I am sure that wherever you reside, you have experienced tragedies owing to Mother Nature, as we have this week on the Eastern Seaboard, owing to Sandy, a devastating example of what weather patterns can cause.

    I wish to express my sincere best wishes for anyone in my area, or in any land where you have suffered such tragedies. This is not the time to "Esultate" after a storm, but to reflect on how people must work with each other and come together, even in the face of such devastation.

    How unimportant our "trivial pursuits" appear, in the face of real tragedy, and I hope we will all pull together whenever we face such a heartbreaking situation, no matter where we live.

   Sincerely,   Charlie

Category:general -- posted at: 3:46pm EDT


From RAI Turino, 1951, under Arturo Basile, we present Cilea's "L'Arlesiana," with Ferruccio Tagliavini, Pia Tassinari (his wife), Paolo Silveri, Gianna Galli, and Loretta de Lelio (Mrs.Franco Corelli.)  (68 min.)

P.S. My brilliant (??) intro.did not come out, but the cast speaks for itself, so you can be spared my voice at least once.

Direct download: LArlesiana_pod.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

 Born October 29, 1926, Vickers in some roles was absolutely a SENSATION. I was not a fan of his in Italian opera, but in Wagner,Grimes, and a few other roles he was one of the greatest singing artists EVER! I hear he is not well!!!! Bless a man who can achieve this incredible career!

Category:general -- posted at: 11:51pm EDT

  How fitting that the Met is presenting Ades' opera "The Tempest," when the East Coast is suffering in the midst of "Sandy," a horrendous storm. 

 For soprano Audrey Luna, her role makes the Queen of the Night seem like Sarastro by comparison.

Category:general -- posted at: 3:45pm EDT

  In 1972, after a Sills/Galvany Maria Stuarda, one of the greatest shows I ever saw, we went back to Ramey's house to hear my tape(I am the "bravoer.") We were hysterical counting how many measures Marisa held the E flat in the trio. Beverly was also phenomenal in music that you would not associate with her. The two ladies performed that Confrontation Scene like two madwomen, and the audience went ballistic!!!

Category:general -- posted at: 12:36am EDT

 The ever-jaded crabby Charlie loves to go to the opera, BUT what you see here from dear Diana Soviero is a totally lost art...Like Carteri,Zeani,Scotto,Muzio,Favero,etc..THIS is the kind of emotional delivery that we collectors adore. When I fell out of the balcony on Mar.13, 1977 (OUCH!!) at her Mimi, and we became buddies for life...I thought Tebaldi was cloned. She did tell me Tebaldi once kissed her as a little girl...so it must have rubbed off!!!!!

Category:general -- posted at: 2:05am EDT

 Dmitri Hvorostovsky told me how he adored Pavel Lisitsian,and he did know him personally. I always found Lisitsian,born Oct.24, 1911, to have an absolutely gorgeous voice, like Dmitri.

Category:general -- posted at: 1:45am EDT

  Should I be ashamed that I "enjoy" crazy productions????  The singing is usually fine, and some ideas sort of work...but maybe I am so caught up in the craziness, I forget that many new directors  do have some novel ideas, but I am conflicted because I am "enjoying" this stuff...but not sure WHY!!!!

Category:general -- posted at: 12:53am EDT

   How can singers participate in stuff like this??? Imagine Callas,Corelli,Melba,MOI, involved in this Eurotrash..some modern productions are quite interesting, but to me, this is a joke!!!!!

Category:general -- posted at: 11:51pm EDT

Giovanna D'Arco

An early Renata Tebaldi performance from  Naples, 1951 under Gabriele Santini. Featured also are Giino Penno (loudest high notes I ever heard), and Ugo Savarese. ( 72 min.). Featured also is a bonus of Tebaldi, Campora, and Taddei in the finale of the Traviata Gambling Scene from Naples, 1952, where uncharacteristically, Tebaldi thinks she is Elektra.

Direct download: Giovanna_Pod.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 3:30pm EDT

  Look..the poor kid loses a brother, a baby, and has the devil after her. Don't you think that would make anyone a nutcase??????

Category:general -- posted at: 1:24am EDT

  For my darling friend and great artist, Virginia Zeani, I wish a most happy birthday (Oct.21). I have known many artists over the years, but I must say that Virginia (along with Tebaldi) has made my life so happy. I hope you will be listening to many Youtube features, and I know you will enjoy them.  Bless you, my darling Virginia!!

Zeani was born Virginia Zehan, in Solovăstru, Romania. She studied first in Bucarest, with Lucia Anghel, then with famed coloratura soprano Lydia Lipkowska. Her singing for the Italian Cultural Society in Bucarest so impressed the Italian Ambassador, the Consul and the Press Attaché that they quickly arranged for her to study in Italy, and in March 1947 she travelled to Milan to work with the great tenor Aureliano Pertile.

Early career in Italy

With no previous stage experience, in May 1948 she made her professional debut in Bologna, deputising at short notice for Margherita Carosio as Violetta in La traviata, and was immediately offered a tour of thirty more performances. Violetta was a role she would sing an estimated 648 times around the world, during her career. Her partner that evening was tenor Arrigo Pola (Alfredo), the voice teacher of Luciano Pavarotti.

Her career was at first primarily focused in Italy, where she sang in many of the regional opera houses. She describes these years as "making the bones", singing many performances of big roles in smaller houses to gain strength and experience.

National and international recognition

In January 1950 she was invited to star in a three month "tournee", or season, in Cairo and Alexandria in Egypt, singing Violetta, Nedda, Michaela and most significantly Adina in L'elisir d'amore opposite the great Italian tenor Beniamino Gigli. She was 24, he was 60.

In 1952 came an important step when, again at short notice, conductor Tullio Serafin chose her to replace Maria Callas as Elvira in i Puritani in the Teatro Communale in Florence. Soon her growing reputation led to invitations to many of the major opera houses of Europe, and Violetta was her debut role in Vienna, and Paris. She made her debut at La Scala, Milan in 1956, as (Cleopatra) in Handel's Giulio Cesare, opposite Nicola Rossi-Lemeni, whom she married shortly afterwards.

Despite having appeared in several successful tours of Great Britain she had yet to appear at Covent Garden. Her debut eventually came in 1960, once again as an emergency replacement, but this time for the indisposed Joan Sutherland. She recalls arriving at the Royal Opera House at 4pm, after a sleepless night and flights from Vienna via Frankfurt. There was just time for costume fittings and a brief rest before she walked, for the very first time, onto the Covent Garden stage. She had never before met any of the cast and had to ask "Which one is my Alfredo?" That remarkable performance was broadcast world-wide and has been preserved on disc. Zeani also appeared in Barcelona, Leningrad, Moscow, Philadelphia, Bucharest etc. and eventually in New York's Metropolitan Opera, as Violetta, in 1966.


In her early career she won considerable success in bel canto roles such as Lucia di Lammermoor, (Gilda) in Rigoletto, (Elvira) in I Puritani, and the title role in Linda di Chamounix, and lighter lyric roles such as Massenet's ("Manon") and (Marguerite) in Gounod's Faust. As her voice matured she gradually turned to more dramatic roles including Puccini's Manon Lescaut, Madama Butterfly and Tosca, and verismo operas including Fedora and Adriana Lecouvreur. She tackled more Verdi roles including (Aida), (Desdemona), (Elisabetta), (Alzira) and (Lina) in Stiffelio, as well as two Wagnerian heroines, (Elsa) in Lohengrin and (Senta) in The Flying Dutchman.

She created the role of (Blanche) in Poulenc's Dialogues des Carmélites in 1957 at La Scala, later performing his solo masterpiece for soprano La Voix Humaine.

In 1972 she enjoyed one of her greatest successes as Magda in Gian Carlo Menotti's The Consul.

In all she sang some 69 major roles and only ever cancelled two performances.

She sang with many famous colleagues including tenors Beniamino Gigli, Mario Filippeschi, Ferruccio Tagliavini, Carlo Bergonzi, Nicolai Gedda, Alfredo Kraus, Jon Vickers, Luciano Pavarotti, and Plácido Domingo, mezzo sopranos Giulietta Simionato, Fedora Barbieri, Shirley Verrett, Lili Chookasian, Grace Bumbry, baritones Gino Bechi, Tito Gobbi. Nicolae Herlea and basses Nicola Rossi-Lemeni, Boris Christoff, etc. A warm-voiced singer with stunning looks and an affecting stage presence, she made few commercial recordings, but many of her live performances exist as bootleg recordings and YouTube postings.


Virginia Zeani, "Teacher of the Year 2010" at home in her music room in Florida

Zeani retired from the operatic stage in 1982, but, together with her husband, Nicola Rossi Lemeni, in 1980 began to teach singing at the music school in Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana. The couple were later both honored as "Distinguished Professors". After her husband's death in 1991 she taught at IU for many more years before moving to Florida where she continues to teach talented young singers, In 2010, having now taught for thirty years, the magazine Classical Singer named her Teacher of the Year.

Amongst Zeani's most famous pupils are Sylvia McNair, Susan Patterson, Angela Brown, Stephen Mark Brown, Elizabeth Futral, Marilyn Mims, Vivica Genaux, Mark Nicolson, Heidi Klassen, James Valenti Elīna Garanča and Ailyn Perez.


She was the recipient of many major awards including Commendatore of the Italian Republic. In 2010, King Michael of Romania awarded her his highest honour, "Nihil sine Deo",[1] and in May 2011 she travelled to the Elisabeta Palace in Bucharest where he invested her with the award.


Category:general -- posted at: 8:52pm EDT

  Since my adopted sister Virginia Zeani celebrates a birthday (87) on October 21, I am starting early to give you some samples of her greatness. I have told you enough about her and you know what I feel for her as both singer and friend.Here is the first one.

Category:general -- posted at: 9:37pm EDT

Callas did it...Galvany did it..Guleghina did it....and NOW...Dimitra Theodossiou takes the fabulous interpolated high E flat at the end of the Nabucco duet w.Nucci.

  But the Met probably would not like her..too exciting!!!!!!!

Category:general -- posted at: 7:27pm EDT


Anita Cerquetti had to retire very soon. She had a magnificent voice,as you will hear, in arias from Ernani, Agnese di Hofenstaufen (Spontini), Oberon, Vespri Siciliani, Forza del Destinmo.William Tell, Aida,and Ernani. (63 min.)

Anita Cerquetti (April 13, 1931) is an Italian dramatic soprano who had a short career in the 1950s.

Cerquetti was born in Montecosaro, near Macerata, Italy. She was originally a student of the violin and trained eight years with Luigi Mori. After a mere one year of vocal study at the Conservatory of Perugia she made her operatic debut in Spoleto in 1951 as Aida. She sang all over Italy, notably in Florence as Noraime in Les Abencérages, under Carlo Maria Giulini in 1956, and as Elvira in Ernani, under Dimitri Mitropoulos in 1957. Her Teatro alla Scala debut was in 1958 as Abigail in Nabucco. She also sang on RAI in a wide variety of roles such as Elcia in Mosè in Egitto, Mathilde in Guglielmo Tell, Elena in I vespri siciliani, etc.

Cerquetti made headlines in January 1958, when she replaced "in extremis" the ailing Maria Callas in Norma, at the Rome Opera House. She was already singing the role at the San Carlo in Naples. She commuted between the two cities to honor both engagements for several weeks. This "tour de force" won her great acclaim but had serious effects on her health. Shortly after she started withdrawing little by little from the stage until her complete retirement in 1961, aged only 30.

Cerquetti sang relatively little in America. Her debut there was at the Lyric Opera of Chicago in 1955, as Amelia in Un ballo in maschera, opposite Jussi Björling, with Tullio Serafin conducting.

Cerquetti made only two commercial recordings, both for Decca in 1957, a recital of Italian opera arias and a complete La Gioconda with Mario del Monaco, Ettore Bastianini, Giulietta Simionato, Cesare Siepi. Among her "pirated" recordings is a 1958 Aida, from Mexico City, with Flaviano Labò, Nell Rankin, Cornell MacNeil, Fernando Corena and Norman Treigle. The Rome Norma of 1958 with Franco Corelli is also available. In 1996 she sang and talked in Jan Schmidt-Garre's film Opera Fanatic. A recording of Don Carlo from Florence 1956 featuring Cerquetti as Elizabetta is available from Melodram.

Direct download: Cerquetti_Pod.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 8:32pm EDT

Fidelio from Vienna, 1953

Highlights from an exciting Fidelio from Vienna, 1953 under Herbert Von Kareajan. It features Martha Moedl, Wolfgang Windgassen, Josef Metternich, Otto Edelmann (Rocco), Rudolf Schock, Elizabeth Schwarzkopf, and Hans Braun (Don Fernando.)  (65 min.)

Direct download: Fidelio_Moedl_Pod.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 7:06pm EDT

  Not the typical Lucia voice (like Callas), but very exciting!!!!!  By the way, anyone who can guess all her fake names and the real one, I will send you all my Maria Malibran tapes.(WHO???)

Category:general -- posted at: 2:21am EDT

 Oslo Norway recent La Boheme.....Do not ask what it means!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  (Good singers anyway,but.......)

Category:general -- posted at: 1:42am EDT


OK......My buddy James Jorden (La Cieca) repaired the podcast problem, and they will be back tomorrow..Thanks for your patience!!!!!  I will still provide video clips as a bonus!!!!

Category:general -- posted at: 1:30am EDT

One of my favorite operas. King is superb here, and I recommend this opera to all.

Category:general -- posted at: 1:20am EDT

Funny joke on Birgit Nilsson during the Solti Gotterdamerung recording session....From the documentary,"The Golden Ring."

Category:general -- posted at: 1:01am EDT

Anna has such a great personality, to accompany a fabulous voice. How many singers today would be great in any era? LUV HER!!!!!

Category:general -- posted at: 4:40pm EDT

In the event you are new to this site, here is a repeat of the wildest stage happening we ever taped. I think it might have been a jealous diva, since it took place at Ashley Putnam's City Opera debut in 1977. When I told the tenor, Henry Price, that I was there,he said, "So was I!!!"...How did he go on?????

   There were many rumors, but we really never found out what this was all about,but at least we have this for posterity. I covered some music classes once, and the kids made me play this every day!!!!!!

Category:general -- posted at: 4:31pm EDT

Born October 12, 1935, Pavarotti remains as one of the greatest singers in opera history. Yes, the "hype' could be a bit much, but let us remember the sensational voice!!!!!!

Category:general -- posted at: 12:45pm EDT

   Glorious Elisir tonight.....How often do we have FOUR singers of top quality all together??They rarely can do it with Verdi, but the cast tonight was simply a delight. Polenzani,Netrebko, Kwiecen, Maestri.    I had a ball!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (but did not see the Yankees win)

Category:general -- posted at: 12:45am EDT

 The gorgeous basso voice of Met basso Morris Robinson. I saw him last night in Trovatore, and he was superb. Do not ever mess with him, as he is an ex-football star!!!!!!

Category:general -- posted at: 11:03pm EDT

In blessed memory of the great Leyla Gencer, born October 10, 1928.How we adored her...she sang a HUGE repertory.Yes,she could sometimes be variable, but in all, one of the greats. I always said that if there was no Callas, "She would be Callas."

Category:general -- posted at: 10:41pm EDT

Echoes of Cornell MacNeil!!! Fabulous sound last night as De Luna..What a true Verdi baritone, and you know jaded me!!! BRAVO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Category:general -- posted at: 4:34pm EDT

Nice to make new diva discoveries!!  Last night Mme.Giannasstasio  sang a superb Leonora. It is a big,opulent tone and she was superb in her fioratura. I would like more chest voice (You know me.) I really loved her and hope we  hear more of her!!!

Category:general -- posted at: 4:22pm EDT

Hi again,

     In my effort to acquaint you with some of the special voices in the history of the vocal art, especially until my podcasts return, I am presenting one of the most remarkable voices, Eva Turner.This legendary soprano had a steely voice that could probably be heard across the English Channel.   Enjoy!!!!

Category:general -- posted at: 12:46am EDT

 Imagine being able to sing this aria (1993) at 83....One of the most incredible artists in opera history.

Category:general -- posted at: 9:05pm EDT

 My  darling friend of over 35 years and the last of the great Verismo sopranos gives a New York Master Class Wednesday at the Manhatten School of Music. Diana's classes are so interesting and vibrant. I have rarely seen singers in my life I love more.

Category:general -- posted at: 11:32pm EDT


More Great Music

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