953

An all-star Forza from New Orleans, 1953 under Walter Herbert. In the cast are Zinka Milanov, Mario del Monaco, Leonard Warren, William Wilderman, and Norman Treigle (Marchese). Need I say more???   (72 min.)

Direct download: Forza_Orleans.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 12:49am EDT

An All-star Simone Boccanegra

  Yes, they did once make them like this:  A brilliant Scala 1972 Simone Boccanegra which features Piero Cappuccilli,Mirella Freni,Nicolai Ghiaurov, Gianni Raimondi, and Felice Schiavi (Paolo). The conductor is Claudio Abbado. (and stop telling me I only like dead and retired singers!!!)  (72 min.)

Direct download: Simone_Capp..mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 2:44pm EDT

Happy Birthday, Teresa Stratas

  "My aunt sings opera," said a kid in my Spanish class one day. I thought to myself, "Big deal!." I was polite..."What is her name???"   TERESA STRATAS!!!!!!

Born May 26, 1938, she has had many emotional problems,but who can doubt her great artistry...Best to her!!!

Born: May 26, 1938 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Genre: Opera

Stratas is one of the controversial stars of the latter half of the twentieth century, and one whose personality and life, like that of Callas, another great soprano of Greek descent, are inextricably linked with her performances in the minds of many members of the public. Also like Callas, she had a special magnetism as a performer, due to her dramatic intensity and exceptional physical beauty. Her top became weak during her middle and late career and she lost some focus in the middle of her voice, which sometimes caused her to force. However, her performances on stage and on film were so riveting that most were willing to forgive those vocal flaws, and even her habit of canceling, usually due to nerves.

She grew up in Toronto and began singing in nightclubs and in her father's restaurant when she was twelve. Encouraged by her successes, including radio performances, and after being given a free ticket to La Traviata, an experience which she said overwhelmed her with the concept of what the human voice can do, she auditioned for the Opera School at the Royal College of Music in Toronto in 1954. She had never studied voice, knew opera only from that one performance, and brought Smoke Gets in Your Eyes as her audition piece, but her personality and potential talent were so impressive that she was admitted, and was such a quick learner that she made her debut with the Canadian Opera as Mimi in 1958, and won the Metropolitan Opera Auditions of the Air the next year, making her debut as Pousette in Manon the next year. In 1960, she created the title role of Glanville-Hicks' Nausicaa at the Athens Festival. Her Covent Garden debut was again as Mimi in 1961, and in 1962, she made her La Scala debut as Isabella in de Falla's Atlantida. In 1974, she came to international fame with her appearance as Salome on a television production of Salome, considered one of the very few singers in living memory who could convincingly portray Salome's transformation from naive teenager to depraved woman. In 1979, she sang the title role of the first performance of the three-act version of Berg's Lulu at the Paris Opera.

In the 1980s, she almost completely withdrew from the operatic stage, though she made notable recordings of Weill songs, and appeared in films of La Traviata and Amahl and the Night Visitors. She also explored Broadway, earning a Tony Award for best actress for her performance in Rags in 1986, and recorded Julie in Showboat. In 1981, she backpacked through India, where among other activities, she volunteered for Mother Teresa's projects in the poorest areas of the cities. In 1988, she returned to the Met to create the role of Marie Antoinette in Corigliano's The Ghosts of Versailles.

Category:general -- posted at: 11:55am EDT

Remembering "Bubbles."

   Let us remember the great Beverly Sills, born on May 25, 1929. She was an amazing artist, and was able to take a basically light coluratura voice, and often turn it into a voice that thrilled even in more dramatic roles. Rest in Peace.

Category:general -- posted at: 9:25pm EDT

Francesca da Rimini w.Olivero,Del Monaco

 From Scala,1959 under Gianandrea Gavazzeni, highlights from Zabdonai's exciting opera, Francesca da Rimini, featuring Magda Olivero, Mario del Monaco, Gianpiero Malaspina (Gianciotto), Piero de Palma (Malatestino), etc.   (68 min.)

Direct download: Francesca_Magda.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 9:01pm EDT

More Great Music

May 2012
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