She said, "Dammi il braccio,mio piccinO" and I,knowing Boheme at 19 (with hair), responded, "Obbedisco,SignorA."   SNAP!!!!! This photo will forver remain in my heart.


Direct download: Renata_and_I.jpg
Category:general -- posted at: 1:06pm EDT

Fedora Highlights with Beniamino Gigli

  We begin with some scenes from a 1951 Rio de Janeiro Fedora with Beniamino Gigli (born 1890) and Elena Nicolai, conducted by Nino Sanzogno. Also included are three arias from Fedora with Gigli.   (44 min.)

Direct download: Fedora_Gigli.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 7:10pm EDT

Gotterdamerung from 1936

Here we present highlights from a superb Gotterdamerung under Artur Bodansky. Despite the transcription disc sounds, one can understand what great Wagnerian artists existed in that era. Marjorie Lawrence, Lauritz Melchior, Friedrich Schorr, Ludwig Hoffman, Kathryn Meisle and Dorothee Manski (Gutrune) are the artists.  (63 min.)

Direct download: Gott.Lawrence.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 8:45pm EDT

A little more about Paul...

   I also wanted to mention that the "kid" at around age 20 was the Guardiano in our Forza del Destino in Paterson, New Jersey, under the brilliant leadership of Paul's teacher and coach, Armen Boyajian.  I also want to express my deep affection for Paul, and wish him all the best. He has always been a wonderful artist and a fine human being.

                                                Love from Melitone

Category:general -- posted at: 1:43pm EDT

Bless you,Paul Plishka, as you bid farewell to the Met

Paul Plishka (born August 28, 1941) is a Ukrainian-American bass opera singer.

Mr Plishka comes from Old Forge, Pennsylvania and Paterson, New Jersey; his parents were American-born children of Ukrainian immigrants. He studied at Montclair State College and with Armen Boyajian (also the pedagogue of Marisa Galvany and fellow basso Samuel Ramey), and made his operatic debut with the Paterson Lyric Opera, in 1961.

Plishka made his formal debut with the Metropolitan Opera as the Monk in La Gioconda, in 1967. He became one of the company's leading basses, and has appeared in many other theatres, including the Teatro alla Scala (debut in La damnation de Faust, 1974) and the New York City Opera (I puritani, 1981).

The bass sang over 1,600 performances with the Met, placing him at Number 10 on their official list of most-frequent performers, which dates back to the company's inception in 1883. On January 10, 2012, bid Farewell to the company, as the Sacristan in Tosca, opposite Patricia Racette and Roberto Alagna.

He is a National Patron of Delta Omicron, an international professional music fraternity. [1]

Paul Plishka's artistry was recognized in 1992 when he received the Pennsylvania Governor's Award for Excellence in the Arts and when, several years earlier, he was inducted into the Hall of Fame for Great American Opera Singers in a celebration at the Academy of Vocal Arts in Phil.

Category:general -- posted at: 1:31pm EDT

NEW STYLE FOR "Mr.Friend of Opera."

   I think you will like the new style of my VIDEO check it out...

Category:general -- posted at: 11:19pm EDT


  The happiest of birthdays to the great Marcello Giordani as I present five beautiful Italian songs from his album, "Ti voglio tanto bene." Marcello is a very great artist and a lovable human being as well.  Bravo al MAESTRO MARCELLO!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                                          Con affetto,



Direct download: Giordani_Birth_2012.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 4:12pm EDT

Rest in Peace, Rita Gorr

Dear Rita Gorr just passed away. She would have turned 86 in February.I saw her Met debut as Delilah, and her Amneris matched Birgit in size of voice....A wonderful artist.

  Rest in Peace.

Category:general -- posted at: 11:40pm EDT


Highlights from a rare 1935 performance of Romeo et Juliette, conducted by Louis Hasselmans. It features Eide Norena, Charles Hackett, Giuseppe de Luca, Leon Rothier, and Gladys Swarthout. The sound is not great,owing to the original transcription discs, but it is quite acceptable. (71 min.)

Direct download: Romeo_1935.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 5:45pm EDT

Coming up on Renata Tebaldi's 90th birthday.

On a freezing morning on Jan.31, 1955, I awoke at 4:30 to get to the Met standee line to wait all day for the debut of the lady whose 90th birthday comes on Feb.1.Therefore when we met her outside for the first time, it was her 34th birthday(born Feb.1, 1922.) She was the most beloved artist one could imagine and we became close, as did many others, because she was our (mommy." I called her for many years on her birthday and to this day, that 19 year old kid never quite recuperated from knowing this loving lady and one of the greatest sopranos in opera history. Can we do any special kind of tribute here on Feb.1 in her memory???It would be nice, especially for the younger fans of opera who never saw her.?? I have some cute stories to tell and many things about her singing only those who saw her could explain.  No one who knew her on and off stage will EVER forget what she meant to us.

    If you have any requests for lives arias/scenes, e-mail me at

Category:general -- posted at: 4:35pm EDT


Just to remind you of my Google Videos (168 of them) at:

Category:general -- posted at: 12:04am EDT

HAPPY BIRTHDAY (Jan.22) to dear Joseph Calleja

I have met many singers, and they are usually sweethearts...but dear Joe is so special to all who know him on and off stage. May I wish him a wonderful birthday and may he continue to thrill audiences all over the globe.   

The three arias are from the new album, "The Maltese Tenor."

Direct download: Calleja_Birthday.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 11:30pm EDT

Bless Rosa Ponselle!!

 Born on Jan.22, 1897, Rosa Ponselle was considered my many to have had the most gorgeous voice EVER!  Unfortunately she retired in her late thirties, but at least we do have her Villa Pace recordings, and the voice was still remarkable. Imagine a "kid" making a debut with Caruso in Forza at the Met!!!!

Category:general -- posted at: 3:11pm EDT

I did have hair and freckles once!!!!!!

When I think of that "other' Spanish speaking dude with whom I share a birthday, I often look back on my youth, and remember someone I resembled. Of course, as I compare us two, I do feel slighted, since he has sung more roles than I, I take the train and he has a jet, and I may own 250 Toscas, but he owns Madrid.

Love to a great icon in the world of music (Not me!!!)

Category:general -- posted at: 2:15pm EDT

Born: January 21, 1941 - Madrid, Spain

The famous Spanish tenor and able conductor, Plácido Domingo, was born to zarzuela singers. After a tour of Mexico, they settled there and gave performances with their own company. Placido joined his parents in Mexico at the age of 7 and began appearing with them in various productions while still a child. He also studied piano with Manuel Barajas in Mexico City and voice with Carlo Morelli at the National Conservatory there (1955-1957).

Plácido Domingo made his operatic debut in the tenor role of Borsa in Rigoletto with the National Opera in Mexico City in 1959. His first major role was as Alfredo in La Traviata in Monterrey in 1961. That same year he made his USA debut as Arturo in Lucia di Lammermoor with the Dallas Civic Opera. Then he was a member of the Hebrew National Opera in Tel Aviv (1962-1964). He made his first appearance with the New York City Opera as Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly in October 1965. In August 1966, he made his Metropolitan Opera debut as Turiddu in a concert performance of Cavalleria rusticana at New York's Lewisohn Stadium. His formal debut on the stage of the Metropolitan followed in September 1968, when he essayed the role of Maurice de Saxe in Adriana Lecouvreur, establishing himself as one of its principal members. He also sang regularly at the Vienna State Opera (from 1967), Milan's La Scala (from 1969), and London's Covent Garden (from 1971). His travels took him to all the major operatic centers of the world, and he also sang for recordings, films, and television.

Plácido Domingo also pursued conducting. He made his formal debut as an opera conductor with La Traviata at the New York City Opera in October 1973, and in October 1984, he appeared at the Metropolitan Opera, conducting La Boheme. He commissioned Menotti's opera Goya and sang the title role at its premiere in Washington, D.C, in November 1986. In 1987 he sang Otello at the 100th anniversary performances at La Scala. On New Year's Eve 1988 he appeared as a soloist with Zubin Mehta and the New York Philharmonic Orchestra in a gala concert televised live to millions, during which he also conducted the orchestra in the overture to Die Fledermaus. In July 1990, he participated in a celebrated concert with fellow tenors Jose Carreras and Luciano Pavarotti in Rome, with Zubin Mehta conducting. The concert was telecast live to the world and subsequently became a best-selling video and compact disc. In 1992 he appeared at the opening gala ceremonies of the Olympic Games in Barcelona. In 1993 he sang Parsifal at the Bayreuth Festival with extraordinary success.

Plácido Domingo celebrated his 25th anniversary with the Metropolitan Opera singing Siegmund in Act 1 of Die Walküre in a performance broadcast live on radio throughout the world in September 1993. In July 1994, he again appeared in concert with Carreras, Pavarotti, and Zubin Mehta in Los Angeles, which spectacle was telecast live to the world. In 1994 he was named principal guest conductor of the Los Angeles Opera. In 1996 he assumed the position of artistic director of the Washington (D.C.) Opera.

One of the best-known lyric tenors of his era, Plácido Domingo has gained international renown for his portrayals of such roles as Cavaradossi, Des Grieux, Radames, Don Carlo, Otello, Don Jose, Hoffmann, Canio, and Samson.

He published an autobiography, Plácido Domingo: My First Forty Years (New York, 1983).

Category:general -- posted at: 2:06pm EDT

Joseph Calleja and Tatiana Lisnic Concert

 Joseph Calleja and Tatiana Lisnic sing a concert in Regensburg, 2004 under conductor Alex Kober               (65 min.)

Direct download: Calleja_Regens..mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 8:02pm EDT

Reminder for you!

    Reminder: Especially our new members, that since we had to remove the "Comments' section from this site, since I was getting tons of unwanted ads, you need to write me at if you have any comments or suggestions.

        Also, I invite young artists to make private requests for special podcasts that might help you with your repertory. For example, when I did a "Handelmanian Master Class' for Dolora Zajick's students, I did make some podcasts for some of them according to what they were studying.(e.g. 10 Vissi d'artes,etc.). So feel free to make such a request.

          In addition, if I say something mean about one of your favorite singers, I will not be offended, since I have done that for years!

Category:general -- posted at: 6:03pm EDT

The WORLD of Opera

    When I look at the statistics on this site, I am absolutely delighted at the incredible interest in opera all over the globe. From Albania to Zanzibar,etc...and maybe because of my teaching Romance Languages, I got a special thrill out of the fact that Venezuela ranks numero SEIS!!!!.

          I also want you to read the interesting Wikipidia site (on the blog) that lists various opera singers from many countries in the history of opera.

     By the way,since we have now so many stars from Latin-America, I did make a list of them, but whatever country you are from (even Brooklyn), you can find some of your fellow countrymen who made it BIG!

                           Love to you all,


(Why did the Wikipedia site come out twice?????????)

Category:general -- posted at: 5:39pm EDT

Don Carlo La Scala 1977, Part Two

Here is part two of this superb La Scala Don Carlo.  Enjoy!!!!   (70 min.).

What a fabulous cast!!!!

Direct download: Don_Carlo_Scala-2.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 4:27pm EDT

Don Carlo from 1977 La Scala Part One

What a cast!!! This is part one of the five act version of Don Carlo from La Scala, 1977, under Claudio Abbado. The stellar cast features Jose Carreras, Mirella Freni, Elena Obratsova, Piero Cappuccilli, Nicolai Ghiaurov, and Evgenyi Nesterenko (Inquisitor)      ( 66 min.)

Direct download: Don_Carlo_Scala-1.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 2:57pm EDT

An Exciting Samson et Delilah

From 1964,am under Jean Fournet, I bring you highlights from Samson et Delilah with Oralia Dominguez (should be more appreciated), Jon Vickers, and Ernest Blanc. (69 min.)

  (I wonder if Hedy Lamarr and Victor Mature could sing!!)

Direct download: Samson_Dominguez..mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 4:02pm EDT


  Compilation of various Confrontation Scenes from Maria Stuarda of Donizetti.I know you will enjoy the various sopranos/mezzos in this act one finale. The pairs (in order) are:

Carmela Remigio/Sona Ganassi   Janet Baker/Pauline Tinsley (In English,in mezzo key),

Giusy Devinu/Enkelejada Shkosa     Monserrat Caballe/ Shirley Verret

Edita Gruberova/ Carmen Oprisanu     Ruth Ann Swenson/ Lauren Flanigan

Leyla Gencer/ Shirley Verret                 Beverly Sills/ Marisa Galvany

                                         (64 exciting minutes)

Direct download: Stuarda_Confron..mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 5:36pm EDT

Early Studio Recordings of Franco Corelli

Here are the earliest reordings (1956-1959) by Franco Corelli.They originally were on the Cetra label. The arias are from:

I Lombardi, Otello, Tosca, Turandot, Cavalleria, Fedora,Mme.Butterfly, Adriana Lecouvreur, Fanciulla, Andrea Chenier,  Lodoletta, Mefistofele, Pagliacci, and Werther.  (66 min.)

  How we miss him!!!!!!!!

Direct download: Corelli_Early.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 3:27pm EDT

Un Ballo in Maschera from Scala, 1956

What a great cast (except Oscar) in this La Scala 1956 Ballo under Gianandrea Gavazzeni.It features Antonietta Stella, Giuseppe Di Stefano, Ebe Stignani, Ettore Bastianini, Eugenia Ratti, Silvio Maionica (Sam), and Nicola Zaccaria (Tom.)    (68 glorious minutes)

Direct download: Ballo_Stignani.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 3:07pm EDT

The Magnificent Ailyn Perez

   I have a dear buddy who turns off any Violetta who can not show the kind of pure JOY that Mme.Perez exhibits. This is her Covent Garden debut, and i will post more (if she approves.) I met her before she became the wife of the equally endearing Steven Costello,but I only heard her today, and went NUTS./.Crabby Charlie...Listen to the way she sings just these lines on the order of Callas, Soviero, and one of her teachers, Virginia Zeani, for whom I played this part on the phone.

  Destined for STARDOM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! More later...   Charlie

Category:general -- posted at: 1:11pm EDT

La Sonnambula with Virginia Zeani

From Naples, 1959, under Francesco Molinari-Pradelli, here is a fine performance of Bellini's "La Sonnambula." It features Virginia Zeani, Nicola Rossi-Lemeni, and Nicola Monti (70 min.)

  The photo shows Virginia being honored last year in Bucarest.

HAPPY 2012!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Direct download: Zeani_Sonn..mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 4:05pm EDT


 January 4 is the birthday of a great artist, Mme.Grace Bumbry,pictured here as a former Kennedy Center Honoree. A happy birthday and all our love for a great career!!!!!

 You will find a lot of material on Youtube, so go there and enjoy her magnificent talent.

Category:general -- posted at: 3:17pm EDT

The Ballad of Baby Doe

Scenes from a truly beautiful opera, "The Ballad of Baby Doe" by Douglas Moore. The conductor is Emerson Buckley and this recording features Beverly Sills in one of her great roles.It also features Walter Cassell and Frances Bible. I know you will enjoy it.   (69 min.).

Direct download: Baby_Doe.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 7:28pm EDT

They cannot fire him!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

LOVE what he did the other night!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Category:general -- posted at: 11:36am EDT

Di Stefano's Scala Debut

Highlights from the La Scala debut of Giuseppe Di Stefano on March 15, 1947. The Manon is Mafalda Favero. Mario Boriello sings Lescaut and Bretigny is sung by Michele Mainardi. The conductor is Antonio Guarnieri. As a bonus, we have the 1951 St.Sulpice aria with Di Stefano.    (52 min.)

Direct download: Manon_Pippo_Debut.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 1:09am EDT


Here is a repeat of a few Slavic arias (from the CD) as sung by our wonderful Piotr Beczala, whose birthday is Dec.28. He has certainly endeared himself to audiences around the globe, and we look forward to his Met performances in Manon. He is also such a sweet, natural guy, and he has made us so happy to know him.

Direct download: Beczala_2011_Birthday.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 3:57pm EDT

Tristan und Isolde from 1950

The great Fritz Reiner conducts this 1950 Tristan und Isolde (exc.) with Helen Traubel, Ramon Vinay, Blanche Thebom, Paul Schoeffler, and Sven Nilsson.  ( 71 min.)

Direct download: Tristan_Met_1950.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 8:01pm EDT

Werther from Radio France

Highlights from a French Radio performance of Massenet's "Werther," under Jesus Etcheverry. The cast includes Albert Lance, Rita Gorr, Gabriel Bacquier, and Mady Mesple. (73 min.30 sec.)

Well, it is Christmas!!!!!!!!!!!!

Direct download: Werther_Gorr.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 7:33pm EDT

Love and Buon Natale from Magda

  The darling "miracle" of opera, Magda Olivero, who turns 102 in March, is so happy she is remembered, and wishes you all a wonderful Holiday Season. She still sounds as wonderful as always (and I get to practice my operatic Italian, not heard on earth since Dante.)

                                       Buon Natale a Tutti


Category:general -- posted at: 1:55pm EDT

La Boheme from Vienna 1963

Here is a "Christmas" opera. This is a beautiful La Boheme from Vienna,1963 under Herbert Von Karajan. It features Mirella Freni,Gianni Raimondi, Hilde Gueden, Rolando Panerai, Giuseppe Taddei (Schaunard), and Ivo Vinco.  (71 min.)


Direct download: Boheme_Kar..mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 10:48pm EDT

Die Frau Ohne Schatten from Vienna

From Vienna in 1943 under Karl Bohm (pictured), we present highlights (often badly abridged) from this great work. The cast features Torsten Ralf, Hilde Konetzni, Else Schulz(Dyer's Wife), Elizabeth Hoengen, and Josef Herrmann. ( 61 min.)


Direct download: Frau_Vien.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 9:47pm EDT

This was really awful!!!!

How could these  "blank" cartridges do this terrible thing?

I know Fabio recovered well since I saw him a few years ago....

By the way, where were these guys when we had BAUM??????

Category:general -- posted at: 9:34pm EDT

Liping Zhang

You all know I have seen tham ALL, but rarely in recent years have I been as moved as hearing Mme.Zhang as Mme.Butterfly today. For the supposedly jaded me (I saw Scotto, Tebaldi, Kirsten,De Los Angeles, Stella, Albanese)

One special element of her singing today was what I term an "authoritative" attack, or slightly "glottal" attack a la Diana Soviero, on certain phrases, making the line all the more important. Have a look at her on youtube and of course I just ordered the album you see in the photo.    

      Funny in life.....sometimes you never realize what you have heard in opera and what effect it can have, and I burst into tears at the end, not only at her performance, but thinking of the love I had for Renata Tebaldi, our beloved friend for many years.         Love from cry-baby Charlie

Category:general -- posted at: 4:51pm EDT

The Great Giulietta Simionato

Born on Dec.15, 1910 (almost made it to 100), the great Giulietta was one of the most amazing singers in opera history. Here are highlights from Cavalleria, Anna Bolena,  Aida, and Il Trovatore.

Except for the likes of dear Dolora Zajick, they do not make them like this anymore. (73 min.)

Direct download: Simionato_Birth.2011.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 4:20pm EDT

THE NEW LOOK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Mamma mia!!!I just found that they added a new look to my site "Mr.Friend of Opera."

There are zillions of hand-picked videos from yours truly!!!!!!! ( OPERA FIEND!!!!)

Category:general -- posted at: 9:49pm EDT

Season's Greetings to You All!!

 To all you lovable opera fans:

     All my best for a joyous Holiday Season.

      As ever    Charlie

Category:general -- posted at: 9:58pm EDT

An Exciting Tosca

 A Tosca from 1959 under Kurt Adler, here is a most exciting Tosca with Eleanor Steber, Carlo Bergonzi, George London, and Allessio de Paolis.   You will LOVE it!!! (71 min.)

Direct download: Tosca_Steber_2.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 9:53pm EDT

The Magnificent Tenor, Georges Thill

Thill was born on Dec. 14, 1897, and was one of the great tenors of all time.We present arias from Lohengrin, Lakme, Meistersinger, Les Huguenots, and Herodiade. (27 min.)

                        Mon DIEU!!! Quelle Voix!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Direct download: Thill_Birthday.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 5:45pm EDT

Rosanna Carteri as Mimi

On the Dec. 14 birthday (1930) of Rosanna Carteri, we hear scenes from her Cetra Soria recording of La Boheme, with Ferruccio Tagliavini,Giuseppe Taddei, and Cesare Siepi. The conductor is  Gabriele Santini. This is a perfect example of the most beautiful phrasing in the true Verismo style that Carteri exemplifies.   (37 min.)

Direct download: Carteri_Boheme.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 5:16pm EDT

Dear Tony Amato Passes Away

Anthony Amato, co-founder of the Amato Opera, died on Tuesday morning at the age of 91. The news was initially posted to Facebook this afternoon by former Amato employee and director of the Amore Opera, Nathan Hull.

For over six decades, the Amato Opera, formed by Amato and his wife Sally Bell Amato, was a fixture on the Bowery and in the East Village arts scene. After its inaugural production of The Barber of Seville in Our Lady of Pompeii Church on the corner of Bleecker and Carmine Streets in 1948, it had stints at the 92nd Street Y, the Fashion Institute of Technology, the Washington Irving High School, 159 Bleecker Street and the Town Hall. The company finally settled in a postage-stamp–sized building next to CBGB's in 1964, where it operated continually until it closed in 2009.

Against the posh spaces of City Center and Lincoln Center, the Amato Opera was a feisty diamond in the rough, making grand opera thrive in a theater that seated 107 and contained a mere 20-foot stage. Entrances and exits were often made by running around the building from lobby to stage door entrance and back again and costume changes were known to take place in the theater’s adjacent gas station. It was part of the draw of the company—you couldn’t help but feel a warm, tingly glee in the Momus scene of La bohème, sitting mere inches away from the bohemians, no

Category:general -- posted at: 4:08pm EDT

Birgit Nilsson in Denmark

Scenes from the Kongelige Theatre in Denmark (1969-1978) with Birgit Nilsson. Included are scene from Fidelio (w.Willy Hartman) from 1966, Tosca (w.Ragnar Ulfung from 1969 and w.Peter Lindroos from 1978-in third act duet). Finally,we present the final scenes from a Tristan und Isolde from 1973 with Helge Brilioth, Leif Roar(Kurvenal) Ulrik Cold, and Inger Paustian.

    As a bonus we present a live "In questa reggia"   (total 58 min.)

       WARNING: You may play this podcast ONLY if you live in a private house at least one mile from your neighbors.

Direct download: Nilsson_Denmark.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 2:36pm EDT

Die Fledermaus with Joan Sutherland

  Here are highlights from a 1973 San Francisco Die Fledermaus under Richard Bonynge. The cast features Joan Sutherland, Judith Blegen, Nolan Van Way (Eisenstein), Ragnar Ulfung,  and Huguette Tourangeau.

   I must make special mention of the wonderful baritone Bruce Yarnell as Dr.Falke. His tragic death in a plane crash shortly after this performance was a great loss to opera, and he had done extensive work on television and in a wonderful revival (which I attended) of Annie Get Your Gun with Ethel Merman. May we always bless the memory of this fine artist.    ( 70 min.)

Direct download: Fledermaus_Sutherland.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 1:19pm EDT

AIDA from 1929

The very first recording of opera I heard and still my favorite opera. This 1929 commercial recording under Carlo Sabajno with the Scala orchestra and chorus brings back so many fond memories.(Despite my having to lug all those 78 r.p.m. discs home from the library.)

     The cast features Dusolina Giannini,Aureliano Pertile, Irene Minghini-Cattaneo, Giovanni Inghilleri, and Luigi Manfrini (Ramfis.)    (72 min.)

   If not for this recording, I would have been a normal human being.

Direct download: Aida_1929.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 11:57pm EDT

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Category:general -- posted at: 9:33pm EDT

Shakeh Vartenissian,my friend

In 1954, we became acquainted with a lovely lady,soprano Shakeh Vartenissian. Unfortunately, the Met never gave her large roles (What else is new??) but she had a magnificent,velvety voice, not unlike her teacher, Rosa Ponselle. Shakeh would sing "D'amor sull'ali rosee" in my ear on the train, and we all had such great times with her. After a brief stint at the Met she went to Europe where she shone in operas like Aida,Macbeth,Ernani,etc.

          Go to Youtube and you will find her Donna Elvira arias and scenes from the Verdi Requiem. It was my pleasure today to speak with her aunt, and we recalled some of the beautful qualities she had, both as artist and friend. Shakeh was born in 1924 and we believe passed away around 2003. I still have a photo of her when we went to the beach. (The only singer I ever saw in a bathing suit, because Zinka just wouldn't try one on.)

    The trip down nostalgia lane was for me a happy and also sad one, but we do have our fond memories of this great artist and dear human being.

Category:general -- posted at: 11:59am EDT

Dorothy Kirsten sings popular music

Not many opera singers are successful in "crossover" material, but the famous American soprano, Dorothy Kirsten, was successful in being able to modulate her voice in such a way as to sound "pop" and so here are 15 selections from live radio shows with the likes of Al Jolson,Bing Crosby, and Frank Sinatra.   ( 43 min.)

Direct download: Kirsten_Pop.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 1:44am EDT

Attila from Rome, 1970

 I love this opera, my favorite of the early Verdi works. This is from Rome, 1970 under Riccardo Muti (Senza acuti.).It features Antonietta Stella, Ruggero Raimondi, Giangiacomo Guelfi, and Gianfranco Cecchele.   (72 min.)

Many thanks for all your enthusiasm!!!!!

Direct download: Attila_Stella.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 4:45pm EDT

Giovanni Martinelli as Canio

We present highlights from 2 performances of Pagliacci with the great Giovanni Martinelli as Canio. The first is from 1934 with Lawrence Tibbett,Queena Mario, and George Cehanovsky completing the cast, under Vincenzo Belleza. This is followed by highlights from a 1941 performance with Tibbett again, and Norina Greco and Frank Valentino in the cast, conducted by Ferruccio Calusio. I hope you will enjoy memories of this great tenor and all of the artists.  (66 min.)

Direct download: Pags_Martinelli.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 10:38pm EDT

Maria Callas, Born on Dec.2, 1923

 What more need we say about Maria Callas, born on Dec.2, 1923?  She may have left us early, but her stamp upon the world of music is indelible, and will remain so through the ages. Yes, we know of her vocal flaws, especially after 1957, but what she gave to opera made the lives of true opera aficionados so rich and rewarding. Bless her memory!

Category:general -- posted at: 9:53pm EDT

La Gioconda, Florence 1956

Highlights from a 1956 Florence Gioconda under E.Tieri. The cast includes Anita Cerquetti, Ebe Stignani, Ettore Bastianini, Gianni Poggi, and Giuseppe Modesti. The "Stella del Marinar" was not performed, but I gave it to you in another brief podcast.  (66 min.)

Direct download: Gioconda_Cerquetti2.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 6:37pm EDT

Stignani Stella del Marinar

Since they chose to cut Stignani's aria in Gioconda,in my latest podcast, here it is from another perf.

Category:general -- posted at: 12:14am EDT

Rest in Peace, Sena Jurinac,wonderful soprano

Opera singer Sena Jurinac, one of the most celebrated sopranos of the post-war period, has died aged 90.

Born in Travnik in Bosnia in October 1921, the Austrian star studied in Zagreb, and made her debut there 1942 as Mimi in La Boheme.

She made very few recordings across her career, although the BBC recently issued a CD of her 1961 Proms show.

The Vienna State Opera, of which she was an honorary member, confirmed the singer had died in southern Germany.

In a statement, it said it was mourning the loss of a "legendary artist who shaped not only the Vienna State Opera but also the entire opera world".

Jurinac first sang for the company in 1944, playing Cherubino in The Marriage Of Figaro, and remained a member until 1983, when she made her farewell as Marschallin in Der Rosenkavalier.

She appeared at the Salzburg Festival in 1947, and soon after made her London debut, singing Dorabella at Covent Garden.

Jurinac went on to become a favourite at Glyndebourne, and was renowned for her interpretation of Mozart.

Scholar Peter Branscombe described her voice as "beautifully pure, rich and even throughout its range".

Austrian news agency APA reported that Jurinac died Tuesday at her home near Augsburg.

From other news sites

Category:general -- posted at: 12:19am EDT

Eugen Onegin Letter Scene

A comparison of five Eugen Onegin Letter Scenes:

   Sena Jurinac (Rest in Peace), Makvala Kasrashvili, Margaret Price, Theresa Zylis-Gara, and Gallina Vishnevskaya.     (65 min.)

Mme.Vishnevskaya is in the photo

Direct download: Onegin_Letter.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 1:40am EDT


Hi all,

           Not everyone in the universe celebrates Thanksgiving as we do in the U.S.A. However, it really does not matter, because we all have a lot to be thankful for, and we must also think of those who may have less than we do, and reach out to them always.  I wish you all a very happy Thanksgiving, and all my sincere thanks for your support.

             Hey, when we get to a million downloads, I will have to think of a special podcast.  Maybe Justin Bieber singing the Winterreise????

 My best,


Category:general -- posted at: 8:20pm EDT


A compilation of material as sung by the magnificent Robert Weede. Included are his Verdi album,scenes from Most Happy Fella, Milk and Honey, and A Cry for Us All.In addition, from a 1951 radio broadcast, he sings Gounod's "Nazareth." 


Direct download: Weede.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 8:09pm EDT

Opera Lovers in China

  We have now about 954,000 downloads over 6 years. The U.S. leads with 211,322 and the SECOND country, with 24, 853 is China. Of course the podcasts seem to go all over the world, but I just wanted to congratulate the opera lovers in China for being number 2...not in any way forgetting the rest of the world.

          By the way, I was most surprised to see some downloads from Mars. I wonder if their sopranos used chest voice.

Category:general -- posted at: 1:19am EDT


  A fine performance (in Italian) of Tchaikowsky's Eugen Onegin from RAI Milano 1953 under Nino Sanzogno. The cast features Giuseppe Taddei, Cesare Valletti, Rosanna Carteri, Eugenia Zareska, and Rafael Arie.   (68 min.)

Direct download: Onegin_Taddei.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 9:58pm EDT


Here is part two of the 1961 Forza del Destino (51 min.)

Direct download: Forza_Farrell_pt.2.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 8:04pm EDT


Part one of an abridged Forza del Destino from 1961 under George Schick. The brilliant cast features Eileen Farrell, Richard Tucker, Robert Merrill, Jerome Hines, and Fernando Corena.  (63 min.)

Direct download: Forza_Farrell_pt.1.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 7:24pm EDT

   A HOT Cavalleria Rusticana

You want excitement?  Here is a blazing hot Cavalleria from 1970(?) with a cast that includes Fiorenza Cossotto,Carlo Bergonzi,Anselmo Colzani,Jean Kraft (Lucia), and Nedda Casei. Christopher Keene conducts. (52 min.)

Direct download: Cav_Cossotto.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 9:41pm EDT

Beverly Sills Only Aida

Here is an interesting oddity,as the 26 year old Beverly Sills sings her only Aida. Walter Schroeder is the conductor of this concert version of scenes in Paterson,New Jersey in 1955. Our dear late Irene Kramarich is the Amneris, with Vincent Donato as Radames, and Victor Mincielli as Amonasro. I think you will enjoy this historica treasure.   (68 min.)

Direct download: Aida_Sills.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 8:35pm EDT

Mignon from Mexico, 1949

Highlights from a fine performance of Thomas' Mignon from Mexico, 1949, under Guido Picco. Sadly, the three principles passed away fairly recently, and we honor their memory. The cast features Giulietta Simionato, Giuseppe Di Stefano, Cesare Siepi, and Verdad Luz Guajardo.   (70 min.)

Direct download: Mignon_Sim..mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 1:03am EDT


This is a great performance of Boito's Mefistofele. The 1931 recording,under Lorenzo Molajoli,features Mafalda Favero,Nazzareno de Angelis, Antonio Melandri, Giannina Arangi-Lombardi, and Ida Mannarini. This is true verismo singing.   (71 min.)

Direct download: Mefist.Favero.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 7:35pm EDT

Nabucco from La Scala, 1966

Highlights from a most exciting Nabucco from La Scala, 1966, under Gianandrea Gavazzeni.The cast includes Giangiacomo Guelfi, Elena Suliotis, Nicolai Ghiaurov, Gianni Raimondi, and Gloria Lane.  Added is a bonus of the fabulous high E flat Maria Callas hits in her 1949 Naples Nabucco, with Gino Bechi.  (72 min.)

Direct download: Nabucco_Suliotis.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 3:15pm EDT

Ta'u and Samantha

   In  the past I have mentioned my friend, tenor Ta'u Pupu'a and have spoken of how we met at our Rigoletto several years ago, and I could not believe he had never sung an opera before. After a few years, having now graduated from Juilliard, he is surely destined for a wonderful professional career (following a professional career as a pro football do not mess with him!!).
      Last evening at the Good Shepherd-Faith Church on 66th Streeet (down from a theatre where I hope he will some day debut),he and a lovely soprano, Samantha Jeffreys, sang a recital, and it was one of the most exciting events I have had the pleasure of attending. Ms.Jeffreys has a very large and resonant lyric voice, almost too powerful for a church setting. She is so musical, and was able to excell in both popular and opera material. I noted a cute touch during the Mimi aria,when she got to "ma prego assai il signor," and made the sign of the cross.This shows she knows what is going on! It is hard to scale a large voice down in an acoustical live setting, and I hope in the future she  can lighten up somewhat in some of the material( e.g. the "Sombre Foret" from William Tell), but you know they call me "Picky Charlie."
        Ta'u was amazing! His first selections, "Tu che non chiagne" and "Non ti scordar di me' were in some parts of the middle and upper middle voice almost "Wagnerian" in tone, and he places every note so beautifully, with a brilliant easy top range.(Well,he has done Bacchus in Ariadne). He also has the ability to shine in popular music and sang so romantically  songs from Romberg's New Moon, and with Mme.Jeffreys, some West Side Story selections. He also did a "Corelli" by holding the high B flat at the end of the "Recondita Armonia' a couple of seconds longer, his big brilliant voice roused the audience to many bravoes.
           Ta'u  sang,as an encore, a beautiful song from his native Tonga, and the two ended with "You'll never walk alone." This was a divine evening, and we all hope for many future successes for these young artists.
           Since I am also the President of his non-existant fan club and his totally unpaid agent, I always feel such joy that I "discovered'' a guy who asked me if the Duke in Rigoletto was HARD??? Yup!!!!
             Love and best wishes to these marvelous young artists!


Category:general -- posted at: 5:24pm EDT

Don Carlo with Nicola Rossi-Lemeni

In tribute to the late Nicola Rossi-Lemeni, born Nov.6, 1920 and the husband of dear Virginia Zeani, I present highlights from the 1951 Cetra Don Carlo under Fernando Previtali. The other artists are Ebe Stignani, Maria Caniglia, Mirto Picchi, Paolo Silveri, and Giulio Neri  (72 min.)

Direct download: Don_C.Cetra.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 1:18am EDT


The second of two podcasts with scenes from the Covent Garden Boris of 1958 under Rafael Kubelik. The great Regina Resnik is the Marina, with Josef Gostic as Dmitri and Otakar Kraus as Rangoni.   ( 45 min.)

Direct download: Resnik_Marina.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 2:49pm EDT

Boris as Boris

 The first of two podcasts of scenes from Boris Godunov, Covent Garden, 1958 under Rafael Kubelik. Boris Christoff appears in the Clock Scene and the final scene,with John Lanigan as Shuisky and Joseph Rouleau as Pimen.  ( 42 min.)

Direct download: Christoff_Boris.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 2:20pm EDT

Happy Birthday in Honor of Victoria de los Angeles

A birthday tribute to one of the greatest singers in opera history. Victoria de los Angeles was born on Nov.1, 1923. I present a selection of arias from Martha, Traviata, Carmen, Manon, Faust, La Serva Padrona, Le Nozze di Figaro, plus Ravel's Sheherezade and two songs.  (72 min.)

   Bless the memory of this artist who defined the word "lovable" to millions of opera lovers.

Direct download: DeLos.2011.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 9:39pm EDT

Happy Birthday to Jon Vickers

 The famous tenor,Jon Vickers, turns 85 on Oct.29. Here are some scenes from Walkure,Parsifal, and Peter Grimes, plus a little "bonus" to celebrate his great career  (60 min.)

Direct download: Vickers_Birth..mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 1:54pm EDT

Birgit Nilsson in Elektras

Scenes from Elektra featuring the remarkable Birgit Nilsson. We begin with her very first Elektra on May 14, 1965 under Berislav Klobucar, from Stockholm. In the cast are Berit Lindholm and Barbro Ericson.  This is followed by a performance from 1966 under Thomas Schippers with Leonie Rysanek, and finally the last opera she ever did-also Elektra, from1982 in Frankfurt,under Ralf Weikert.  (73 min.)

   Let us celebrate the career of a "miracle" in the world of opera.

Direct download: Nilsson_Elektras.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 10:25am EDT

The Wonderful Alain Vanzo

A compilation of material as sung by the superb French tenor, Alain Vanzo  (announced)     (60 min.)

Direct download: Vanzo.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 12:12pm EDT

Katharine is GOLD!

Katharine Goeldner sang her first Met Jayne Seymour in Anna Bolena last Friday. This is a magnificent voice and a consummate musician and artist. If you go to Youtube, you will hear a Waltraute scene to DIE FOR!!!

 I finally saw a show where everyone was superb,and you know what a crab-apple I am!!    Charlie

Category:general -- posted at: 5:46pm EDT

Angela Meade

 GO to the Youtube page of soprano Angela Meade!! Her first Anna Bolena on Friday was stunning....The voice is big and rich, with an easy top...but the astounding thing for this Milanov lover was that she has pppppianissimi from HEAVEN!!!  She received HUGE ovations, and I say that she will be our newest diva star!!!     

 Hey Charlie...Tell us what you think!

Category:general -- posted at: 5:39pm EDT

Carlo Bergonzi's Return to New York in 1999

The 75 year old Carlo Bergonzi returns to New York in 1999. This recital is one that exemplifies his incredible artistry, his joy in the phrasing of songs and arias,and in total, he has remained one of the icons in opera history.  (68 min.)

Direct download: Bergonzi_1999.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 7:59pm EDT


Happy birthday to my darling Virginia Zeani,one of the greatest divas in opera history. (No fooling.). In this tribute we present arias from Mefistofele, Turandot, Adriana Lecouvreur,Traviata, Lucia, Don Carlo, Maria di Rohan, Thais, Zelmira, La Boheme, and the Elisir duet with Nicola Rossi-Lemeni, her beloved husband.   (72 min.)

Direct download: Zeani_2011.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 3:54pm EDT

Camilla Williams

   Camilla Williams, now 92, was my first Butterfly when I was about 16. Virginia Zeani's birthday is Oct.21,(tribute coming later) and she told me they were friends from Bloomington,Indiana, where they both taught. Williams had called her on her birthday, and I was so happy to remember her.I called her and told her I would do a little podcast for her. What a sweetheart;so sad that prejudice did not allow her and other Afro-American artists to appear at the Met for so long. I know you will enjoy this and go to Youtube for some of her material.   (14 min.)

Direct download: Williams_Bess.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 1:54pm EDT

Diana Soviero In Traviata

A wonderful Traviata from 1990 under Rico Saccani featuring Diana Soviero, the dear late Jerry Hadley, and Brian Schexnayder..(72 min.)

Diana and I go back 35 years.Remember,I do not love her because I know her. Many of us love singers onstage FIRST, and in some cases we get to know them (and are even MORE critical.)

Direct download: Soviero_Traviata.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 2:16pm EDT

Ernani from Florence, 1957

An abridged Ernani from Florence, 1957, under Dimitri Mitropolous. The exciting cast includes Mario Del Monaco,Anita Cerquetti, Ettore Bastianini, and Boris Christoff.   (70 min.)

Direct download: Ernani_Cerquetti.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

Mefistofele with Norman Treigle

An abridged performance of Boito's Mefistofele, featuring Norman Treigle, one of the greatest singing actors in opera history. Julius Rudel conducts this 1970 performance which features also Gilda Cruz-Romo  and Robert Nagy. I heartily recommend the book as pictured in the photo. (68 min.)

Direct download: Mef.Treigle.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 1:03pm EDT

How can I thank you enough???

  Hi all,

     As of this moment there have been 938,450 hits on this site over 5 plus years. I wish to thank you all,in all corners of the planet, for your support. I hope some of you (or maybe ALL) have become better acquainted with the great treasures that the vocal art affords to us mortals.

                                           My best,


P.S. For those of you who never learned Italian from opera (like me), the photo reads:  "A simple word that comes from the depths of my heart."

Category:general -- posted at: 1:40am EDT

Marisa Galvany as Salome

An abridged performance of Salome from Cincinatti, 1982 under Christopher Keene. Marisa Galvany(who else?) is the Salome, with William Justus,Ticho Parley, Rosalind Elias, and Michael Talley             (68 minutes)

             Please be aware of the fact that the lady in the photo is NOT Marisa Galvany.

Direct download: Galvany_Salome.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 3:06pm EDT

In Memory of Luciano

 Despite some of the extra-hype, how could we deny the incredible voice of Luciano Pavarotti, born Oct.12, 1935...We lost him all too soon.

       When he sang, "Nessun dorma."   Bless his memory!

Category:general -- posted at: 12:50pm EDT

La Dama Di Picche

A Queen of Spades performance in Italian from Florence in 1952.The conductor is Arthur Rodzinsky and the cast includes David Poleri, Sena Jurinac, Ettore Bastianini, and Gianna Pederzini. (67 min.)

Direct download: P.Dame_Poleri.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 12:08pm EDT

Birthday Tribute to Leyla Gencer, 2011

   A special birthday tribute (Oct.10) to the great soprano Leyla Gencer. Included are scenes from Anna Bolena, Saffo (Pacini), and Roberto Devereux. I have always considered her one of the most interesting and versatile artists.  (67 min.)  (Photo is from 1972 when I was young.)

Direct download: Gencer_Birth.2011.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 2:35pm EDT

A Sample of Rene Pape's New Wagner CD

   A brief scene from Act Three of Parsifal (with Placido Domingo), sung by the great basso Rene Pape. I thought you might like to hear a sample of his superb new Wagner CD.

Direct download: Pape_CD.jpeg
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 12:08am EDT

Lucia from La Scala 1954

Highlights from a brilliant 1954 Scala Lucia under Herbert Von Karajan. The incredible Maria Callas is in great voice, and Giuseppe Di Stefano, Rolando Panerai, and Giuseppe Modesti complete the cast  (72 min.)

Direct download: Lucia_Callas_1954.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 11:25pm EDT

Aida on Cetra

Highlights from the exciting Cetra Soria Aida, recorded in the studio in 1951.The conductor is Vittorio Gui, and the cast features Caterina Mancini, Giulietta Simionato, Mario Filippeschi,Rolando Panerai, and Giulio Neri   (71 min.)

Direct download: Aida_Cetra.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 8:01pm EDT

Don Pasquale 1940

Highlights from a fine performance of Don Pasquale from 1940 under Gennaro Papi. The cast includes Salvatore Baccaloni,Bidu Sayao, Nino Martini, and Frank Valentino  (73 min.)

Direct download: Don_P.Baccaloni.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 1:04pm EDT

Eugene Onegin with Dmitri!!

Highlights from a fine performance of Eugene Onegin under Valery Gergiev from 2007. The cast includes Dmitri Hvorostovsky, Renee Fleming, Ramon Vargas Sergei Aleksashkin, and Elena Zaremba (68 min.)

Direct download: Onegin_hv.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 7:59pm EDT


20 tenors sing the beautiful Tosca aria, "Recondita Armonia." In order,they are:

Giacomo Aragall, Carlo Bergonzi, Jose Carreras, Renato Cioni, Franco Corelli, Jose Cura, Giuseppe Di Stefano, Placido Domingo, Giuseppe Gismondo, Hans Hopf, Luciano Pavarotti, Neil Shicoff, Richard Tucker, Eugenio Fernandi, Ferruccio Tagliavini, Mario Filippeschi, Franco Tagliavini, Giuseppe Giacomini, Helge Roswaenge, and David Poleri. (60 min.)

Almost all are from live performances.

PLEASE NOTE: Those of you who have "Apple TV" can hear all these podcasts in excellent sound, and of course Apple TV allows you to watch Youtube on your TV as well. If you are not acquainted with it, you might investigate.

Direct download: Recondita.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 12:17pm EDT

Should we re-name this opera "Mario"?

Not to neglect the excellent Virginia Gordoni and Attilio D'Orazi but Franco Corelli, despite his being provincial,self-indulgent,unmusical,hammy, and some other words that I cannot express in mixed company, he is WILD!! The Parma 1967 audience goes ballistic, making him sing "Core'ngrato" as an encore. The conductor is Giuseppe Morelli (Not Muti?????).  Get your stopwatches out!  (71 minutes)

Direct download: Parma_Tosca.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 2:36pm EDT

Songs by Edvard Grieg

A collection of songs by Edvard Grieg.(Announced).The soloists include: Kirsten Flagstad, Birgit Nilsson, Ernestine Schumann-Heink, Lucy Isabelle Marsh, Povla Frijsh, Lauritz Melchior,Jussi Bjoerling, Helen Traubel, and Richard Crooks.(67 min.)

Direct download: Grieg.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 8:43am EDT


A compilation of arias as sung by 14 famous sopranos of the past.Included are:

Frida Leider, Elizabeth Rethberg, Lotte Lehmann, Tina Lemnitz,Maria  Cebotari, Maria Reining, Pia Tassinari, Eileen Farrell, Eleanor Steber, Hilde Gueden, Lisa della Casa, Astrid Varnay, Gre Brouwenstijn, and Sena Jurinac.    (60 min.)

Direct download: Gr.Sop.vol.2.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 1:12pm EDT


Scenes from Meyerbeer's "Les Huguenots," featuring Nicolai Ghiaurov, Tancredi Pasero, Nicolai Gedda, Sergei Lemeshev, Herman Jadlowker, Lili Lehmann, Joan Sutherland, Rita Shane, Marcel Wittrisch, Margarete Teschemacher, Marisa Galvany, Enrico di Giuseppe, Maria Llacer, John O'Sullivan, Franco Corelli, and Giulietta Simionato.  (71 min.)

Direct download: Huguenots_Misc..mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 10:48am EDT

More Great Music

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