You have heard this before,but I must tell you that it is an example of some of the most exciting singing you'll ever hear!!!!

Category:general -- posted at: 12:05am EDT


DO NOT PEEK before you listen!! Here are the 15 Flower Songs from Carmen (61 min.)

If you guess them all, I will send you my entire Fischer-Dieskau collection:

  Roberto Alagna, Peter Anders, Fernand Ansseau, Vladimir Atlantov, Enrico Caruso, Franco Corelli, Raoul Jobin, Antonio Cortis, Libero de Luca, Mario del Monaco, Placido Domingo, Beniamino Gigli, Jussi Bjoerling, Giuseppe di Stefano, and Nicolai Gedda.

Direct download: Flower_Song-1.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 7:54pm EDT

This is a staging of the Maria Stuarda Confrontation Scene as per the Bette Davis/Joan Crawford film, "Whatever Happened to Baby Jane." I wrote Joyce di Donato to tell her that in the coming Met Stuardas I do not think she should follow this staging.

Category:general -- posted at: 2:44pm EDT

   If my beloved Renata had ever had a fight with me, and used the kind of chest voice she uses on "Tre assi e un paio," I would have run screaming out the door. She scared us to of the many great "Tebaldi moments."

Category:general -- posted at: 2:17pm EDT


To all of you great opera lovers all over the globe, I wish you a most HAPPY NEW YEAR and many thanks for your undying support. You make my life so happy all year long!

From Charlie

Category:general -- posted at: 1:02pm EDT

Simone Boccanegra from Naples, 1986

 The very great Cesare Siepi at age 63 in a superb Simone Boccanegra that features Renato Bruson (still singing these days at 77), Ileana Cotrubas, Taro Ichihara, and Enrico Serra (Paolo.) The conducter is Gabor Otvos. (71 min.)

Direct download: Simone_Bruson.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 10:07pm EDT

Carlo Bergonzi Recital,London 1992

The great tenor,who "teaches a vocal lesson" when he sings. This is a 68 year old man who is a legend. I heard him at 78, and he was just as wonderful. He is not in the best of health these days at 88, and I hope he feels better soon. We love him so much.

Direct download: Bergonzi_Lon.1992.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 9:54pm EDT

Renata Tebaldi in Boheme at Parma

Facing a tough audience at Parma in 1962, after there had been some altercations, Tebaldi sang a great Mimi, and saved the day. Others in the cast are:  Renato Cioni,EnzoSordello, Silvana Zanolli, Giorgio Taddeo (Colline), and Otello Borgonovo (Schaunard) under Arturo Basile.  (64min.)

Direct download: Tebaldi_Parma_Mimi.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 12:35am EDT

Stride La Vampa-1

  I have just received a series of wonderful compilations of various arias, terrific for your opera parties, where you can give prizes if you wish if people can guess some or all of the selec tions. I did not do a narration here, but here are the mezzos doing the Trovatore "Stride la Vampa":

Giuseppina Zinetti, Nell Rankin, Irene Dalis, Blanche Thebom, Miriam Pirazzini, Elena Nicolai, Oralia Dominguez, Bruna Castagna, Ebe Stignani, Irene Minghini-Cattaneo, and Fedora Barbieri. (29 min.)

I hope this series is enjoyable to you.   My best for a happy New year


Direct download: Stride_One.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 9:10pm EDT

Wszystkiego najlepszego z okazji urodzin which means HAPPY BIRTHDAY to our beloved Piotr for Dec.28. How fortunate the opera world is to be able to enjoy his great singing!!!

Category:general -- posted at: 7:34pm EDT

Rigoletto Part Two

All fixed!!!!! Here is part 2 of the Rigoletto

Direct download:
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 2:09am EDT

A Great Rigoletto,Part One

Part One of a 1972 Rigoletto with a stellar cast under Richard Bonynge. Featured are Sherrill Milnes,Luciano Pavarotti,Joan Sutherland, Ruggero Raimondi, and Batyah Godfrey.  (55 min.)

Direct download: Rig.Pav.1a.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 11:45pm EDT

I think if we counted up all the tears that Puccini,born Dec.23, 1858, has provided to the opera world, we might have another "Pacific Ocean." Bless forever what he has given us!!!!

Category:general -- posted at: 9:52pm EDT

   Music for the Holiday Season (announced), as sung by famous artists. I know you will enjoy the selections and I wish you all the happiest holiday season!! (62 min.)

Direct download: Xmas_2012.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 9:30pm EDT

At 66, still able to thrill us! Gruberova born Dec.22, 1946. A bit eccentric vocal production,but the way she gets to the wild..That kind of "scoop." One of the most adored singers!!!!!

Category:general -- posted at: 12:08pm EDT

 One of my saddest days, and a sad day for opera lovers, was Dec.19, 2004, when we lost our beloved Renata Tebaldi. My memories are still so vivid of her incredible singing, and the relationship we had over the years, with those "birthday phone calls' I made to her in the later years. The love she spread on stage and off stage was something none of us "kids" could ever forget, and we will think of her fondly for the rest of our lives.

Category:general -- posted at: 12:13pm EDT

  Born on Dec.19, 1863, Milka Ternina was the teacher of my beloved Zinka Milanov, who just texted me and said, "I VAS BETTER!!!"

Category:general -- posted at: 7:36pm EDT

Birgit Nilsson in Recitals

The miraculous Birgit Nilsson is heard in recitals from Australia and New York. Selections are announced on the podcast. I do not believe ANYONE in opera history could produce tones like her!!! (70 glorious minutes.)

Direct download: Nilsson_Recitals.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 11:38pm EDT

Let us pause for a moment or two and think of the horrendous tragedy that occured this week in the school in Connecticut. Even if I was not a teacher and loved kids the way I do, it is just mind-boggling to think of what occurred, and we should spend a moment of reflection to remember the poor little kids and the teachers who are no long with us physically, but will always be in spirit.

Category:general -- posted at: 2:56pm EDT

Not as appreciated as i feel she should be, Raina Kabaiwanska was born on Dec.15, 1934. The feeling, the style, the love of the vocal line are special,if not a great tone. I really recommend you watch some more Youtube videos.

Category:general -- posted at: 2:51pm EDT

Dec.15, 1910..(Some say May 15),is the birthday of the SENSATIONAl Giulietta Simionato, who,in this clip, shows why she is revered as one of the greatest singers of all time. Sorry she did not make it to 100.

Category:general -- posted at: 2:46pm EDT

Angelo Lo Forese at 90!!!!  IN KEY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Category:general -- posted at: 1:39am EDT

Crabby jaded Charlie found a marvelous new soprano at Aida last night.She is Liudmyla Monastryska, possessor of a gorgeous and rich voice, with a brilliant top range and lovely pianissimi. I bravoed all night, and I think she was truly superb. Here is a sample.

Category:general -- posted at: 2:14pm EDT

Not a good day for divas. Gallina was a very famous artist and we hear her last scene of Onegin with Benjamin Luxon. Some straight tones,but a very great star!!!!!!   Never to be forgotten!!!!

Category:general -- posted at: 9:13pm EDT

  When she entered in Rosenkavalier act Three, the stage GLITTERED. It was a gorgeous ethereal voice and we remember her for what she did for all of us as a great artist.  Rest in Peace!

Category:general -- posted at: 8:15pm EDT

 Born Dec.11, 1892, Giacomo Lauri-Volpi sings a "Nessun Dorma' that is as thrilling as one could expect!!!!! I wish we had one tenor like this today.

Category:general -- posted at: 8:10pm EDT

Remember that lovable film about Verdi's "Casa di riposo" for old singers, some of whom can still sing? Sarah Scuderi was the STAR of the film, and she was born on Dec.11, 1906. What a loving tribute to singers of the past who might not have the finances to live a luxurious retiremen t. This is so gorgeous!!!!

Category:general -- posted at: 10:55pm EDT

The marvelous Sondra Radvanovsky is singing the Met Ballo today; she possess one of the most brilliant voices I ever heard, but you MUST hear her live, because she has a kind of resonance in the house that sounds like a "mike is in her throat." I once told her some tones were "Isolde tones." Here is a clip rom her Chicago Ballo.

Category:general -- posted at: 3:29pm EDT

Carmen with Shirley Verrett

 The late Shirley Verrett, one of my all-time favorite artists, appears as Carmen in this Rome 1967 performance under Georges Pretre. The superb Australian tenor, Albert Lance, is the Don Jose, with Robert Massard as Escamillo.  (70 min.)

Direct download: Carmen_Verrett.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 3:22pm EDT

Tosca With Zeani,Domingo

Highlights from a 1975 Barcelona Tosca under Giuseppe Morelli, with Virginia Zeani, Placido Domingo, and Piero Francia. Why don't more people realize how great she is?? Well,you've heard this before.  (70 min.)k

Direct download: Tosca_Zeani2.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 12:33am EDT

  DIOS MIO!!!!!!  My friends (including Virginia Zeani) heard Boheme in Florida last night and went NUTS over this guy!!!  This is a fabulous voice and i hope we hear much more of him.. BRAVISSIMO!!!!

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

    My favorite part of my favorite opera!! I had mentioned that a few years ago Dolora Zajick asked me to give a "Handelmanian" class for her young students; she has a project with young singers, trying to bring back the kind of singing so missing today. Note how she sings the end of this scene with incredible abandon. I will see her as Amneris in two weeks. Note she takes the high B that usually only Aida takes toward the end. She has FUN!!!!

Category:general -- posted at: 11:50am EDT

  Not just Cavalleria Rusticana!! Mascagni wrote such gorgeous music...This scene from his Piccolo Marat is just amazing. Virginia Zeani, Umberto Borso, and a loud prompter perform. The audience actually made them repeat this whole duet!!!!!

Category:general -- posted at: 11:14am EDT

Verdi's "Napuko"...(well,sort of.)

  Just enjoy these marvelous scenes from an opera written by Giuseppe Verdi, who made his fame at the premiere. However, not all performances are up to his standards. If you are a basso, I suggest you do not attempt to learn Zaccaria with this recording.  (16 wonderful minutes.)

Direct download: Napuko2.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 9:15pm EDT

Kirsten Flagstad Sings Wagner and Strauss

 The sensational Kirsten Flagstad is heard in the World Premiere of Strauss' Four Last Songs from 1950 under Wilhelm Furtwaengler  in London.She is then heard in three Strauss songs: Befreit, Allerseelen, and Caecilie, from San Francisco in 1950 under Merolla.

She is joined by Set Svanholm in Wagner Scenes from The Flying Dutchman, Lohengrin, Tristan und Isolde, and Die Meistersinger, from 1949 also under Gaetano Merolla.   (70 min.)

Direct download: Flagstad_Strauss-Wag..mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 9:04pm EDT

 Carreras was born on Dec.5, 1946. In his prime it was a glorious voice, one of the greatest in opera;yes,he did push the voice into heavier roles and even before the illness he was having problems, but for a time he was a true sensation, and he came thrugh a serious illness with great dignity and amazing courage.

Category:general -- posted at: 7:56pm EDT

Othalie Graham

  I always like to "spread the word' about exciting young artists. Here is info.on Othalie Graham....A great singer..and GORGEOUS!!!!

Canadian-American Soprano Othalie Graham is critically acclaimed throughout North America. As Turandot, the Boston Globe says her “timbre and power were thrilling - steely ring from top to bottom - and her path from imperiousness to passion was convincing.” Of a recent performance as Tosca, the San Francisco Chronicle praised her “high-powered blend of musical assurance and theatrical temperament. Singing the role for the first time, Graham displayed a potent and secure soprano that soared effortlessly through the role. Most impressive was her blend of delicacy and sheer muscle, which often combined forces within the space of a single phrase...her rendition of ‘Vissi d’arte’ was a heartbreaker.”

Emerging into the Wagnerian repertoire, Ms. Graham’s notable roles include Senta in Der Fliegender Holländer, Isolde in Tristan und Isolde, Brünnhilde and Sieglinde in Die Walküre, and Elisabeth in Tannhäuser. Other prominent roles include the title role in Elektra, Lady Macbeth in Macbeth, Leonora in Fidelio, Amelia in Un Ballo in Maschera, Leonora in La Forza del Destino, Ariane in Ariane et Barbe-Bleue, Serena in Porgy and Bess, and Santuzza in Cavalleria Rusticana.

Recent engagements include the title role in Turandot with Arizona Opera, Michigan Opera Theatre, Opera Columbus, Opera Delaware, Utah Festival Opera, Connecticut Grand Opera, and Sacramento Opera; Odabella in Attila with Sarasota Opera; the title role of Aida for the inaugural performance of the Istanbul International Opera Festival; Leonora in Il Trovatore with Utah Festival Opera; the title role in Tosca with Festival Opera; and the title role in Elektra at Philadelphia’s Academy of Vocal Arts. In the current 2010-2011 season and beyond, engagements include the title role of Turandot with the Vancouver Opera and Pensacola Opera, Minnie in La Fanciulla del West at the Nashville Opera, Mahler’s Symphony No. 8 and Turandot excerpts in concert with the Washington Chorus at the Kennedy Center, and Isolde in Tristan und Isolde with the Young Musicians Foundation Orchestra in California.

Concert highlights include a New York recital debut with the Liederkranz Society after winning its annual competition; a Wagner concert co-sponsored by the Wagner Society of Washington D.C. featuring Brünnhilde’s Immolation Scene from Götterdämmerung and Isolde’s Liebestod from Tristan und Isolde; Brünnhilde excerpts from Die Walküre for the L’Opera de Montreal gala; the title role in Turandot with Boston’s Chorus Pro Musica, the Westfield Symphony Orchestra, and the Harrisburg Symphony; Elijah with Bryn Terfel and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir; a featured appearance with Eve Queler at the Dahesh Museum of Art; as well as opera galas for Pacific Opera Victoria, Vancouver Opera, and Canada’s Oakville Symphony.

Ms. Graham was the first-place winner of the 2010 Gerda Lissner International Vocal Competition in the Wagner Division; the first-place winner of the 2005 Joyce Dutka Competition; a recipient of the prestigious Sullivan Foundation Grant for 2005; and the first-place winner in the Wagner Division of the 2009 Liederkranz Competition. In Canada, her many awards and honors include the coveted Jean Chalmers prize in the Canadian Music Competition, winner of the Edward Johnson Competition, and first place in the Jeunes Ambassadeurs Lyriques Competition.

She is a graduate of the Academy of Vocal Arts.


Category:general -- posted at: 11:31pm EDT

 Have you ever seen this adorable 1932 clip of the great Tetrazzini singing with Caruso??I think it is PRECIOUS!!!!!!

Category:general -- posted at: 10:55pm EDT


Here is a comparison podcast of some wonderful mezzos and contraltos singing the Ulrica Scene from Verdi's "Un Ballo in Maschera." The singers,in order, are:

Bruna Castagna, Grace Bumbry, Jean Madeira, Susanne Resmark, Marian Anderson, Ewa Podles, Giulietta Simionato, Ebe Stignani, Regina Resnik, Fedora Barbieri, and last (and least), Sylvia Sawyer (66 minutes)

Direct download: Ulrica.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 6:05pm EDT

Just listen to the section beginning "Coraggio" in the Vespri aria..That tells it ALL! The exciting attacks, the intensity, the verve....something unheard today!!!!

Category:general -- posted at: 10:19am EDT

Some artists can "read the telephone directory" and make a fabulous impression. The late Maria Callas, born Dec.2 (or 3?), 1923, was such an artist. We all know of her flaws and her stormy life, but her legacy will live forever in the hearts of true music-lovers.

Category:general -- posted at: 11:33pm EDT

OK friends....tell us what is "different" about this rendition....(Hint: Get a pitchpipe.)

Category:general -- posted at: 12:23am EDT

Another Callas' clip for her birthday.This was from one of the last recitals (with Di Stefano).Note she has to sing more chest voice...It is so sad...One of the greats at the end, but the feeling will never fade!!!!!.

Category:general -- posted at: 7:29pm EDT

Juan Diego Flores Recital

 From New York City in 1994, I bring you the radiant voice of the superb Peruvian tenor, Juan Diego Flores, a man who sings as gloriously as anyone I have ever heard.

  Included (announced) are songs and arias by Bellini,Rossini,Donizetti, Gluck, Morales, Serrano, and Tosti.    (70 minutes).

Note that the only times that encores have been allowed at the Met is when Flores sang the Fille du Reeggiment aria (with 18 high C's) and on a broadcast of Elisir, where he repeated the "Una furtiva lagrima."  This is a rarity in New York Met opera.

Direct download: Flores_2004.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 6:45pm EDT

  What is left to say about this legend? Yes, we know all about her flaws, personal difficulties, but what remains forever is a legacy of a phenomenal contribution that will never be forgotten. Here is the first of a series of clips for your personal remembrances and in tribute to her.

Category:general -- posted at: 8:43pm EDT

Gedda is now 87...This is rather recent......Not sure when..but the man is a VOCAL GOD!!!!!

Dedicated to another ageless singer, Martha Eggerth (now 100).

Category:general -- posted at: 10:34pm EDT

Mme.Butterfly with Renata Scotto

One of the very last exponents of truly emotional style and careful attention to the delicacy of phrasing in opera has been Renata Scotto. This 1967 Radio Turino Butterfly from 1967 under Artuto Basile is an example of her great artistry, despite some of the top notes that were often a bit problematical as the years passed.he is 33 here, but for many more years her Butterfly remained  possibly the greatest of them all.She is joined by Renato Cioni,Franca Mattiucci, and Alberto Rinaldi. (71 min.)

Direct download: Butterfly_1967_Scotto.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 1:21pm EDT

Die Fledermaus from 1938

 A delightful Die Fledermaus from Stuttgart Radio, 1938 under Gustav Goerlich.The cast includes Margarete Teschemacher (Rosalinda), Peter Anders (Alfred), Karl Mikorey (Eisenstein), Einar Kristjansson (Orlovsky), Martina Wulf (Adele), and Karl Schmitt-Walter (Dr.Falke.).

   In act two the guests are Erna Berger, Peter Anders, Maria Reining, and Esther Rethy.  (70 min.)

Direct download: Fleder.1938.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 7:23pm EDT

   Darling miraculous Magda Olivero turns 103 on March 25. She will speak in that gorgeous "verismo Italian" when I call her...Hard to imagine a world without this beautiful spirit!!!!

Category:general -- posted at: 1:41am EDT

Don Carlo 1961, Part Two.

 Here is part two of the Vienna 1961 Son Carlo  (51 min.)

Direct download: Don_Carlo_Labo-2.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 10:35pm EDT

Don Carlo Vienna 1961 Part One

 Part One of a 1961 Vienna Don Carlo under Fausto Cleva,featuring Flaviano Labo,Antonietta Stella, Giulietta Simionato, Eberhard Waechter, and Walter Kreppel. (61 min.)

Direct download: Don_Carlo_Labo1.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 10:16pm EDT

Renata Tebaldi and Franco Corelli on television in Chenier finale.(In key).

Category:general -- posted at: 9:35pm EDT

 The GOD of singing in a magnificent example of the heart and soul of the great Caruso. Note the way he enters his "passaggio" on a word like "notte" and for me EVERY Caruso "vocal situation" is unique in my mind. Bless this great man!!!!

Category:general -- posted at: 8:22pm EDT

The Debut of Bidu Sayao in Manon

The beloved Bidu Sayao makes her Met debut as Manon in 1937 under Maurice Abravanel. The cast is completed by Sydney Rayner, Richard Bonelli, Angelo Bada, Chase Baromeo, and George Cehanovsky.  This is a historic event, for it heralds the great Sayao career.  (71 min.)

Direct download: Manon_Sayao.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 8:16pm EDT

         My very dear opera friends,

                     You may or may not understand a "crazy collector's mentality," but as I approach age 77, I look around and feel that some day I do not want my enormous collection to go into a dumpster. My joke is that when I met Anja Silja a few years agho after a Jenufa, I asked her for the Elena Makropolous formula so I could have 356 hyears more to listen to my tapes. She must have thought "who is this nutcase?"
                I have been discarding reels and cassettes (ever hear of them?), but what remains is still an enormous collection of CD's,VHS videos, and LP's, not just the items I used for a 25 year "Pirate business" but lots of commercial material. For example, do you know anyone who has over 50 Elektras or every Ring that was ever recorded?
                  I look around and wonder what I was thinking when I would visit Tower Records after a Met performance and buy something like the complete works of Heinrich Schlachenheimer (??)This is why I am so glad Tower closed because I can save a little money!
             In your travels (and I am also speaking to singers or opera-lovers who reside in other countries), you might know some younger opera lovers, similar to a 17 year old Charlie Handelman who knew every note of Zinka Milanov's repertory.(and most of the words.) Also,you may be affiliated with a school like MSM where young students can enjoy some of my enormous collection...rather than have it lay around and gather dust.
            This does not mean that I am discarding everything, but let's face it....there is just too much...and I would like to "spread the wealth" to those of you who might be interested. Of course, you would need a truck, a U-haul, or a large tenor to pick stuff up. Why should it sit around here and some day be discarded, although my executor can do what he wants with it..but it would be an enormous job.
             Well, that is where I am at the moment, and please feel free to write or phone me if you have any ideas..but do not give anything to anyone who never heard of Claudia Muzio!
                                                     Love  Charlie

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

  I have spoken often of the old La Puma Co.and have played you scenes. TELL ME...could any of you sit there and not have a serious accident in your.....They finally threw us out one night...we could not stop laughing..I miss them so..but at least we have the Met.....

Category:general -- posted at: 12:54am EDT

 When many opera singers attempt "crossover," they fall on their names mentioned....but when Sumi Jo sings "Send in the Clowns" with such beauty and style, it is indeed a pleasure.

Category:general -- posted at: 1:38am EDT

Parsifal from Bayreuth 1951

 Scenes from a glorious Parsifal under Hans Knappertsbusch from Bayreuth 1951. The stellar cast includes Martha Moedl, Wolfgang Windgassen, George London, Ludwig Weber, and Herman Uhde (Klingsor.)   (73 min.)

Direct download: Parsifal_1951.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 5:53pm EDT

Songs Of Paolo Tosti

Several Golden Age artists sing songs of Paolo Tosti.(Announced).They as follows:

Adelina Patti, Mattia Battistini, Fernando de Lucia, Emma Eames, Charles Dalmores, Enrico Caruso, Giuseppe Anselmi, John McCormack, Alfred Piccaver, Dusolina Giannini, Rosa Ponsellle, and Richard Tauber.  (62 min.)

Direct download: Tosti_songs.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 10:47pm EDT

Los Twinkies no van a morir!!!!!

  Who cares about the U.S.Financial crisis, problems in the Mideast, will Angela Gheorghiu show up, and all the other pressing problems in this world? The most important news of the day is that it looks like the Hostess company, maker of Twinkies, and other high cholesterol snacks, will be SAVED!

    So many of us who were about to commit "Suicidio" feel that life is worth living again. Thanks the Lord for bringing us out of this potentially disastrous situation!!!

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

Adriana Lecouvreur with Leyla Gencer

 Another example of the versatilty and artistry of Leyla Gencer, "Queen of the Pirates." This is an Adriana from Naples, 1966, Under Oliviero di Fabritiis. The cast also features Amadeo Zambon, Enzo Sordello, and Adriana Lazzarini.  (70 min.)

Direct download: Adriana_Gencer_2.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 12:19am EDT

Renata Scotto Sings Songs of Verdi

 For a little change of pace, I present a series of songs as written by Giuseppe Verdi.(Announced.) They are sung by Renata Scotto, accompanied by Vincenzo Scalera in 1989  (50 min.)

Direct download: Scotto_Verdi_songs.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 11:42pm EDT

  Ruby Helder, Female Tenor!!!!!!!!

Category:general -- posted at: 8:45pm EDT

    The two girls teach you what  exciting singing is about!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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

Another "innovative' production of La Boheme,from Salzburg 2012.This is coming out next month on DVD and Blue Ray. It features two of the greatest artists of today, Anna Netrebko and Piotr Beczala. I think you might consider purchasing it ,unless you are a purist.(I used to be.)

Category:general -- posted at: 9:26pm EDT

  My darling friend, Marisa Galvany, lost her husband, George Kornbluth last week. In his memory,I would like to present this video, thinking that wherever dear George is, he is recalling all the beautiful days with Marisa and all who loved him. He was a wonderful man, and we shall miss him.



Category:general -- posted at: 9:55pm EDT

Un Ballo in Maschera 1940

  This is a most exciting Ballo from 1940 under Ettore Panizza, featuring Zinka Milanov, Jussi Bjoerling,Alexander Sved, Bruna Castagna, and Stella Andreva. (70 min.). Why didn't mommy take me, even though I was only 4!!!

Direct download: Ballo_1940.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 9:45pm EDT

Even in concert, the remarkable Leonie manages one of her famous GESCHREIS!!!! Did you know the union of stage hands got mad because they could not get any overtime;this is because Leonie rolled around in the dust, and they were not needed!! (Well,figuratively, anyway.)

Category:general -- posted at: 7:48pm EDT

On her birthday, let us remember the sensational Leonie Rysanek, one of the greatest artists in opera history. Yes, she had her flaws, especially in Italian repertory, but she made roles like Senta,the Empress, Sieglinde,etc. totally unforgettable. We will not see her like again!!!!

Category:general -- posted at: 7:34pm EDT

The Sensational Mexico 1951 Aida

 As I indicated in my spoken commentary, sometimes you forget, with all the material available, just how some performances stay in your memory, and how unbelievably exciting the Mexico 1951 Aida was. Here is a mini-podcast of most of act three with Callas,Del Monaco, and Taddei. Sorry, they do not make them like this anymore!!!!  (24 min.)

Direct download: Aida__Mex.Act_3.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 7:02pm EDT

Wanna hear great singing?????   My old buddy Sam Ramey(hates the wig), Luciano, and a singer I always adored, Lauren Flanigan, in the Lombardi Trio.

Category:general -- posted at: 4:04pm EDT

   Born November 7, 1926, Joan Sutherland has been one of the greatest singers in opera history. She earned the name "La Stupenda." Note her wild ending of the aria..Count the number of high C's!!!

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

Christa Ludwig in German Opera

 The very great mezzo Christa Ludwig in scenes from Parsifal (w.Fritz Uhl and Walter Berry, Vienna 1961 under Von Karajan), Walkure w. James Morris under James Levine, and the marvelous finale of a 1966 Frau Ohne Schatten under Karl Boehm w.Berry,Rysanek, and Dalis.   (70 min.)

Direct download: Ludwig_Wagner_pod.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 11:27pm EDT

Born Nov.8 , 1921...Hines' last appearance..Really amazing!!!!!! A stalwart basso for so many years!!!!

Category:general -- posted at: 7:06pm EDT

 I want the ones with the high D flat, and the best for me is the first one..Sondra Radvanovsky..some sopranos do not (or cannot) take the note.

In order we have:

    Sondra Radvanovsky, Mariella Devia, Christine Weidinger, Dimitra Theodossiou.Darina Takova, Mariella Devia again, Katia Ricciarelli, Lucia D'Anselmo, Nelly Miricioiu, Joan Sutherland twice, and Vasso Papantoniou.

     I just love these comparisons!!

Category:general -- posted at: 3:41pm EDT

   We ancient collectors are so STARVED for Elizabeth Blancke-Biggs style of singing..Brilliant tone,warmth of emotion, GREAT LOW NOTES, wonderful easy top range...and what I call "authoritative glottal attacks' on certain phrases.   She is my new "find."

Category:general -- posted at: 7:25pm EDT

Let's face it!!! When I get started on a new diva, I get CRAZY!!!!! However, you already know about what I love...and this is the kind of singing I DIE FOR!!!!! This is my all-time favorite aria, and she is absolutely magnificent.!!!

Category:general -- posted at: 8:04pm EDT

   I just discovered a diva who reminds true opera lovers of the kind of singing so badly missing today...Elizabeth Blancke-Biggs lets it all "hang out" like a Caterina Mancini,Marisa Galvany, Maria Callas.   I went nuts!

   She is also a Facebook friend, and a sweetheart!!!! More to come!!!!

Category:general -- posted at: 7:49pm EDT

Les Choeurs d'Operas Francais

   Choruses from French operas, including Mireille, Romeo et Juliette (Gounod), The Pearl Fishers, La Jolie Fille de Perth (Bizet) w.Alfredo Kraus, La Damnation de Faust (Berlioz), Herodiade (Massenet), Hamlet (Thomas) w.Thomas Hampson and Gregory Kunde, and the Salve Regina from Poulenc's Dialgues des Carmelites.   (69 min.)

Direct download: French_Choruses_pod.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 11:17pm EDT

Piero Cappuccilli Tribute

In 1955, Cappuccilli auditioned for La Scala in Milan, where the auditioners, deeply impressed, encourage him to enter the Viotti competition. After his first place award, he made his official operatic debut in 1957 at the Teatro Nuovo in Milan, singing Tonio in Pagliacci. In 1960, he made his debut at the Metropolitan Opera, singing Giorgio Germont in La traviata, which was to be

Cappuccilli spent most of his career singing in Europe, with only infrequent travels to North and South America. He made his debut at the Teatro alla Scala in 1964, as Enrico, at the Royal Opera House in London as Germont in 1967, and his Opéra de Paris debut took place in 1978, as Amonasro. He also appeared at the Vienna State Opera and the Salzburg Festival. He worked with the greatest European conductors of his time (Karajan, Gavazzeni, Abbado, Kleiber) and became one of the finest interpreters of the Italian repertoire.

Cappuccilli was highly respected as a "Verdi baritone", where his beautiful voice, fine vocal technique, musical elegance, and dignified stage presence, were shown to their best advantage.

He left an impressive discography, he recorded Lucia di Lammermoor twice, first with Maria Callas in 1959, and with Beverly Sills in 1970. Other notable recordings include; Rigoletto, opposite Ileana Cotrubas and Placido Domingo, under Carlo Maria Giulini, Macbeth, opposite Shirley Verrett, and Simon Boccanegra, opposite Mirella Freni and Nicolai Ghiaurov, both under Claudio Abbado. He also recorded Don Carlos, Il Trovatore and Aida under Herbert von Karajan

Cappuccilli sang until his mid-sixties; an automobile accident in 1992 ended his stage career. He died in his native Trieste, at the age of 78.[2]

 Pagliacci,Zaza,Macbeth,Attila,Due Foscari,Forza,Trovatore,Do Carlo,Pearl Fishers, Chenier, Nabucco,Ernani,Roberto Devereux.

(68 min.)

Direct download: Capp.2_Pod..mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 12:41am EDT

In my efforts to keep you entertained, I mix audio and video clips along with my podcasts. I consider the Lehmann aria here as one of my top favorite commercial recordings of all time!!!

The final passages send me to heaven!!!!!!!!!!!

Category:general -- posted at: 11:28pm EDT

Edita Gruberova has a kind of "eccentric' vocal approach..but so exciting..and the way she goes up to the top (scooooops) is a thrill.  I really love her.... WE NEED HER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Category:general -- posted at: 12:22pm EDT

Don Giovanni from Naples, 1955

 A pretty good cast!!!!  Don Giovanni under the legendary Karl Boehm in Naples 1955, with early Birgit Nilsson,Sena Jurinac,Alda Noni, Giuseppe Valdengo, Sesto Bruscantini, Anton Dermota, Gottlob Frick, and a new guy as Masetto named Walter Berry.(He might make it some day!!)  (71 min.)

Direct download: Don_G.1955_pod.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 9:52pm EDT

   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 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

More Great Music

June 2012
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