Do you mean I NEVER knew of this?????? I feel so dumb...i guess it escaped me,until a friend sent it.

 Leyla had a 35 year career, and when teachers today fear the idea of chest voice, glottal attacks,etc...I get angry!!!! THIS is a lesson in how to sing with fire!!!!   Love it!!!


Category:general -- posted at: 9:49pm EST

After I did the Adriana, I thought you would like to SEE Caballe in action!!!!!

Teachers today are afraid to teach singers to use the lower register,causing a lot  of BOREDOM!!!!

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

He left us far too soon. Norman Treigle, born Mar.6, 1923, was a DYNAMO onstage.For me he was one of the greatest singers  I ever heard, and I heard him live countless times. He was truly a fabulous artist, actor, vocalist, with a HUGE voice and amazing stage personality. I honor his memory!

Category:general -- posted at: 6:17pm EST

We adored this "king of the comprimarios," who made the smallest role important. He was born on Mar.5, 1893 and would have sung even past his 60's, had he not died in an auto crash. One of the most delightful things he sang was the old Prisoner in Perichole, where he cracked us up with his "leeetle pen knife." He was beloved by all of us!

Category:general -- posted at: 4:18pm EST

I was just directed to the Youtube clip of this escappe from a mental institution. She is all over Youtube, and when I watched the Semiramide aria, I sent it to Joyce Di Donato,who might decide to retire,since she could never equal her rendition. I tell you one advantage of this...that I never felt so NORMAL in my life after seeing this.

In your country, are there any singers .ike this?

Category:general -- posted at: 10:19pm EST

 In the event that you just joined this site, I wanted you to have an idea of what the La Puma Opera Co.was like. It was not nice for them to throw us out at a Don Giovanni..but you can get the idea. Since they performed in an elementary school auditorium, they must have used the third-graders' orchestra. The company became a kind of "cult experience" amd attracted more and more people who wanted to pppppp in their pantalones!

Category:general -- posted at: 11:04am EST

 Hey!!!! Who has so much voice at 87. Lucine turns 89 on Mar.1 and she continues to sound as young and fresh as anyone could sound at her age. She saved many Met shows and retained so much of the voice. I made her tapes from 1948, and believe me, there is still that youthful quality.

Happy birthday to a fun lady!!!!!

Category:general -- posted at: 3:35pm EST

Category:general -- posted at: 6:47pm EST

  If I had to pick ONE,just ONE commercial recording of ANYONE, this aria for me sung by the fabulous Lehmann,born Feb.27, 1888, would be my choice. This "Ich ging zu ihm" from Korngold's "Das Wunder der Heliane" for me is the most lasting tribute to her greatness.

Category:general -- posted at: 2:34pm EST

 Il Guarany (Gomes) duet with Enrico Caruso (born Feb.25 or 27) in 1873, and Emmy Destinn, born Feb.26, 1878. What more can one say????

Category:general -- posted at: 11:44am EST

 People wonder why I am so critical of the carryings-on of Franco Bonisolli. In the words of Anna Russell, "tenors have resonance where their brains should be." Of course that is not true in general, but if you heard all the crazy speeches-to-audiences the man makes during live performances and his general conduct as a singer, you might agree that he gives tenors a very bad name!

  However, he has a lot of fun in this San Francisco Gala (wearing Errol Flynn's boots) and the C's are fabulous. He died too soon, and I am indeed sorry, but I always felt a superb talent was partly  wasted with his carryings-on.

 By the way, he always DEMANDED an encore of the aria. On a Vienna tape, he yells "Wasser' before the first high C and gets booed. I do not know if he sang it twice that night, but anyway you cannot say he was dull!

Category:general -- posted at: 10:24pm EST

What nostalgia!!!

Those of you who have ever been a part of an opera workshop will understand what goes into performing opera in the communities. Paul Plishka sent me this photo from about 55 years ago. He is the Colline and Ted Lambrinos (at right) is Marcello. At left is Dickie Boyajian and Robert Swanson (Schaunard.)

  The young guy seated is Charlie Handelman as Benoit. I also did Alcindoro, and in fact over the years I did every male role in Boheme, except Rodolfo. They would not let me do the Musetta because they said I did not have the LEGS.

Our beloved maestro was Armen Boyajian, teacher of Sam Raney,Paul,Galvany, and me. We worked hard, and it was worth it. This meant so much to me, to see Paul, who had an illustrious career, and all oif us together.

Category:general -- posted at: 9:51pm EST

So tell me, my this not a great tenor?????? (and in high key)

Category:general -- posted at: 2:12pm EST

 Turkey had given us the great Leyla Gencer, and now from this land we have one of the most magnificent tenors, and this finale is so touching..but outdoors in paris it must be cold.!

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  For those of you who use I-Tunes for my podcasts, there is availability for comments.I would greatly appreciate your feedback.

                                       As ever Charlie

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

In 1971, under the great maestro Armen Boyajian, we did Anna Bolena in Paterson,New Jersey.We had a great company, but this performance means so much to me,because it was the beginning of the great career of Sam Ramey, and Galvany was incredible. The high D (held forever) comes out a bit drowned out,but you can hear it. I was the Rochefort and ran out of breath at the end of this scene.How could anyone keep up with her???

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

Imagine what we felt as the Ballo curtain rose on the debut of the great Marian Anderson, born Feb.17, 1897. So sad that bigotry prevented many fine Afro-American artists from appearing at the Met,or in some cases, on ANY opera stage. Bless her memory!!

Category:general -- posted at: 2:37pm EST

  Another compilation of material from my files. I hope you enjoy the selections, and remember what "fun" you can have if you give an opera party and ask the guests to guess, giving prizes for the winners.

1.  Julia Varady             Aria from Puccini's Edgar

2. Shirley Verrett          Favorita Cabaletta (We went nuts at Carnegie Hall.)

3-4.  Leonard Warren   Ernani and Pagliacci arias

5. Ljuba Welitch             Vissi d'arte

6.Dolora Zajick                Principessa aria from Adriana

7. Milanov/Bjoerling      Ballo Love duet

8. Janet Baker                Traume

9. Alessandro Bonci       Luisa Miller aria

10. Maria Callas              Puritani  "Vieni al tempio"

11. Steber/Kullman       Carmen act one duet

12. Enrico Caruso           "Mia piccirella"  (Makes me CRAZY!)

 13. Renata Scotto          Butterfly "Che tua madre."

 14. Mario del Monaco     Otello  "Dio mi potevi"

 15. Marisa Galvany         What else but the famous Aida act 2 E flat.

 16.  Nicolai Gedda            Manon  "Ah fuyez."

  17-18   Leyla Gencer/Cornell Macneil and then Hilde Gueden/Leonard Warren in the Rigoletto  "Si,vendetta' duet.

Direct download: stuff.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:24pm EST

Happy Valentine's Day

 Whether or not you celebrate Valentine's Day (Feb.14), I am sending this to you because you are all so supportive of my efforts to bring opera to more and more people around the globe, and make me so very happy. Love to you all!!!

Category:general -- posted at: 2:12pm EST

May I extend a happy birthday to one of the great singers in my opera experience. Johanna Meier was born on Feb.13, 1938, and I was so pleased to make her some live tapes a few years ago.She was superb in operas like Ariadne,Walkure, Tosca,etc. and this Liebestod is an example of her absolutely gorgeous voice.

Category:general -- posted at: 12:48pm EST

Happy No.91,Elizabeth Carron, my dear friend!


"Radiantly communicative" "Singing and acting with the authority of a great artist" "A transcendental artist" Such laudatory comments from critics and public alike have followed Elisabeth Carron's appearances throughout her career. With a repertoire of astonishing versatility, this superb American-born and trained singer has captivated scores of audiences with her exceptional vocal range and theatricality.

Elisabeth Carron made her sparkling debut in the role of Cio-Cio-San in New York City Opera's Madama Butterfly in 1957, immediately establishing herself as a ranking Puccini stylist. "Visually and vocally she has made the role her own." (Musical America). Other reviewers deemed it "an exquisite performance", pointing out that "Miss Carron's voice is assured, pure and in perfect control... a poignant and utterly believable creation".

Adding the roles of Mimi, Liu and Suor Angelica to her repertoire gained further acclaim and the ringing applause of appreciative audiences. An early career highlight was her appearance as Glauce in the Dallas Civic Opera's historic production of Cherubini's Medea, co-starring Maria Callas, Jon Vickers and Teresa Berganza. Her San Francisco Opera debut was made in the demanding role of Konstanze in Mozart's Abduction from the Seraglio, which, coupled with a stunning first-ever performance as Violetta in Verdi's La Traviata, earned her the designation of "the opera discovery of the year" and a reviewer's opinion that "She is a splendid actress, with the kind of petite, delicate, hothouse beauty that can make such a character as Camille come to life, and that she possesses an extraordinary singing voice".

Her mad scene in the title role of Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor was hailed as a masterpiece of rare dramatic intensity. She received more accolades as a Strauss specialist during a string of memorable performances as Zerbinetta, Daphne and Aithra. The New Yorker magazine singled out her portrayal of Aithra, observing that she sang the "extraordinarily difficult high passages with ease and brilliance."

Miss Carron is equally at home interpreting contemporary works. She appeared in the original cast of the New York City Opera Company's revival of Marc Blitzstein's Regina in the role of Birdie Hubbard. Musical America magazine added to her laurels with verbal bouquets for her "beautiful voice and touching portrayal of Regina's poor, broken, driven-to-drink sister-in-law." Her stand-out performance is a highlight in the Columbia Records production of Regina. Raymond Ericson, the distinguished New York Times music critic, included the Columbia recording in his "Best of Opera" discography. Miss Carron also won praise for her rich evocation of Anna Maurrant in Kurt Weill's Street Scene and her sensitive interpretation of Maria Corona in Giancarlo Menotti's The Saint of Bleeker Street, another dynamic role subsequently recorded.

Miss Carron was a respected member of the Vocal Faculty of the famed Manhattan School of Music. She has been instrumental in the development of many outstanding young talents. Her students have won major singing competitions and have gone on to productive careers. She is frequently called upon to serve as a judge in prestigious vocal competitions.

Though Miss Carron's career included performances with nearly every major American opera company as well as international appearances, she is one of a generation of American singers whose artistry is not adequately documented by recordings. Elisabeth Carron - Opera Singer

Category:general -- posted at: 8:55pm EST

Adelina Patti

Adelina Patti had a warm, crystalline, and very agile high soprano voice.[10] Her vocal emission was of perfect equality and her vocal range was wide, from low C to high F (C4 - F6).[10] Regarding her technique, critic Rodolfo Celletti said, "Her voice was a technical marvel. The staccatos were marvels of accuracy, even in the trickiest intervals, her legato was impressively smooth and pure; she connects the voice from note to note, phrase to phrase, lifting and gliding with an exceptional virtuosity. Her chromatic scale was deliciously sweet, and her trill was wonderful and solid."[11]


Adelina Patti 1905 recordings. A sensational singer,even at age 62.

The selections are as follows:

Voi lo sapete, Pur dicesti, Old folks at home,Batti,batti, Jewel song,Il Bacio, Last Rose of Summer, Ave maria (Bach-Gounod), Robin Adair, Home sweet home, Si vous n'avez rien a me dire, Comin' thrpugh the rye, Banks of Allen Water, On parting, 'Twas within a mile, New Year message to her hisband, Baron Rolf Cederstrom, Kathleen, La Serenata, Casta Diva, Connais tu le pays, Ah non credea.  (65 min.)

Direct download: Patti.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:16pm EST

This sensational basso was born on Feb.10, 1923. Siepi had a voice of pure velvet.I saw him countless times, and he remains one of the greatest singers EVER!!!!

Category:general -- posted at: 1:56pm EST

What can be more heartwarming than to see the retirn, in Genoa, of the wonderful Aprile Millo in "Il Tabarro."?  She has retained the beauty of tone, and the kind of Italianate style that is rare today.(Not to mention the optional high C in the aria.).

 All these years,she has been so loving and kind to me and I am so happy for her!!!!!

Category:general -- posted at: 9:38am EST

   Claudia Muzio was so famous for her Traviata Letter..and to celebrate her birthday on Friday, Feb.7, we present the great Mari Lyn, who follows in her great tradition..and her TraviYENTA has caused many people to commit SUICIDIO!!!!

Category:general -- posted at: 9:10pm EST

 WHY do they do not do this opera?? Maybe because Virginia is not around...Note act two love is amazing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!   I am upset..i never hear my own tapes!!!!

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Act three Butterfly scenes with my darling "sister" Virginia Zeani!!!!!!

Category:general -- posted at: 12:53pm EST

 It is most appropriate, on Martina Arroyo's birthday (Feb.2), to begin to celebrate Black History Month, and also to relate some of my past experiences with Afro-American artists.
          Sadly, not until Marian Anderson's 1955 Met debut as Ulrica (which was one of my most thrilling experiences, as that curtain rose and the audience cheered), Afro-American artists did not sing at the Met. I was able to hear Lawrence Winters, Adele Addison, and Camilla Williams at City Opera in the early 1950's, but imagine what other artists were lost to the Met earlier.
           Owing to the Marian Anderson breakthrough, Met audiences (myself included) were pleased to have heard such artists as Leontyne Price, Reri Grist, George Shirley, Gloria Davy, Mattiwilda Dobbs, Robert McFerrin, Leona Mitchell, Grace Bumbry, Simon Estes, Jessye Norman, and my all-time love, Shirley Verrett, etc.
             The unfortunate element of course, is that race prejudice denied many of the artists before Anderson an opportunity to be heard in the great Met, but at least Mr. Bing made the breakthrough, however late. We must be thankful at least for the precedent set by Mme.Anderson, and we owe much to her historic debut.

Category:general -- posted at: 10:44am EST

  We were ripping programs and tossing them down!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  When she took the high A at the end on "AMOOOOOORE"..a friend was so aghast, he hit me in the ribs and I almost fell to the standing room floor!!!!!!! You could not imagine what it was like!!!!!!

Category:general -- posted at: 11:30am EST

Happy Birthday to Renata Tebaldi

    January 31, 1955. Weather like New York last week. A teenager wakes up at 4:00 and arrives at the Met at 6:00 for his first Otello,featuring the debut of the lady whose birthday (then unkown to us) was Feb.1. The teen enters a telephone booth (remember them?). A cop asks him what he is doing there.The guy says, "Waiting for the opera tonight." Shortly, another group of nutcases get on the standee line, to freeze until 7:00P.M..
       Feb.1, 1955..about 12:00 and out comes the lady who became our "madre" and in freezing cold weather,signed every single program, and it was her 33rd birthday!!!
  So you understand why Feb.1 means so much to me and to those who were privileged to have this incredible lady..on and off a "buddy" in our teen years.
      Bless your memory, dearest Renata Tebaldi. You will remain forever in our hearts!!                                     

Category:general -- posted at: 11:20am EST

  To that great guy,Marcello Giordani, who celebrates his birthday on Jan.25  (1963)...I wish him the best. He recalls the SQUILLANTE tenors of the past. Live at the Met he shakes the chandeliers!!!!!

                                                        Love from Charlie

Category:general -- posted at: 1:29pm EST

Anna Loves the Snow!!!!

  New York is suffering under the worst icy-cold weather conditions in many years;however, we were cheered up when,during our snowstorm, that the delightful Anna Netrebko decided to have a little fun on her balcony.

  The photo has made so many of us happy, and let me share it with you!

Category:general -- posted at: 9:44am EST

   On her Jan.22 (1897) birthday we think of the person who once said, "First you have Caruso and Ponselle..and THEN come singers!"  No words are adequate to describe this phenomenon. Retired in 1937 after a feud with the Met, but left a great legacy of recordings unequalled in opera history.

Category:general -- posted at: 10:23pm EST

  I was outside the Met stage door a few years ago after a Macbeth and this guy,whom I never met, looked at me and said,"Are you Charlie??You are more famous than I." This was our first encounter....Joe is a sweetheart of a man, and we wish him a happy Jan.22 birthday. Lovable in every way!!!!!

Category:general -- posted at: 10:18pm EST

  Placido in Pique Dame on his birthday!!   Wonderful singing!!!!!!!

Category:general -- posted at: 10:39am EST

   I may kid around and may not agree with all of Placido's choices of repertory these days, but who could ever deny his incredible contribution to the world of music for 50 years, and so from this birthday boy to him, I wish him a wonderful happy birthday (Jan.21).   Charlie

Category:general -- posted at: 10:35am EST

Compilation No.5

 For your opera parties, here is another pot-pourri. (No narration.):

1.  Margarete Klose    Orfeo                     "Che faro"  (In Deutsch)

2.   Anna Moffo             Puritani                "Vien,diletto."

3. Elena Nikolaidi         Macbeth Sleepwalking Scene  (dig the TEMPI!)

4.  Theodore Uppman        "Nancy Hanks"

5. Julia Varady              Macbeth              "La luce langue"

6-7.    Leonard Warren  arias from Ernani and Barbiere

8. Licia Albanese and Afro Poli in Boheme act three scene.

9. Daniele Barioni         Mme.Butterfly    "Addio,fiorito asil":  (I adored that voice!)

10. Jussi Bjoerling         Turandot             "Nessun dorma"

11. Giuseppe Di Stefano      Aida               "Celeste Aida"

12. Leonce Escalais          Robert le Diable aria  (squillo like crazy!)

13. Mirella Freni                  Fedora             "O grandi occhi."

14. Christa Ludwig        Samson et Delilah     "Mon coeur"

              I sincerely hope you like these compilations. I think they are fun!!!!!

(ERROR:  Add Alessandro Ziliani Dame Blanche aria after the Warren selections.)

Direct download: Fifth_Comp.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:56pm EST

  I always brought opera to my foreign language students, and even staged the shaving scene from the Barbiere once. Kids need to be brought UP to appreciate what the arts are all about.

  In the Bronx, New York, the absolutely brilliant and lovable counter-tenor, Anthony Roth Costanzo has brought opera to sixth grade kids and I am just overwhelmed by his efforts. You do not have to be a teacher to love what you see here. May he continue on this quest to educate young people in this way, and of course continue to thrill opera audiences all over the globe.

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

The brilliantly talented Angela Meade at the Richard Tucker Gala last year in the Due Foscari aria.They do NOT make them like this most of the time....

Category:general -- posted at: 8:58pm EST

 Here is the clip....Have fun..I think!!!!

Category:general -- posted at: 1:17pm EST

  I was playing this the other day, and when Remola took a high J# above Z, three cats and seven dogs in the house all came to my door......not fair..I could not feed them!

Category:general -- posted at: 1:14pm EST

With all the music available to us, we still cannot “hear it all,” even in 10 lifetimes.
My dear buddy Bob Fazio became close with the fabulous Giovanni Martinelli in the great tenor’s later years,but he still had the same “white’ quality..I never really appreciated..BUT when you see a series of clips like realize the man was a vocal GOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (Forget the English)

Category:general -- posted at: 12:58pm EST

To ADORE for her absolutely amazing ability to tug at your heartstrings! Born Jan.6, 1903. Favero is part of the line of divas who possessed the kind of love of the vocal line that is totally ABSENT today. Along with Muzio, Scuderi, Zeani, Olivero,Albanese, Soviero, and Scotto, she transported you to a new dimension of emotion. Listen to what she accomplishes with a mere phrase. We who claim to know what these artists contributed LONG for someone who can follow them.

Category:general -- posted at: 3:18pm EST

GREAT voice...Grace Bumbry excelled in mezzo AND soprano roles..Born Jan.4, 1937, let us celebrate her wonderful career.

Category:general -- posted at: 7:32pm EST

Even after knowing someone 50 years, I am still amazed at what she accomplished, but too many critics never understood the greatness of Marisa Galvany..but you do!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We just had a Happy New Year talk about the divas who get know:Moedl,Callas,Olivero,etc. She started some master classes down in Raleigh, North Carolina.Mayber some day we can produce some divas who are not afraid to let it all hang out.    As ever Charlie,unpaid agent of about 5 divas.

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


Just to know these podcasts make you happy all year round, it is one of the joys of my life, and at this time may I wish you all,from Angola to Zanzibar (I cannot find the Angolese or Zanzibarese translations, but you get the idea.)

                                                               Your buddy   Charlie


Category:general -- posted at: 6:24pm EST

Mado Robin was amazing...Dec.29, 1919...Died of cancer so young!!! It was not a freak voice..she could really sing well,other than the high K over T..

Category:general -- posted at: 2:35pm EST

  Last season Piotr introduced me to the son of Jan Kiepura and Martha Eggerth, who has just passed away at 101. He then called "mom" from the dressing room. Here she is at around 90,with the same great style and love of the vocal line. May the dear lady rest in peace.  Charlie

Category:general -- posted at: 1:39pm EST

  For our lovable Piotr Beczala on his Dec.28 (1966) birthday!!! He has brought so much to us on and off stage. In all my years as an opera aficionado,I consider him so special and not only do we adore him on stage but also he is an affectionate lovable guy.

    He also affords me an opportunity to clear my tenor collection of the too many CD's I have purchased, which I happily bring him!!!!

Category:general -- posted at: 1:23pm EST

Direct download: 01_-_Baker-Jubals_Lyre.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:46pm EST

 Alex Penda, formerly Alexandrina Pendachanska, (name too long to sign autographs??), a Bulgarian soprano, sings in a manner totally ABSENT since the days of Callas and Galvany. I am stunned!!!!!

 May she continue to earn great praise in her career, and perhaps she will enlighten the opera world as to what exciting singing is all about (in the tradition of her beloved countryman (lady),Raina Kabaiwanska.

Category:general -- posted at: 2:29pm EST

Let us talk about STYLE!!!! Do we know any German singers who can top Bing Crosby????? This was a great man!!!   Happy Holidays!!!

Category:general -- posted at: 10:16am EST

  I am told we only get a portion of what that was!!!! I just CRY when the man opens his mouth!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Category:general -- posted at: 10:12am EST

To all of you great people

  Thanks so much for your interest and support, and may your holidays be happy ones!!!!!!!!!  (Even if you prefer Justin Bieber over Piotr Beczala.)

Category:general -- posted at: 8:54am EST

 Here it is!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Category:general -- posted at: 6:28pm EST

I always complain about the "Price-isms" that crept into the Price singing over the years;this is an example of TRUE GREATNESS!!!! I never understood why she resorted to so many strange sounds with that phenomenal voice, but at least we hear what the reputation was all about here!!!!

Category:general -- posted at: 6:25pm EST

...Iwill not be able to do this.  Lina Vasta could teach some sopranos how to sing....Imagine,at 92!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Category:general -- posted at: 3:43pm EST

 Only a bunch of nutty people (like my friends and I) could run to Sam Ramey's house after this Maria Stuarda, put on my tape, and count how many seconds Galvany holds the E flat. This is called, living life!!!!" She still is a great friend, but I always feel badly that more people did not know her...however,YOU DO!!!

Category:general -- posted at: 3:40pm EST

So,do you agree?????????????????????

Category:general -- posted at: 4:49pm EST

 (With Franco Tagliavini).  Did i ever tell you my Raina story? Probably...but here it is again for new listeners:

    In 1972, we had a party for Leyla Gencer after her Atilla. The photos of all other divas were removed and only Leyla was on the walls.  New Years' walked Kabaiwanska, and staring at the walls, exclaimed, "What is this..a SHRINE????"  We cracked up!!!!

Category:general -- posted at: 11:06am EST

The great lady..Kabaiwanska born on Dec.15, 1934.Emerged as one of the most important divas!!!!!!

Category:general -- posted at: 11:01am EST

Dec.15, 1910..she almost made it to 100! I think this is the greatest rendition of this scene EVER!!!!!One of the greatest singers in opera history.

Category:general -- posted at: 10:57am EST

I have often stated that at  times a single line or word or even SYLLABLE out of the mouth of an artist can tell you something that is special about the singer. During last night's truly glorious Tosca performance by Sondra Radvanovsky, I realized that the "VI" of "Vissi d'arte" (I think that is an E flat) represented the level of brilliance of tone that was so special to me, and of course that voice last evening had to be the most glamorous since my olden "Antonietta Stella' days.
    Mme.Radvanovsky has grown into one of the most brilliant sopranos in my memory, and the tone just cuts through in middle,upper middle, and top (enormous up there) that is so thrilling you sit there in amazement;this from the supposed jaded Charlie,who has seen a few good Toscas over 60 years.
    If you take a section beginning "L'innamorata Tosca e prigioniera" in act one, where the tone just radiates through the house, or the end of the Vissi d'arte, which often kills a soprano, with remarkable control, you realize that there is an effortless stream of sound that is worthy of the ovation she received, and remember, I am the guy who usually says, "that audience knows nothing."
     When Tosca kills Scarpia in this staging, she stabs him over and over on each "muori," causing me to think of a certain soprano named Vera at a company called "Gran Scena" who does a bit more stabbing. Radvanovsky was on fire here, and let go with some angry outbursts (also as in "sogghigno di demone," and later "Aiuto!" as Scarpia is on top of poor Tosca on the floor.
  In sum, she was fabulous, even after all the superb Toscas you know I have seen!!!
   Marcello Giordani was his usual brilliant self, singing top notes ("La vita mi costasse' and "Vittoria" reminiscent of a Corellian brilliance, and he sings the "E lucevan" with some beautiful pianissimi and amazing breath control. I am glad he will do Radames next season and thankfully in act two,unlike Mr.Alagna, he WILL sing the top notes. I found it lots of fun that when the two of them sang the B on "diffonderem!" in act three, the two voices were so equally brilliant that I long for the two of them in the Andrea Chenier act four final duet.
    Mr.Gagnidze was a very exciting Scarpia,singing and acting with great emotion and power;it is not a great voice, but in this role he was able to sustain the level of "evil" and he was extremely effective, especially dancing with the three hookers.
     I find it an extra blessing that the Met uses  John Del Carlo (not a buffo voice) as the Sacristan, Eduardo Valdes, a bright-voiced tenor, as Spoletta, and Richard Bernstein,who should be elevated to larger roles, as Angelotti.
Thankfully, the olden days of having so-called "voiceless comprimarios" is gone,  and even in smallish roles, these artists make a mark.
        So you see, even after having heard some of the truly great Toscas, I was thrilled that I could enjoy an evening where i could resonant with many bravoes for a fine cast.    GREAT NIGHT!!!!      As ever,  Il puzzo del giardino.

Category:general -- posted at: 6:30pm EST

  My review follows.

Category:general -- posted at: 6:26pm EST

 Who said that first come Caruso and Ponselle and THEN come singers??? This is from 1951..She retired in 1937...she had "issues." LORD, this is from heaven!!!!!

Category:general -- posted at: 9:20pm EST

VAT?????? You seeeng my aria like theees??You may be cuter, but vat are you doink to my best aria??? EEf I vas not ded, I vud come and keeeel you!!!!!!!

   I am glad I am retired.......     ZM


Category:general -- posted at: 8:49pm EST

Yesterday those jerks at Scala booed Beczala at opening Traviata. The tradition of the "Loggionisti' is a disgrace and Piotr has received an incredible amount of praise.

   Those "Italian traditions" to many of us are just disgusting..but he has received a tremendous amount of support and his own posts show he is a gentleman..well,they booed Callas and Freni and Pavarotti,so he is in great company!!!!!

Category:general -- posted at: 1:04pm EST

Born Dec.9, 1895 and sadly died so young in childbirth. One of the most charming singers with the "smile' in the voice; however, not easy to accept the "goat-like' vibrato. You have to accept the "whole package."

Category:general -- posted at: 12:02pm EST

 On Dec.7, the 150th birthday of Pietro Mascagni, here is an example of his wonderful music, other than Cavalleria Rusticana, as Virginia Zeani, Umberto Borso, and a loud prompter sing this duet from Piccolo Marat,which they ENCORE!

Category:general -- posted at: 10:04am EST

Sometimes someone comes along that enriches your life. Piotr to me is the guy who has made going to the opera a delight...and it is also my pleasure to bring him good tenor stuff from my collection. He is a great artist and a sweet guy..

Category:general -- posted at: 1:26pm EST

Dec.5, 1946 this great tenor was born. He did get into heavy repertory which shortened his career,even before the illness. However, he raised 750 million dollars for Leukemia, and that alone was a fabulous achievement. Bless him!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Category:general -- posted at: 6:36pm EST

Here she is again!!!!!! That is some talent...and the F is so solid/ What I like is that she is not a"chirpy" coluratura. Bless her!!!!!

Category:general -- posted at: 6:25pm EST

  Tell me she will have a HUGE career!!!!!!!! Only THIRD prize in Operalia competition. This is specikal!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Category:general -- posted at: 4:08pm EST

 The 66 year old Edita Gruberova is one if the most exciting, if a big eccentric in vocal production, artists in the universe. I love especially the way she usually "swoooops' up to the top;not here, but she is so involved and people travel all over the globe to see her!!!!!

Category:general -- posted at: 11:43am EST

  As a language teacher,I always had aspirations of learning and performing this. Ruggero Raimondi is absolutely BREATHTAKING in this Viaggio a Rheims aria!!!

Category:general -- posted at: 11:28am EST

I present another selection by the "new discovery" (for me),Turkish tenor, Bulent Bezduz. After Leyla, I never thought I would find another wonderful singer from his land.  Bravo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Category:general -- posted at: 10:44pm EST

 "Una furtiva lagrima"' featuring the beautiful Turkish tenor voice of Bulent Bezduz. Like the ending?????????????????

Category:general -- posted at: 10:38pm EST

 One of my new "Met Opera buddies" is the fine  Czech basso,Stefan Kocan, acclaimed last season for the Sparafucile in the new Rigoletto. I am happy to bring him some cd's of famous bassos,etc. so I can have some room in my house! Here is the great scene from Don Carlo with Rene Pape.

It is gratifying to me when a present-day artist takes interest in the treasures of the past, and I am happy to be of help in this regard. Tomorrow (Dec.2) I see Stefan as Gremin in Eugene Onegin, and I know it will be a fine performance.

Category:general -- posted at: 10:21pm EST

Supposedly Beverly Sills once said she would rather have five years like Callas instead of 25 years of her...Callas 1949-1955 could never be bettered!!!!

Category:general -- posted at: 7:51pm EST

  Dec.2 (1923) is the birthday of Maria Callas. What more can anyone say???????????

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

The ONLY live video footage of Zinka!!!!!!!!  Can you understand why I went nuts...88 times......

Category:general -- posted at: 11:05am EST vant to know vy Charlie Handelman vent NUTS at every Chenier? Leesen to the reprise of the "Ora soave" ven I do a double attack in ppp and seeng "O-Ora soave." Also leesen to my friend Bergonzi ven he starts his own "Or soave" in pianissimo. Thanks to God it vas not Meester Baum!!!!

Category:general -- posted at: 2:23am EST

  It may be distant, but Nelly Miricioiu shows us what an exciting Norma is!!!!! I am just discovering her...well,there is so much material. She is wonderful and has an enormous repertory. Check her out!!!!!!!!!!

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

  After the fabulous Mexico Aida in 1972, my dear maestro Armen Boyajian accompanies Marisa Galvany in the Vespri aria!!!!  High EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!

Category:general -- posted at: 7:16pm EST

WHY I think Virginia Zeani is the greatest!!!!! She is also for me the only link to singers of the past, and she still has E flats (on the phone).She is "family."

Category:general -- posted at: 8:03pm EST

  Too exciting for the Met..CHEST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  She is wonderful!!!!!!!!!

Category:general -- posted at: 1:35pm EST

The guy is GREAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!   Turkish tenor with a superb voice. Look at Youtube for many selections. Jose Cura, thankfully, only conducts.

Category:general -- posted at: 1:30pm EST

 I saw Erin Morley the other night as Sophie in Rosenkavalier at the Met. She was radiant, but here she shows off high G!!!!!!!!!  If only one of these girls could sing Gioconda!!!!

Category:general -- posted at: 12:07pm EST

I have a lot to be thankful for

  Whether or not you celebrate Thanksgiving, it is still a time for me to give MY personal thanks to all of you for your continued support and interest and patience when there is a glitch. My life has been enriched so much by being able to spread the word to you about what opera means to me and to all of you, and to present great treasures of the past.  I wish you all my best!!  Charlie

Category:general -- posted at: 11:35am EST

I am really so tired of being Galvany's unpaid agent...but i guess it is worth it,knowing how people adore her most remarkable singing. I think this is a sensational example of vocal technique.

  I think Zinka said, "The girl vill not last!!!!!!!"

Category:general -- posted at: 2:36pm EST

NOTE: Use of chest voice (the word"muoja") and some "authoritative"attacks on certain phrases. This is a special artist for me, and I am so happy to have heard heard. We wish her the best!!!!

Category:general -- posted at: 2:15pm EST

After the great Gilda of Mme.Lungu, I went to Youtube and was ASTOUNDED that this "little Gilda' was able to became a totally different soprano,according to this music...great low notes, much dramatic thrust..How many singers can adapt this way to various vocal challenges????

  She was also as lovable backstage as anyone can be!!!!!!

Category:general -- posted at: 2:03pm EST

 How thrilling to discover a new voice. Irina Lungu's Gilda was so gorgeous, and as a person she is as radiant as her voice...I hope she does more and more here because we NEED her brand of soprano....LOVE HER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Category:general -- posted at: 1:58pm EST

From 1969..I never knew about this....I thought i knew of every BREATH she took...Imagine the chest voice and then the e flat.......

Category:general -- posted at: 10:35pm EST

 Guardian of the fountain in last night's FRAU...He is a Met audition winner..He hit one top note that made me feel he would major talent!!!!!

Category:general -- posted at: 10:12pm EST


  Hi all,

     Still have a few glitches, although not quite as bad as our Healthcare computer site, but i will send you some nice videos to keep you busy until I resolve this. I do not want to lose my fan club!!!!

Category:general -- posted at: 8:05am EST

Diana Soviero in Opera News

       It was the greatest delight for me this evening to open up Opera News and read this article about Diana Soviero, who has been a friend since 1977, when I was astounded at her Mimi, and felt she was a rare throwback to the days of Albanese,Tebaldi,De Los Angeles,etc. When I asked her something like, "Who are you?" and mentioned that I had not heard a soprano who combined the finest elements of both Stimme and Kunst divas, and who made me think of Tebaldi, she told me how Tebaldi has kissed her when she was a young lady. THAT FIGURED!!
       All you need to do is go to Youtube and watch her final scene from Suor Angelica and you will best understand, as it mentions in the article, that she falls into the Zeani,Scotto, Olivero, Freni mold. I know people who have told me that a regular sized hanky is not enough for them, and they needed more of a large towel to catch the tears!
           I have always believed that it is a rare trait of Diana to be able to sing so beautifully, with lush tone, great range, and CHEST VOICE (which practically no one uses today) and at the same time emote with the kind of depth that more often a "flawed" diva possesses, but she also sings so flawlessly, and does not have to "compensate' in any way.
          In the article she speaks of singing sick, and that reminds me of the "Bronchial Violetta" at City opera, where I did not know she was ill, and we were literally banging on the proscenium to witness a Violetta for the ages.
            Another very special element in Diana's art is the way she uses even one WORD to express a certain emotion, as for example the "Lui" in act one Tosca in the phrase, "Ed io veniva a LUI tutto dogliosa." It is an example of how she uses a single word to bring out the depth of emotion. (cf.Magda Olivero's career.)
         I am so happy for her, and for all of her many students who will be able to learn so much of what she has to offer, but as you well know, I am still waiting for another such diva, but perhaps she can produce some as a result of her amazing ability to convey emotion,while improving vocal technique.
          So tell us,O Charlie, what you think of her?       Best always, Charlie      

Category:general -- posted at: 1:31am EST

What opera should be (and mostly AIN'T these days), when the PRODUCTION counts more than the artists!!!!!!

Category:general -- posted at: 3:56pm EST

This Rysanek Met farewell in Pique Dame will illustrate the adoration we all felt for her, born Nov.14, 1926. She knew of her prognosis at the time of her farewell, a courageous woman. Yes, she had vocal flaws, and went through a bad period in the early 1960's, but NO ONE was more committed to the stage in our experience, and she "owned" roles like the Frau Empress and Senta in the Flying Dutchman. She will remain forever in our hearts.

Category:general -- posted at: 3:36pm EST

More Great Music

November 2022
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