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


More Great Music

December 2011
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