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 site...so 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 Placido21@aol.com

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 Placido21@aol.com 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


More Great Music

January 2012
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