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


    Maria Callas left us on Sept.16, 1977 at only 53,but her legacy remains as one of the most stupendous examples of vocal and histrionic artistry in music history. The voice may not have held up for a very long time, but in the great years, she made an indelible impression in the music world. Here we present arias from Norma, Macbeth, Nabucco, Seraglio, Tristan und Isolde, plus the Proch Variations and the legendary finale of Act Two Aida.   (55 min.)

      May she never be forgotten!     R.I.P.

Direct download: Callas_Mem.2011.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 1:22am EDT

La Gioconda with Tebaldi,Tucker,MacNeil

 A truly brilliant Gioconda from 1967 under Fausto Cleva, featuring Renata Tebaldi, Richard Tucker, Rosalind Elias, Cornell MacNeil, Bonaldo Giaiotti, and Belen Amparan.

   You wanna hear some chest voice?????? (68 min.)

  I do not know which "New" the poodle is.She had several, named after "New York." That is fitting, since she was the toast of the town.

Direct download: Gioconda_Teb..mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 12:54am EDT

La Favorita w.Luciano

 Highlights from a Scala 1974 Favorita under Nino Verchi, with Luciano Pavarotti, Fiorenza Cossotto, Piero Cappuccilli, and Ivo Vinco.   (65 min.)

Direct download: FavPodcast.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 7:48pm EDT

Virginia Zeani's Met Debut

Here are highlights from dear Virginia Zeani's Met Traviata debut in 1966, under Georges Pretre,with Bruno Prevedi and Robert Merrill in the cast. I hope you enjoy one of her total of  648 Violettas.

                                                         (71 min.)

Direct download: Zeani_Met_Traviata.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 2:19am EDT


Highlights from Massenet's rarely heard "Herodiade," featuring Montserrat Caballe, Jose Carreras, Juan Pons, and Dunja Vejzovic. This is from Barcelona in 1984, under the direction of Jacques Delacote.   (67 min.)

Direct download: Herodiade.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 11:23pm EDT


An exciting live studio performance of the rarely heard Donizetti opera, "Marin Faliero." The cast includes Cesare Siepi, Marisa Galvany, Licinio Montefusco, and Giuliano Cianella, conducted by Elio Boncompagni, with the Orchestra and Chorus of RAI Turino.  (72 min.)

Direct download: Marin_Faliero.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:22pm EDT

Plot of Marin Faliero

Since this opera is so rarely done, here is the plot, and the podcast will follow.

Elena, the wife of Marin Faliero, Doge of Venice, is continually subjected to attacks on her reputation by the patrician Steno whose advances she has rejected. Steno then insults Israele Bertucci, the chief of the Venetian Arsenal in front of his workers. Steno is punished for these offenses, but Faliero is infuriated by the leniency of the punishment. Israele convinces Faliero to join a conspiracy against the Council of Forty, of which Steno is a member.

Meanwhile, Elena is in love with Faliero's friend Fernando, who wants to leave the city to save her from dishonour. During a masked ball, Fernando challenges Steno to a duel for having insulted Elena once again. When Fernando is found dying in the place where the conspirators were to meet, Faliero vows to avenge his death.

The conspiracy collapses following a betrayal by one of its members and the Doge is condemned to death. Before his execution, Elena confesses her love affair with Fernando to him. Faliero begins to curse her, but sensing that his death is imminent, pardons her instead. Faliero is led off. Alone on the stage, Elena hears the sound of the executioner's axe, screams and faints.[2]

Category:general -- posted at: 8:33pm EDT

In Loving Memory of the Late Salvatore Licitra

  This week the Opera World lost,at only 43, a wonderful tenor, Salvatore Licitra, who died as a result of an accident with his motorscooter. I present some arias as a tribute to him and hope you will enjoy them,while thinking of how much he did give of himself to opera.   (14 min.)

Direct download: Licitra_mem..mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 7:55pm EDT

Birthday tribute to  Daniele Barioni, Sept.6

  Another tribute (but longer than the 2007 tribute) to one of my favorite tenors, Daniele Barioni, one of my all-time favorite tenors.   (56 min.)

Direct download: Barioni.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 3:32pm EDT

A Julia Varady Birthday Tribute

One of the most versatile artists,who was heard far too little in this country, is Julia Varady, Born on Sept.1, 1941. She is heard in material from Macbeth,Nabucco,Forza del Destino,Traviata,La Rondine, Tosca, Manon Lescaut, Mme.Butterfly, Pique  Dame, Yolantha, Ariadne, Arabella (with husband Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, and Traume from Wagner's Wesendonck Songs.  (72 min.)

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


    My sincerest best wishes to my dear friend Regina Resnik,celebrating her birthday on Aug.30. I present scenes from her Bayreuth 1953 Sieglinde with Ramon Vinay and Hans Hotter, under Clemens Kraus and her 1961 Bayreuth Fricka with Jerome Hines under Rudolf Kempe.

    Not only did Regina have an illustrious career as both soprano and mezzo, but she has been a veritable ICON in the music world as director,producer,filmmaker,coach and teacher. I know you will join me in wishing her a very happy birthday and i know you will enjoy the selections. (64 min.)


Direct download: Resnik_Birthday_2011.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 12:03pm EDT

Elektra with Daniza Mastilovic

A most riveting performance of Elektra from 1978 under Erich Leinsdorf. Featured are Daniza Mastilovic, Eva Marton, Norman Bailey, Ragnar Ulfung, and my dear late friend Gwynne Cornell as Klytemnestra. Those of us who knew and sang with Gwynne miss her so much.She had succumbed to Leukemia at 50, a tragic loss to the opera world.     (72 min.)

(In the photo she is seen in Elektra with Claire Watson)

Direct download: Mastil.Elek..mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 1:29pm EDT

Domingo and Lorengar in Zarzuelas

Pilar Lorengar and Placido Domingo sing Zarzuela Excerpts, from a 1985 Salzburg Concert under Garcia Navarro.   (Selections announced.)   (48 min.)

Direct download: Dom-Lor.Zarz..mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 3:38pm EDT


 A very happy birthday (Aug.25), to my friend and superb artist, Ta'u Pupu'a, who is fast becoming one of our finest tenors,with upcoming engagements in several countries, and a San Francisco Opera debut. When he opened his mouth on "Questa o quella' about 5 years ago, I said, "WOW!" Then he said, "Is the Duke hard??? I never sang an opera before!!!"   So,from football to opera...he is making it BIG!!!!

Category:general -- posted at: 12:03pm EDT


 An exciting compilation of arias as sung by many famous Russian artists. Although I have announced them, I wish to list them in order of vocal appearance on this podcast.They are:

Pavel Lisitsian, Ivan Petrov, Galina Vishnevskaya, Zurab Andzhaparidze (say it 5 times), Vladimir Atlantov, Irina Arkhipova, Elena Obratsova, Alexander Pirogov, Georgi Nelepp, Mark Reizen, Sergei Lemeshev, Ivan Koslovsky, Antonina Nezhdanova, Grigori Pirogov, and Leonid Sobinov. (68 min.)

Direct download: Bolshoi.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 1:39pm EDT

Anna, Jonas, and Erwin

On Aug.6, 2011, there was a concert in Vienna featuring Mr.and Mrs.Schrott (Anna Netrebko and Erwin Schrott), and Jonas Kaufmann, conducted by Marco Armiliato. Let me tell you it is GORGEOUS, and I know you will appreciate it!!!!    (67 min.)

Direct download: Net-Schr-Kauf.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 12:16pm EDT


You know that at times I "discover' a new voice. Here is the Youtube link to a marvelous soprano, Alexandra Lo Bianco. She is marvelous and hope she has a great future!! We NEED sopranos like her!!

Category:general -- posted at: 12:40pm EDT


Highlights from an exciting performance of Macbeth from Vienna 1970 under Karl Boehm.The cast includes Sherrill Milnes, Christa Ludwig, Karl Ridderbusch, and Carlos Cossutta.

   Note that the opera concludes with the death of Macbeth and this version does not conclude with the chorus as usually it does. (73 min.)

Direct download: Macbeth_Ludwig.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 11:06pm EDT


In 1966, Placido Domingo sang with the Met, but not yet in the house (that was in Adriana in 1968).He sang in Cav/Pag at the well-known (no longer existing) Lewissohn Stadium in New York,where we opera lovers used to enjoy "Music under the stars." I think you will enjoy this.   

(30 min.)

Direct download: Cav.Lewiss..mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 6:20pm EDT

Mefistofele with Sam Ramey

Highlights from a brilliant performance of Boito's "Mefistofele" from Houston, 1992 under John DeMain. Featured are two superb singers whom I have known for so many years, Sam Ramey and Diana Soviero. Also the role of Faust is sung by Franco Farina, and Elena is sung by Elizabeth Holleque. I know you will love this one!!   (73 min.)

Direct download: Mefist.Ramey.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 3:08pm EDT

La Fanciulla del West w.Kirsten and Corelli

A superb Fanciulla from 1964 with Dorothy Kirsten, Franco Corelli, and Anselmo Colzani. The late Paul Franke is Nick, and Clifford Harvuot as Sonora sings that gorgeous line at the end (makes me cry every time). The conductor might be Anton Guadagno, but I am not sure  (73 min.)

Direct download: Fanc.Kirsten.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 12:21pm EDT


   I had not intended to send you so many oddities, but at first I thought part one was defective;then I found it was alright so I gave you another one anyway. I hope it is not too much, but I do think it is lots of fun; it is not all craziness since there are some exciting and interesting "legitimate' selections. Enjoy!!  (65 min.)

Direct download: dumb.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 9:51pm EDT


   Another group of unusual and often bizarre scenes from mostly opera and I hope you enjoy them (if you are as nutty as I am.)I announce each one.     (69 min.)

Donald Collup's page,where you can purchase some wonderful oddity cd's is at:

Direct download: oddities_-1.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 7:08pm EDT

Delilah will get you!!!!

A compilation of various Act 2 finales of "Samson et Dalilah." Featured are:

Ewa Podles and Tomasz Madej, Giulietta Simionato and Jon Vickers, Olga Borodina and Carl Tanner, Rita Gorr and Mario del Monaco, and Rise Stevens and Ramon Vinay  (66 min.)

Direct download: Delilahs_act_2.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 4:45pm EDT


 Highlights from Wagner's Siegfried from a live 1955 performance in Bayreuth from 1955 under Joseph Keilberth.The cast includes Wolfgang Windgassen, Astrid Varnay, Hans Hotter, Josef Greindl, and Paul Kuen.  (68 min.)

Direct download: Siegfried_1955.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 4:54pm EDT

Luciano Pavarotti in Concert

 From 1973, most of  a recital given in New York by the celebrated tenor legend, Luciano Pavarotti. The selections are announced. May the great man rest in peace.  (64 min.)

Direct download: Pavarotti_1973.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 12:30am EDT


That devil of a guy, Sam Ramey, in arias from operas that deal with the devil (or with mean dudes): Faust,Damnation of Faust,Robert Le Diable, Rake's Progress, Tales of Hoffmann, Mefistofele, and I threw in Susannah as well. (50 min.)

Direct download: Ramey_Devil.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 8:50pm EDT

More Great Music

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