The new Opera News features bios of young artists, and one is the magnificent Latonia Moore, who stepped in last year and made her Met debut as Aida on the broadcast. She brought down the house at Carnegie in Puccini's "Edgar" two years ago, and just go to Youtube to sample more of her art, and remember that I have heard them all!  ((I even dated Melba.)

Category:general -- posted at: 3:17pm EDT

   Even in 1973 we can tell what a fabulous voice this was. "Pippo" was born on July 24, 1921 and as I have stated many times, he destroyed a fabulous voice by singing heavier repertory and forgetting what a passaggio is. However, perhaps in the history of tenor singing, he would rank way up there for an incredibly gorgeous natural voice.  Rest in Peace!

Category:general -- posted at: 10:45pm EDT

  My darling "big sister," Virginia Zeani, one of the greatest sopranos...70 plus roles...and a legend!!!!!!

Category:general -- posted at: 10:38am EDT

  Piotr is much more than a "singer." He has the depth of emotion, the love of the vocal line, and all the elements that constitute great singing!!!!!

Category:general -- posted at: 1:06am EDT

  Susan Graham, one of opera's finest artists, celebrates her birthday on July23. Here is Mme.Graham in a scene from a modern production of Ariadne. Happy birthday to a great star!!

Category:general -- posted at: 11:41am EDT

 Diana Soviero in a scene from Act Two of mme.Butterfly. She combines the great voice with the kind of emotion of a Muzio, a Zeani, an Albanese. Enjoy!!!

Category:general -- posted at: 7:08pm EDT

Licia Albanese, a living legend, turns 103 on July 22, 2012. Last time we met, I walked (slowly) with her (she is tiny) and reminded her of how I loved her Boheme with Gigli. I don't meet legends every day!!!!

Category:general -- posted at: 2:07pm EDT

   "Novun can compare vith me,you know!!"  (and she vas right!!)

Category:general -- posted at: 10:06pm EDT

What can I tell you??? The Wagner grandaughters are directing these new productions of poor Richard, who might be revived and say, "Gee, I never thought of that!!" As I say, on a certain "level"  (Twilight Zone??), the productions are entertaining, although I need someone to tell me what is going on and why???? I leave it to you to enjoy these productions in some way or totally get sick.  Have fun!!!

Category:general -- posted at: 3:33pm EDT

  I just realized that to see past podcasts,you look at the calendar on the right, and click on a date that is in blue. Otherwise you can scroll down only to a limited number of posts. I do hope you enjoy the new videos (even me)..Charlie

Category:general -- posted at: 11:37pm EDT

 The magnificent Eleanor Steber was born on July 17, 1914. The performances I saw with her were unforgettable. Here is but one sample and I hope you think of her as affectionately as I do.

Category:general -- posted at: 10:36pm EDT

  If I may, here is my Alvise with Jennifer Zarchy as Laura. It was a few years ago. I am NOT a bass, but considering I cannot read music..not too bad. If you want me to delete myself, let me know. If you are nice to me, I may someday put up my Monterone..Minestrone..MELITONE...  BE KIND!!!!

Category:general -- posted at: 11:16pm EDT

 See how nice it is to give you a video sample after an audio podcast???? I hope you enjoy it and can hear that fabulous middle voice of Di Stefano (1975, Tokyo.)  Enjoy!!!!

Category:general -- posted at: 5:19pm EDT

  Next year the Met sets their Rigoletto in 1960 La Vegas.(Piotr...you may be Frank Sinatra), so you see this stuff is coming over the ocean. I do not say it is not "fun" on one level, but do you approve of this new kind of "interpretation?" If you turned the sound off, could you recognize the opera????

Category:general -- posted at: 9:33am EDT

COME T'AMO!!!!!!

OK...This is all for tonight, but I had to practice doing this. I have heard Zinka's "note" 1000 times plus, and i still cannot believe it!!!!!

                                                         (I once had hair)

Category:general -- posted at: 10:47pm EDT

 Before I fully matured (like now), I made up a scream tape to be played at parties. If you can guess most of them I will give you all my Andrea Bocelli tapes.  Have fun..but keep little kids and animals away when you play this!!!

                                          Addio, senza rancor.

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

NEW FEATURES

Hello all,

     Many of us have known individuals who have changed our lives for the better, and, as we note on this site, I can be of some benefit to others, as a result of my buddy,James Jorden (La Cieca) helping me to create a site where opera lovers around the world can enjoy the great treasures that opera holds. 

     Today Mr.Jorden (in photo) helped me to add two new features. One is the ability to post videos directly from Youtube, and the other is to set up a hyperlink, so that on occasion you click a URL and go directly to other videos.  I hope this adds to your enjoyment of these podcasts, and if you have any special comments or requests, write me at Placido21@aol.com.

                                                My best

                                                     Charlie

Category:general -- posted at: 10:22pm EDT

The great Nicolai Gedda.

  NOTE: I now can put videos on this site!!!  Aren't you happy????????????????????

Category:general -- posted at: 3:08pm EDT

In memory of the late Charles Anthony, on his birthday, July 15, here is a sample of one of his master classes.

Category:general -- posted at: 2:47pm EDT

Carlo Bergonzi sings his farewell at Carnegie Hall.


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

Ebe Stignani, Born July 11, 1903..The GREATEST EVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I have played you a lot of my all-time favorite mezzo,Ebe Stignani.Here on her July 11 birthday, is some info.on her great career. Much adored in opera circles.

Born in Naples in 1903[1] (some sources cite her year of birth as 1904[2]), Ebe Stignani studied music for five years at the San Pietro a Majella Conservatory in Naples, including piano and composition as well as singing. The date of her singing début is usually said to have been in 1925 at the San Carlo opera house in Naples, in the role of Amneris in Verdi's Aida, but there is evidence that she may have sung a number of roles in the previous year. In 1926, she was invited to La Scala Milan by Arturo Toscanini to sing the part of Princess Eboli in Verdi's Don Carlo, and Milan continued to be a principal stage for her during the rest of her career. She sang all of the major Italian mezzo-soprano roles, but also tackled Wagner's Ortrud (Lohengrin) and Brangäne (Tristan und Isolde), and Saint-Saëns's Dalila (Samson et Dalila) conducted by Victor de Sabata.

She appeared with the San Francisco Opera in 1938 and again in 1948 but never at the Metropolitan Opera in New York. She toured extensively in North America in the years after World War II. Her first appearance at Covent Garden was in 1937, as Amneris, and she returned to London a number of times, notably in the role of Adalgisa in partnership with Maria Callas's Norma in 1952 and 1957. In the second of the two 1957 performances the thunderous and sustained applause after the duet Mira O Norma led conductor John Pritchard to encore that last part, apparently the only time she ever sang an encore in opera in her career. She also appeared frequently in South America, including the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires, and in many other European cities outside Italy including Paris, Madrid, and Berlin (where she sang in 1933, 1937 and 1941). Among the new roles which she created during her career were Cathos in Felice Lattuada's Le preziose ridicole (1929), and La Voce in Respighi's Lucrezia (1937).

She retired from the stage in 1958 after appearances in London (as Azucena) and in Dublin (as Amneris). Thereafter, she lived quietly in retirement at her home in Imola. She had married in 1941 and given birth to a son in 1944.

Stignani's voice was large and rich in tone, if sometimes hard-edged, and evenly balanced throughout its considerable range (extending from a low F to a high C). It had sufficient flexibility for her to undertake such roles as Rossini's L'italiana in Algeri, but it was in noble, dramatic parts that she was heard to greatest effect. Critics often referred to the grandeur of her performances. By her own account, she was short and plump, and she admitted her shortcomings as an actress, but she achieved dramatic power and characterization through the quality of her voice and technique. She knew her priorities: speaking to Lanfranco Rasponi, she said, "I was given a magnificent gift, and in a way I am like a priestess, for I feel that it is my responsibility to keep the flame lit in the best possible manner... I am Stignani because of my voice". She was highly disciplined in her choice of roles and in the number of appearances she made, refusing to take assignments which she felt were not right for her voice, and this no doubt contributed to the longevity of her career at the highest level.

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

THANK YOU ALL (AGAIN!!!)

  Hello all,

      Every time I read the stats and see what interest you have in these podcasts,I am truly happy I can contribute to your pleasure. After all, I was turned on to opera by others, and so I am thankful to them that I can return the favor to you. I thank you again for all your sincere interest.

                                                As ever,

                                                     Carlo Magno, traditore(???)

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

   I was told..and correctly, that the Rigoletto debut was Joe Calleja....I can KILL the person who labelled it wrong..Maybe I need to listen to my own podcasts, and now i have to write Piotr and apologize.........

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

More Rise Stevens and a "friend."

  This was at our last club meeting in 1960 out at Rise's home on Long Island. The guy next to her did have hair at the time but look, time marches on!! How can I ever forget her?

Category:general -- posted at: 12:01pm EDT

In Loving Memory of Shirley Verrett

Born on May 31, 1931, I have always felt that Shirley Verrett ranks way up there with Simionato,Cossotto,etc. She was a marvelous singer, who blew the roof off with a magnificent voice, and I will never forget her. We lost her in 2010, but her memory lives on.

Category:general -- posted at: 5:42pm EDT

Happy Birthday, Teresa Stratas

  "My aunt sings opera," said a kid in my Spanish class one day. I thought to myself, "Big deal!." I was polite..."What is her name???"   TERESA STRATAS!!!!!!

Born May 26, 1938, she has had many emotional problems,but who can doubt her great artistry...Best to her!!!

Born: May 26, 1938 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Genre: Opera

Stratas is one of the controversial stars of the latter half of the twentieth century, and one whose personality and life, like that of Callas, another great soprano of Greek descent, are inextricably linked with her performances in the minds of many members of the public. Also like Callas, she had a special magnetism as a performer, due to her dramatic intensity and exceptional physical beauty. Her top became weak during her middle and late career and she lost some focus in the middle of her voice, which sometimes caused her to force. However, her performances on stage and on film were so riveting that most were willing to forgive those vocal flaws, and even her habit of canceling, usually due to nerves.

She grew up in Toronto and began singing in nightclubs and in her father's restaurant when she was twelve. Encouraged by her successes, including radio performances, and after being given a free ticket to La Traviata, an experience which she said overwhelmed her with the concept of what the human voice can do, she auditioned for the Opera School at the Royal College of Music in Toronto in 1954. She had never studied voice, knew opera only from that one performance, and brought Smoke Gets in Your Eyes as her audition piece, but her personality and potential talent were so impressive that she was admitted, and was such a quick learner that she made her debut with the Canadian Opera as Mimi in 1958, and won the Metropolitan Opera Auditions of the Air the next year, making her debut as Pousette in Manon the next year. In 1960, she created the title role of Glanville-Hicks' Nausicaa at the Athens Festival. Her Covent Garden debut was again as Mimi in 1961, and in 1962, she made her La Scala debut as Isabella in de Falla's Atlantida. In 1974, she came to international fame with her appearance as Salome on a television production of Salome, considered one of the very few singers in living memory who could convincingly portray Salome's transformation from naive teenager to depraved woman. In 1979, she sang the title role of the first performance of the three-act version of Berg's Lulu at the Paris Opera.

In the 1980s, she almost completely withdrew from the operatic stage, though she made notable recordings of Weill songs, and appeared in films of La Traviata and Amahl and the Night Visitors. She also explored Broadway, earning a Tony Award for best actress for her performance in Rags in 1986, and recorded Julie in Showboat. In 1981, she backpacked through India, where among other activities, she volunteered for Mother Teresa's projects in the poorest areas of the cities. In 1988, she returned to the Met to create the role of Marie Antoinette in Corigliano's The Ghosts of Versailles.

Category:general -- posted at: 11:55am EDT

Remembering "Bubbles."

   Let us remember the great Beverly Sills, born on May 25, 1929. She was an amazing artist, and was able to take a basically light coluratura voice, and often turn it into a voice that thrilled even in more dramatic roles. Rest in Peace.

Category:general -- posted at: 9:25pm EDT

Birgit Nilsson's Birthday

 Someone must have done something right on May 17, because both Zinka Milanov and Birgit Nilsson were born.(Nilsson in 1918, Zinka in 1906). Anyone here who never saw Nilsson live would need OXYGEN if they heard what that was like in live performance. She was an absolute MIRACLE in opera history, and beloved lady to all.

Swedish soprano Birgit Nilsson was born on May 17, 1918 in the town of Vastra Karup in the province of Skane (Scania) in southern Sweden. She married Bertil Niklasson, a veterinary student she met on a train, on September 10, 1948.

Miss Nilsson made her operatic debut on October 9, 1946 as Agathe in Der Freischütz with only 3 days notice. Her debut came shortly after she had joined the Swedish Opera School. After her brief stint as Agathe, Miss Nilsson made her breakthrough performance as Lady Macbeth in 1947 at the Royal Opera in Stockholm.

Miss Nilsson attained international stardom after a performance as Isolde in Wagner's Tristan und Isolde at the Metropolitan Opera in New York on December 18, 1959. She says, though, that the single biggest event in her life was when she was asked to perform at the opening of the 370th season at La Scala as Turandot on December 7, 1958.

In 1966, Miss Nilsson was asked to appear in a rather unusual performance at the Metropolitan Opera. During a showing of Tannhäuser, she was asked to sing the parts of both Venus and Elisabeth. They did not appear on stage at the same time, of course!

Birgit Nilsson is probably best known for her portrayals of Turandot in Turandot, Brünnhilde in Richard Wagner's Der Ring Des Nibelungen (a role with which she made her La Scala debut in 1958), Isolde in Tristan und Isolde, and Elektra in Elektra. Miss Nilsson is also known for her interesting relationship with Rudolf Bing. When Bing was asked if Birgit was difficult, he replied, "Not at all, you put enough money in and a glorious voice comes out." When preparing her taxes Miss Nilsson was asked if she had any dependents. "Yes," she said, "Rudolf Bing." Miss Nilsson retired from opera in 1984.


Comments? E-mail me here! (Please note: I am NOT Birgit Nilsson! I am just the person who made this page.)

Category:general -- posted at: 11:26pm EDT

God bless my Zinka!!!

 For May 17, Zinka's birthday (1906).No one thrilled me more from my first opera experiences and she became my favorite singer. Was I cute at 19? (Don't answer that!!!)   Never to be forgotten!!!!!

Born in Zagreb, Croatia as Zinka Kunc (pronounced [zîːŋka kûnt͡s]), she studied with the Wagnerian soprano Milka Ternina and her assistant Marija Kostrenčić. She also studied in Milan with Campi and in Vienna with Stickgolt. On October 29, 1927, she made her operatic debut as Leonora in Giuseppe Verdi's Il Trovatore in Ljubljana, Slovenia, at the young age of 21. Her debut in her native Croatia, at the National Theatre in Zagreb, took place five weeks later as Marguerite in Charles Gounod's Faust

After an early debut in Dresden (November 5, 1928, also as Leonora), her teacher, Ternina, was not pleased and much work commenced to perfect her technique. She performed in Zagreb and Ljubljana almost exclusively for the next six years. Later she became a member of the New German Theatre in Prague, where all performances were sung in German. She was discovered there by Bruno Walter, who recommended her to Arturo Toscanini for a performance of Verdi's Requiem in Salzburg.

In 1937, the soprano made her debut at the Metropolitan Opera, once again as Leonora. At that time she adopted the name Milanov, which was the stage name of her second husband, an actor. According to Milanov herself, "Kunc" wasn't "glamorous" enough for the Metropolitan Opera. In the article "Zinka Takes Off" (Opera News, November 2004, vol 69, no. 5), it is stated that the name change was deemed necessary since the gentlemen at the Met feared the "implications inherent in what they predicted would be the standard American mispronunciation — but they were never forthright with her about it".[citation needed] On November 8, 1937, Erich Simon, who was in charge of engaging Milanov, cabled Edward Ziegler, the assistant manager of the Met, "Mme Zinka KUNZ-MARCOVIC has informed me that she wishes to perform under her husband's stage name, MILANOV."[citation needed]

She was in romantic relationship with Marshal of Yugoslavia Josip Broz Tito, before he married Jovanka Broz. In 1947, she left the Met when she married, for the third time, to Yugoslav general and diplomat Ljubomir Ilić, and returned to live in Yugoslavia.[citation needed] She was at the peak of her artistic and vocal powers when she made her debut at the Teatro alla Scala as Tosca in 1950. Milanov returned to the Metropolitan Opera the same year, invited by Rudolf Bing in his first year there as general manager.[citation needed]

She gave her final performance in 1966 at the closing night of the old Metropolitan Opera House. Having worked as a voice teacher while still performing, Milanov devoted herself to teaching after her retirement. Among her pupils were Betty Allen, Grace Bumbry, Christa Ludwig, , Dubravka Zubovic and Milka Stojanovic. She recorded prolifically from the 1940s through to the 1960s. Her voice was well-suited to Italian operas such as those of Verdi, Ponchielli, Puccini and the verismo composers. She died in New York City, aged 83.

Category:general -- posted at: 11:15pm EDT

...and you thought there were no more Toscas.....

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mn0TfE1Hewc

The link is long..Instead of copying it,go directly to Youtube  VASSILKA PETROVA, but be careful you do not eat,drink, or have any small animals near the computer....

Category:general -- posted at: 12:26am EDT

Reminder of Mr.Friend of Opera Videos

Remember that there are 1240 wonderful videos on my "Mrfriendofpera" site."  Have fun!!

http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=FLES6h-GjCki9eZg4gNu5fLg&feature=mh_lolz

Go to Mr.Friend of opera site and click Zinka's photo at upper right.Then you see, and upper left the "Favorites".....Then scroll for what you want.

Here is the easiest way to access the site:

http://www.youtube.com/user/MrFriendofopera

Category:general -- posted at: 12:29pm EDT

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO DEAR APRILE MILLO

Geee.It is "Aprile in Aprile."  Happy birthday, April 14, to a dear lady and great singer. She is a sweetheart and I have always felt she was a kind of "spirit" for me personally since we first met.

                          Love from Charlie

Aprile Millo was born on April 14, 1958, in New York City. She was the daughter of Margherita Ghirosi and tenor Giovanni Millo, the first American hired by La Scala after World War II. She developed an early interest in music, and after graduating from high school in 1977, she was chosen to be one of the first eight apprentices at the San Diego Opera Center. A string of vocal awards followed, including the Geraldine Farrar Award, the Montserrat Caballé Award in Barcelona, and first prize in the Concorso Internazionale di Voci Verdiane in Bussetto, Italy.

Upon her return to the United States, Millo joined the Utah Opera Company in Salt Lake City. It was in Salt Lake City that she made her professional stage debut with the Utah Opera in the title role of Verdi's Aïda in 1980. The following year, she travelled to New York to attend the Metropolitan Opera's open-call auditions, where she was invited to take part in the company's Young Artists Development Program. The next several years were spent learning roles, refining her acting style, and perfecting her vocal technique. During this time, she made her La Scala debut replacing Mirella Freni as Elvira in Ernani on January 4, 1983.

In 1984, Aprile Millo was signed to a three-year contract by the Met that called for her to work primarily as an understudy. On December 3, 1984, she made her Metropolitan debut replacing Anna Tomowa-Sintow as Amelia in Simon Boccanegra, which critics described as "a blazing success". Three weeks later, on December 22, she performed the same role in her originally scheduled Met debut. The next year, in 1985, Millo took first prize in the Richard Tucker Competition.

On January 19, 1986, Millo made her Carnegie Hall debut in a concert version of Verdi's I Lombardi alla prima Crociata. That year, she also achieved success in the role of Aïda, singing the role in New York, as well as all over Europe and South America. It was as Aïda that she opened the 1989-90 Met season in an Emmy-winning production that was also telecast internationally.

During her career, Millo has made several recordings, including a debut CD of Verdi arias called Presenting Aprile Millo which was released by Angel Records in 1986. She also recorded the singing voice for Elisabeth Taylor in Zeffirelli's film, "The Young Toscanini". She has an extensive Met repertoire, including the Verdi heroines she is famous for (including Desdemona, Luisa Miller, Leonora in Il Trovatore) as well as some Puccini roles, including Liù in Turandot and as Tosca, a role she sang at the Met in the 98/99 season.


Go to my Soprano Bios

Category:general -- posted at: 12:17am EDT

Farewelll,my Zinka

    Zinka's sad farewell,on Apr.13, 1966, was the 88th and last time I heard that incredible voice live...but it will always be with me...forever. You know that when you are a teen and are turned on to a special artist,entertainer,sports figure,etc...that stays with you all your life.

    The greatest voice I ever heard!!!!!!!!!!!!

Photo:  Booohooo.I was once cute!!!!!

Category:general -- posted at: 8:21pm EDT

Rest in Peace, Lili Chookasian

So sorry to hear of the passing of a great singer. Rest in Peace,beloved lady!!!

Lili Chookasian (born August 1, 1921; died April 9, 2012) is an American contralto who has appeared with many of the world's major symphony orchestras and opera houses. She began her career in the 1940s as a concert singer but did not draw wider acclaim until she began singing opera in her late thirties. She arose as one of the world's leading contraltos during the 1960s and 1970s, and notably had a long and celebrated career at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City from 1962 through 1986. She was admired for her sonorous, focused tone as well as her excellent musicianship. She often chose, against tradition, to sing oratorios from memory.

Category:general -- posted at: 11:29am EDT

GOD BLESS YOU,FRANCO CORELLI

  What more can we say,as we remember Franco's birthday,on April 8, 1921! I saw him 40 times, and although there were times we wanted to shoot him (well,married to Loretta was not easy), he was ADORED!!!!!     God bless him forever!!

With a rich and ringing spinto tenor voice and movie-star good looks, Corelli won a wide public following from early on his career. However, while the public was enthralled with the tenor, music critics were divided, with some complaining about what they perceived as self-indulgence of phrasing and expression. During the 1960s the anti-Corelli sentiment among critics was epitomized by Alan Rich of the The New York Herald Tribune in a 1966 article which, while acknowledged the vibrancy and white heat of his singing, considered Corelli a throwback to an earlier era when, from Mr. Rich's perspective, musical compromises were common and stylistic refinement lacking. Rich said that, Corelli is "not employed by an opera, but employs it to serve purposes it was not meant to serve."[2] Also, many critics did not look favourably on his performances in French opera, owing to the tenor’s exotic French diction and style.[1] However, Corelli also had his admirers among several highly respected and notable critics, including Harold C. Schonberg of The New York Times, who once defended the expressive liberties taken by Corelli as possessing "its own kind of logic".[2]

Category:general -- posted at: 6:56pm EDT

YOU DID IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

     YIKES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

One million!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Send me all names and address and I will send you as a gift, Justin Bieber and Sarah Palin in the new Ring DVD which was just released on the  AIUTO.....SOCCORSO>>>>>>HILFE!!!!! label.

Now,Charlie...Is that nice???????????????????????????????

Sorry..It is 2 A.M. NY Time.....I have had some depression lately..and you brought me out of it..so I do not have to call Anna Netrebko to come over.


Look...I am not perfect...I would admit my faults .....if I had any........


Category:general -- posted at: 1:43am EDT

Happy No. 70 to my dear Sam Ramey

   Around 1970, after our "first premier basso" Paul Plishka, had already established himself as one of the fine bassos in opera, there arrived from Kansas a young man named Sam Ramey, and as part of the Paterson,New Jersey Company, under the marvelous Armen Boyajian, we began to sing many operas with Sam as the lead.

   It was my pleasure to sing in Anna Bolena,Boheme,Tales of Hoffmann, and Barbiere with Sam. We knew he had great talent, but as we know, he has had one of the great opera careers, and on this March 28, I wish him a happy birthday.

      Sam!!! Put your shirt on...you DEVIL!!!!!     Love   Charlie

Category:general -- posted at: 10:11pm EDT

Happy Number 60,my beloved Dolora Zajick

A FORCE OF NATURE!!!!  I always told Dolora we need to clone her...because there is NO ONE ELSE these days who sings like the "old-timers." 

                                               LOVE  from Charlie

                                                

Category:general -- posted at: 8:53pm EDT

The Great Norman Treigle, Born 3/6/23

Treigle was born in New Orleans, the fifth and final child of a poor carpenter and his wife. Following his 1946 marriage to the former Loraine Siegel, the bass-baritone began vocal studies with the contralto Elisabeth Wood. In 1947, he made his operatic debut with the New Orleans Opera Association, as the Duke of Verona in Roméo et Juliette.

Between 1949 and 1951, he attended Loyola University of the South's College of Music, while performing various roles with the local opera company.

In 1953, Treigle made his New York City Opera debut, as Colline in La bohème. Three years later, the bass-baritone scored his first significant success, as the tormented Reverend Olin Blitch, in the New York premiere of Floyd's Susannah. He made his European debut in this same opera, at the Brussels World's Fair, in 1958.

In succeeding seasons, Treigle became one of the top bass-baritones in North America, and was acclaimed as one of the world's foremost singing-actors. He sang in many experimental productions and participated in several important premieres, in operas by Einem, Copland, Moore, Floyd, Orff, Dallapiccola and Ward (The Crucible). Perhaps his greatest roles were in Faust (as Méphistophélès), Carmen (as Escamillo), Susannah, Il prigioniero, Les contes d'Hoffmann (the four Villains), Boris Godunov and, especially, Mefistofele.

Strange Child of Chaos: Norman Treigle.

In the autumn of 1974, Treigle made his London debut at Covent Garden in a new production of Faust. On February 16, 1975, Treigle was found dead in his New Orleans apartment. He had been diagnosed as a chronic insomniac and it was determined that he had consumed an accidental overdose of sleeping pills. By his first wife, he had a son (who died in 1993) and a daughter, Phyllis. He had also adopted the daughter of his second wife, from whom he was separated at the time of his death.

Category:general -- posted at: 10:32am EDT

VIVA LATONIA!!!!!

So,we had the Talmud, the Koran, War and Peace, Don Quijote (I had to read ALL of it), but now comes my review of the wonderful Latonia Moore's Met debut!!! (Do not worry,it will be somewhat shorter than the above.).For me, the most important element of the Aida was that the DUMB theory, totally dispelled by the marvelous low register of Latonia, that you cannot sing chest because "it shortens the top range."  Just take the phrase in act three " O patria,patria,quando mi costi,etc.) or the opening of "Ritorna Vincitor" where unlike every Aida I have heard in recent years cannot say "parola" like a true Italian. (Sweet said, "parowwwwwlah).
           Will Gelb understand the importance of someone who today joined "minor" artists like Varnay,Flagstad, and te Kanawa in making a fabulous debut on the eadio? Is it possible that perhaps he will decide that this was a special event and do some cast changing for next season?
            Latonia has a luscious voice, with all the elements of a great soprano, as I thought years ago at the "Elgar" performance at Carnegie. I am so happy for her...and did you ever hear such a prolonged ovation after "Ritorna Vincitor," which was in some ways "Zeani-like" in temperament and the lower register (and Virginia loved it, by the way.)
              Blythe sang magnificently, but I hate when Armiliato rushes the very end of the Judgement Scene, not allowing the kind of thrills that,for example, Antonino Votto gives with Simionato. Morris is getting on,but he surely has paid his dues. Ataneli sounded excellent with Madama Moore in the duet, and of course Marcello sang as brilliantly as always, with the "squillante" sound I love so.
                 So you see, the review was not as long as you thought,but at least I expressed what I felt about the "new star" who might end up as famous as that guy on the Knicks...that could be very Linteresting.

                                                                    VIVA LATONIA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                                                                       Chesty Charlie

Category:general -- posted at: 10:05pm EDT

Latonia Moore to make Met debut as Aida

        At a Licia Albanese gala years ago, and then in the complete Puccini  "Edgar" at Carnegie Hall, I heard the magnificent voice of Latonia Moore,who brought the house down, and when I met this sweet and lovely lady, I threatened to picket the Met if they didn't grab her up!!!!
         Well, now she joins Astrid Varnay,Kirsten Flagstad, Kiri te Kanawa and others I cannot think of now, making a Met debut on a broadcast (March 3). I am wishing this superb lady all my best for the Aida, and hope and pray the Met will learn something and give her more material over the years.
         I have some arthritis these days, so I am glad I do not have to walk around at Lincoln Center with my "Latonia Belongs at the Met" sign.
          I wish this beautiful diva all my best!!!!!!!!!!
     
                                                       Sincerely,

                                                                    Charlie

Category:general -- posted at: 8:08pm EDT

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO LUCINE!!!

  As Lucine Amara celebrates birthday no.87 on March 1, I tell you that the voice is STILL as luscious and clear as on my 1948 audition tapes....No kidding!!!!! I give you the Youtube link below......and,trust me, she has never lost that sound!!!!!

http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=Lucine+Amara&oq=Lucine+Amara&aq=f&aqi=&aql=&gs_sm=12&gs_upl=0l0l0l118139l0l0l0l0l0l0l0l0ll0l0

Category:general -- posted at: 7:46pm EDT

Enrico Caruso Birthday

http://www.henryrosner.org/caruso/

The above link will take you to the GOD of opera, Enrico Caruso, born Feb.23, 1873.

Bless his memory forever!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Category:general -- posted at: 2:49pm EDT

Rest in Peace, dear Charles Anthony

Maybe he did not want to use his name "Caruso," but those who loved him thought he EARNED IT!!!!!!!!

Bless his memory.!!!!!!

Anthony was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, the child of immigrants from Sicily. He studied music at Loyola University New Orleans, where he studied under Dorothy Hulse, also the teacher of Audrey Schuh and Harry Theyard, from where he graduated in 1951. The tenor sang the role of the Messenger in Il trovatore, at the New Orleans Opera Association, in 1947. At the age of twenty-two, he auditioned under his birth name for the Metropolitan Opera's Auditions of the Air. He won the auditions, but Sir Rudolf Bing convinced him to drop his surname, saying that it would invite comparisons with Enrico Caruso.

[edit] At the Metropolitan

Anthony made his debut at the Metropolitan on March 6, 1954, playing the role of the Simpleton in Boris Godunov. Critics were impressed; The New York Times wrote, "Mr Anthony had better be careful. If he does other bit parts so vividly, he'll be stamped as a character singer for life." In the event, this proved true; although Anthony performed some larger roles early in his career (including Don Ottavio, to the Donna Anna of Herva Nelli, in Don Giovanni), he made his mark as a comprimario singer.

On February 17, 1992, following Act II of a performance of Puccini's Tosca, Anthony was honored in an onstage ceremony on the occasion of his breaking the record of George Cehanovsky for most appearances by an artist at the Metropolitan Opera. By the time of his retirement, Anthony had performed 2,928 times with the company, over fifty-six seasons.[2]

Anthony is an honorary member of International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employes (IATSE) Local One in New York City.

He

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

"My song goes round the world."

   In the words of that famous Josef Schmidt film, we are getting close to one million "songs" (downloads) and it is a great pleasure for me to spread the word and share with you the treasures that have enriched my life.

     When we reach a million, we will have to do something special.(Any ideas??). perhaps a Lady Gaga orJustin Bieber podcast.(For those in far-off lands, look them up on Wackypedia.).

         Thanks again for all your support.

                   As ever Carlo Magno (I just saw Ernani)

Category:general -- posted at: 12:48am EDT

The Great Cesare Siepi, Born 2/10/. 1923

GREATEST BASSO IN MY LIFE>>>Pure Velvet!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

His international reputation was established in 1950, when Sir Rudolf Bing brought him to the Metropolitan Opera in New York to open the 1950 season as King Philip II in Don Carlo. He was to remain principal bass at the Met until 1974, adding roles such as Boris Godunov (in English) and Gurnemanz in Parsifal (in German), and singing all the major roles of the bass repertoire.

His debut at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, was in 1950, and he appeared there regularly until the mid 1970s.

In 1953, Siepi debuted at the Salzburg Festival with a legendary production of Don Giovanni conducted by Wilhelm Furtwängler, staged by Herbert Graf, and designed by Clemens Holzmeister. He made an immediate impact in the title role of Don Giovanni which became perhaps his best known role, as it had been for the most famous Italian bass of the generation before, Ezio Pinza. This performance has been released on CD, and a 1954 mounting of this production was filmed in color and released in 1955.

Siepi was a frequent guest at the Vienna State Opera. In 43 performances he sang Don Giovanni, more often than any other singer in modern times except for Eberhard Wächter. In 1967 Siepi was Don Giovanni in a controversially received production staged by Otto Schenk and designed by Luciano Damiani that showed Mozart's masterpiece in the light of the commedia dell'arte, emphasizing the comic and ironic elements of this opera (conductor Josef Krips strongly opposed this production's concept). In Vienna he also sang Basilio (Il barbiere di Siviglia), Colline (La bohème), Fiesco (Simon Boccanegra), Figaro (Le nozze di Figaro), Padre Guardiano (La forza del destino 1974 in a new production conducted by Riccardo Muti), Gurnemanz (Parsifal), Méphistophélès (Faust), Filippo II (Don Carlos), and Ramphis (Aida). His final performance at Vienna was in Norma (Oroveso) at the Austria Center Vienna in 1994.

He was a particularly fine recital artist, especially in Community Concerts under Columbia Artist Management, and a sensitive interpreter of German Lieder. He married Met ballerina Luellen Sibley and they had two children.

Siepi enjoyed a long career, and performed regularly until the 1980s, including lead roles in the ill-fated Broadway musicals Bravo Giovanni and Carmelina. In addition to his studio recordings, there are also many live recordings of performances of his major roles.

Siepi's formal farewell to the operatic stage occurred at the Teatro Carani in Sassuolo on 21 April 1989. Indeed, Capon's List shows live recordings made as late as 1988.

Siepi's last studio recording was as the old King Archibaldo in RCA's 1976 taping of Italo Montemezzi's L'amore dei tre re, with Anna Moffo and Plácido Domingo in the cast.

Siepi died at Piedmont Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia on July 5, 2010 after suffering a stroke more than a week earlier.

Category:general -- posted at: 11:10pm EDT

Rest in Peace, dear Camilla Williams

Camilla Williams, emerita professor of music

WilliamsThe NAACP's Roy Wilkins had asked her to sing a spiritual at the August 1963 civil rights rally in Washington, D.C. But Camilla Williams ended up singing The Star Spangled Banner as well.

Williams recalled that another singer on the program was caught in traffic, and Wilkins needed someone to sing the national anthem. (Contralto Marian Anderson was stuck in traffic.)

"I ran up all the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and was out of breath when I got to the microphone," she said. But she sang to the 200,000 gathered there and the next year, after King won the Nobel Peace Prize, she sang The Battle Hymn of the Republic for a gathering of dignitaries and friends of the civil rights leader. "I was honored to know Martin Luther King Jr. and his wife, Coretta," she told the audience.

Williams was the first black singer on contract to appear with the New York City Opera. She premiered in 1946 as Cio Cio San in Madame Butterfly, and she was the IU School of Music's first black professor of voice.

   I spoke to her only recently...I am so sad...She was so kind and I reminded her she was my first ever Butterfly.Sadly, the racism in music prevented her from coming to the Met.  Bless her memory. (She was 92)

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

My Memories of Renata Tebaldi

Ciao a tutti,

 

                 When we gathered outside the Met stage door on Feb.1, 1956, after Tebaldi's debut as Desdemona (we lost our voices for weeks), we were unaware that it was her 34th birthday. As usual, she signed every program in the freezing cold, and that was our first encounter with the lady who made our lives so happy, on and off stage. She would be 90 this day, and let me remember some of my personal tales of this beloved lady:
                   Those of us who heard her live do not believe that there was EVER any soprano who combined a phenomenally gorgeous quality and  Brunnhilde-like volume. Imagine a Gioconda duet withe two of them..get the earplugs!
                    I am following this with a few anecdotes from my personal experience, just to give you a more personal view of her personality:

 

    1. She did not like to fly,  and one Tuesday night, when she was off to sing in Philadelphia (The Met went there regularly), we were seeing off and she was standing in the last (open) car of the train;the baggage handler opened the door and she said, "Spoletta,chiudi!"
     2. She did another Tosca thing at one of our huge hotel parties, as she cut the cake, waving the knife with a hearty, "Questo e il bacio di Tosca."
     3. Every Met  Tebaldi evening ended with us nutcases chasing the limo up 40th Street and her yelling "Ciao" out the window.Once I did not notice a fire plug and almost became the world's last castrato.
   4.   As she came out at Carnegie (Bell Tel.Hr.) for the "Inflammatus" in 1955, she saw the "gang" in the first row, winked down at us and then launched into that great piece. We felt she was performing it for us. I do not think I ever really lost that "groupie mentality."

 

    5. After my dad died, I took my mom, a former Follies girl, to see her in Traviata.She took mom's hand backstage, and every time I saw her years after, she always asked, "Com'e la mamma?"
              Well,basta for all that....Just remember how thrilling it was for teens to find themselves close with a lady who filled the hearts of opera lovers everywhere with her great voice and her undying love. (Ooops..I almost wet the keyboard.).

 

                               On your 90th,dear Renata, thanks for all you were in life to so many who will never forget you.
                                                           Charlie
    

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

TRIBUTE TO FOLLOW

 She said, "Dammi il braccio,mio piccinO" and I,knowing Boheme at 19 (with hair), responded, "Obbedisco,SignorA."   SNAP!!!!! This photo will forver remain in my heart.

  

Direct download: Renata_and_I.jpg
Category:general -- posted at: 1:06pm EDT

A little more about Paul...

   I also wanted to mention that the "kid" at around age 20 was the Guardiano in our Forza del Destino in Paterson, New Jersey, under the brilliant leadership of Paul's teacher and coach, Armen Boyajian.  I also want to express my deep affection for Paul, and wish him all the best. He has always been a wonderful artist and a fine human being.

                                                Love from Melitone

Category:general -- posted at: 1:43pm EDT

Bless you,Paul Plishka, as you bid farewell to the Met

Paul Plishka (born August 28, 1941) is a Ukrainian-American bass opera singer.

Mr Plishka comes from Old Forge, Pennsylvania and Paterson, New Jersey; his parents were American-born children of Ukrainian immigrants. He studied at Montclair State College and with Armen Boyajian (also the pedagogue of Marisa Galvany and fellow basso Samuel Ramey), and made his operatic debut with the Paterson Lyric Opera, in 1961.

Plishka made his formal debut with the Metropolitan Opera as the Monk in La Gioconda, in 1967. He became one of the company's leading basses, and has appeared in many other theatres, including the Teatro alla Scala (debut in La damnation de Faust, 1974) and the New York City Opera (I puritani, 1981).

The bass sang over 1,600 performances with the Met, placing him at Number 10 on their official list of most-frequent performers, which dates back to the company's inception in 1883. On January 10, 2012, bid Farewell to the company, as the Sacristan in Tosca, opposite Patricia Racette and Roberto Alagna.

He is a National Patron of Delta Omicron, an international professional music fraternity. [1]

Paul Plishka's artistry was recognized in 1992 when he received the Pennsylvania Governor's Award for Excellence in the Arts and when, several years earlier, he was inducted into the Hall of Fame for Great American Opera Singers in a celebration at the Academy of Vocal Arts in Phil.

Category:general -- posted at: 1:31pm EDT

NEW STYLE FOR "Mr.Friend of Opera."

   I think you will like the new style of my VIDEO site...so check it out...

http://www.youtube.com/user/MrFriendofopera

Category:general -- posted at: 11:19pm EDT

Rest in Peace, Rita Gorr

Dear Rita Gorr just passed away. She would have turned 86 in February.I saw her Met debut as Delilah, and her Amneris matched Birgit in size of voice....A wonderful artist.

  Rest in Peace.

Category:general -- posted at: 11:40pm EDT

Coming up on Renata Tebaldi's 90th birthday.

On a freezing morning on Jan.31, 1955, I awoke at 4:30 to get to the Met standee line to wait all day for the debut of the lady whose 90th birthday comes on Feb.1.Therefore when we met her outside for the first time, it was her 34th birthday(born Feb.1, 1922.) She was the most beloved artist one could imagine and we became close, as did many others, because she was our (mommy." I called her for many years on her birthday and to this day, that 19 year old kid never quite recuperated from knowing this loving lady and one of the greatest sopranos in opera history. Can we do any special kind of tribute here on Feb.1 in her memory???It would be nice, especially for the younger fans of opera who never saw her.?? I have some cute stories to tell and many things about her singing only those who saw her could explain.  No one who knew her on and off stage will EVER forget what she meant to us.

    If you have any requests for lives arias/scenes, e-mail me at Placido21@aol.com

Category:general -- posted at: 4:35pm EDT

REMINDER OF MY OLD GOOGLE VIDEOS

Just to remind you of my Google Videos (168 of them) at:

https://www.google.com/search?q=Handelmania&hl=en&tbs=vid:1

Category:general -- posted at: 12:04am EDT

Bless Rosa Ponselle!!

 Born on Jan.22, 1897, Rosa Ponselle was considered my many to have had the most gorgeous voice EVER!  Unfortunately she retired in her late thirties, but at least we do have her Villa Pace recordings, and the voice was still remarkable. Imagine a "kid" making a debut with Caruso in Forza at the Met!!!!

Category:general -- posted at: 3:11pm EDT

I did have hair and freckles once!!!!!!

When I think of that "other' Spanish speaking dude with whom I share a birthday, I often look back on my youth, and remember someone I resembled. Of course, as I compare us two, I do feel slighted, since he has sung more roles than I, I take the train and he has a jet, and I may own 250 Toscas, but he owns Madrid.

Love to a great icon in the world of music (Not me!!!)

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

Born: January 21, 1941 - Madrid, Spain

The famous Spanish tenor and able conductor, Plácido Domingo, was born to zarzuela singers. After a tour of Mexico, they settled there and gave performances with their own company. Placido joined his parents in Mexico at the age of 7 and began appearing with them in various productions while still a child. He also studied piano with Manuel Barajas in Mexico City and voice with Carlo Morelli at the National Conservatory there (1955-1957).

Plácido Domingo made his operatic debut in the tenor role of Borsa in Rigoletto with the National Opera in Mexico City in 1959. His first major role was as Alfredo in La Traviata in Monterrey in 1961. That same year he made his USA debut as Arturo in Lucia di Lammermoor with the Dallas Civic Opera. Then he was a member of the Hebrew National Opera in Tel Aviv (1962-1964). He made his first appearance with the New York City Opera as Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly in October 1965. In August 1966, he made his Metropolitan Opera debut as Turiddu in a concert performance of Cavalleria rusticana at New York's Lewisohn Stadium. His formal debut on the stage of the Metropolitan followed in September 1968, when he essayed the role of Maurice de Saxe in Adriana Lecouvreur, establishing himself as one of its principal members. He also sang regularly at the Vienna State Opera (from 1967), Milan's La Scala (from 1969), and London's Covent Garden (from 1971). His travels took him to all the major operatic centers of the world, and he also sang for recordings, films, and television.

Plácido Domingo also pursued conducting. He made his formal debut as an opera conductor with La Traviata at the New York City Opera in October 1973, and in October 1984, he appeared at the Metropolitan Opera, conducting La Boheme. He commissioned Menotti's opera Goya and sang the title role at its premiere in Washington, D.C, in November 1986. In 1987 he sang Otello at the 100th anniversary performances at La Scala. On New Year's Eve 1988 he appeared as a soloist with Zubin Mehta and the New York Philharmonic Orchestra in a gala concert televised live to millions, during which he also conducted the orchestra in the overture to Die Fledermaus. In July 1990, he participated in a celebrated concert with fellow tenors Jose Carreras and Luciano Pavarotti in Rome, with Zubin Mehta conducting. The concert was telecast live to the world and subsequently became a best-selling video and compact disc. In 1992 he appeared at the opening gala ceremonies of the Olympic Games in Barcelona. In 1993 he sang Parsifal at the Bayreuth Festival with extraordinary success.

Plácido Domingo celebrated his 25th anniversary with the Metropolitan Opera singing Siegmund in Act 1 of Die Walküre in a performance broadcast live on radio throughout the world in September 1993. In July 1994, he again appeared in concert with Carreras, Pavarotti, and Zubin Mehta in Los Angeles, which spectacle was telecast live to the world. In 1994 he was named principal guest conductor of the Los Angeles Opera. In 1996 he assumed the position of artistic director of the Washington (D.C.) Opera.

One of the best-known lyric tenors of his era, Plácido Domingo has gained international renown for his portrayals of such roles as Cavaradossi, Des Grieux, Radames, Don Carlo, Otello, Don Jose, Hoffmann, Canio, and Samson.

He published an autobiography, Plácido Domingo: My First Forty Years (New York, 1983).

Category:general -- posted at: 2:06pm EDT

Reminder for you!

    Reminder: Especially our new members, that since we had to remove the "Comments' section from this site, since I was getting tons of unwanted ads, you need to write me at Placido21@aol.com if you have any comments or suggestions.

        Also, I invite young artists to make private requests for special podcasts that might help you with your repertory. For example, when I did a "Handelmanian Master Class' for Dolora Zajick's students, I did make some podcasts for some of them according to what they were studying.(e.g. 10 Vissi d'artes,etc.). So feel free to make such a request.

          In addition, if I say something mean about one of your favorite singers, I will not be offended, since I have done that for years!

Category:general -- posted at: 6:03pm EDT

The WORLD of Opera

    When I look at the statistics on this site, I am absolutely delighted at the incredible interest in opera all over the globe. From Albania to Zanzibar,etc...and maybe because of my teaching Romance Languages, I got a special thrill out of the fact that Venezuela ranks numero SEIS!!!!.

          I also want you to read the interesting Wikipidia site (on the blog) that lists various opera singers from many countries in the history of opera.

     By the way,since we have now so many stars from Latin-America, I did make a list of them, but whatever country you are from (even Brooklyn), you can find some of your fellow countrymen who made it BIG!

                           Love to you all,

                                     Charlie

(Why did the Wikipedia site come out twice?????????)


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Opera_singers_by_nationality

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Opera_singers_by_nationality


Category:general -- posted at: 5:39pm EDT

The Magnificent Ailyn Perez

   I have a dear buddy who turns off any Violetta who can not show the kind of pure JOY that Mme.Perez exhibits. This is her Covent Garden debut, and i will post more (if she approves.) I met her before she became the wife of the equally endearing Steven Costello,but I only heard her today, and went NUTS./.Crabby Charlie...Listen to the way she sings just these lines on the order of Callas, Soviero, and one of her teachers, Virginia Zeani, for whom I played this part on the phone.

  Destined for STARDOM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! More later...   Charlie

Enclosure
Category:general -- posted at: 1:11pm EDT

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO GRACE BUMBRY

 January 4 is the birthday of a great artist, Mme.Grace Bumbry,pictured here as a former Kennedy Center Honoree. A happy birthday and all our love for a great career!!!!!

 You will find a lot of material on Youtube, so go there and enjoy her magnificent talent.

Category:general -- posted at: 3:17pm EDT

They cannot fire him!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

http://traffic.libsyn.com/parterrebox/Diamonds_pape.mp3

LOVE what he did the other night!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Category:general -- posted at: 11:36am EDT

Love and Buon Natale from Magda

  The darling "miracle" of opera, Magda Olivero, who turns 102 in March, is so happy she is remembered, and wishes you all a wonderful Holiday Season. She still sounds as wonderful as always (and I get to practice my operatic Italian, not heard on earth since Dante.)

                                       Buon Natale a Tutti

                                                           Charlie

Category:general -- posted at: 1:55pm EDT

This was really awful!!!!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uk4N8ltMAqE

How could these  "blank" cartridges do this terrible thing?

I know Fabio recovered well since I saw him a few years ago....

By the way, where were these guys when we had BAUM??????

Category:general -- posted at: 9:34pm EDT

Liping Zhang

You all know I have seen tham ALL, but rarely in recent years have I been as moved as hearing Mme.Zhang as Mme.Butterfly today. For the supposedly jaded me (I saw Scotto, Tebaldi, Kirsten,De Los Angeles, Stella, Albanese)

One special element of her singing today was what I term an "authoritative" attack, or slightly "glottal" attack a la Diana Soviero, on certain phrases, making the line all the more important. Have a look at her on youtube and of course I just ordered the album you see in the photo.    

      Funny in life.....sometimes you never realize what you have heard in opera and what effect it can have, and I burst into tears at the end, not only at her performance, but thinking of the love I had for Renata Tebaldi, our beloved friend for many years.         Love from cry-baby Charlie

Category:general -- posted at: 4:51pm EDT

THE NEW LOOK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

http://www.youtube.com/user/MrFriendofopera

Mamma mia!!!I just found that they added a new look to my site "Mr.Friend of Opera."

There are zillions of hand-picked videos from yours truly!!!!!!! ( OPERA FIEND!!!!)

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

Season's Greetings to You All!!

 To all you lovable opera fans:

     All my best for a joyous Holiday Season.

      As ever    Charlie

Category:general -- posted at: 9:58pm EDT

Dear Tony Amato Passes Away

Anthony Amato, co-founder of the Amato Opera, died on Tuesday morning at the age of 91. The news was initially posted to Facebook this afternoon by former Amato employee and director of the Amore Opera, Nathan Hull.

For over six decades, the Amato Opera, formed by Amato and his wife Sally Bell Amato, was a fixture on the Bowery and in the East Village arts scene. After its inaugural production of The Barber of Seville in Our Lady of Pompeii Church on the corner of Bleecker and Carmine Streets in 1948, it had stints at the 92nd Street Y, the Fashion Institute of Technology, the Washington Irving High School, 159 Bleecker Street and the Town Hall. The company finally settled in a postage-stamp–sized building next to CBGB's in 1964, where it operated continually until it closed in 2009.

Against the posh spaces of City Center and Lincoln Center, the Amato Opera was a feisty diamond in the rough, making grand opera thrive in a theater that seated 107 and contained a mere 20-foot stage. Entrances and exits were often made by running around the building from lobby to stage door entrance and back again and costume changes were known to take place in the theater’s adjacent gas station. It was part of the draw of the company—you couldn’t help but feel a warm, tingly glee in the Momus scene of La bohème, sitting mere inches away from the bohemians, no

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

Showing 1 Result

GO TO AMAZON!!! This is already a big seller!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!   ALSO:

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      I have seen all Mme.Resnik's programs and believe me, they are absolutely glorious!!!!

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Category:general -- posted at: 9:33pm EDT

Shakeh Vartenissian,my friend

In 1954, we became acquainted with a lovely lady,soprano Shakeh Vartenissian. Unfortunately, the Met never gave her large roles (What else is new??) but she had a magnificent,velvety voice, not unlike her teacher, Rosa Ponselle. Shakeh would sing "D'amor sull'ali rosee" in my ear on the train, and we all had such great times with her. After a brief stint at the Met she went to Europe where she shone in operas like Aida,Macbeth,Ernani,etc.

          Go to Youtube and you will find her Donna Elvira arias and scenes from the Verdi Requiem. It was my pleasure today to speak with her aunt, and we recalled some of the beautful qualities she had, both as artist and friend. Shakeh was born in 1924 and we believe passed away around 2003. I still have a photo of her when we went to the beach. (The only singer I ever saw in a bathing suit, because Zinka just wouldn't try one on.)

    The trip down nostalgia lane was for me a happy and also sad one, but we do have our fond memories of this great artist and dear human being.

Category:general -- posted at: 11:59am EDT

Maria Callas, Born on Dec.2, 1923

 What more need we say about Maria Callas, born on Dec.2, 1923?  She may have left us early, but her stamp upon the world of music is indelible, and will remain so through the ages. Yes, we know of her vocal flaws, especially after 1957, but what she gave to opera made the lives of true opera aficionados so rich and rewarding. Bless her memory!

Category:general -- posted at: 9:53pm EDT

Stignani Stella del Marinar

Since they chose to cut Stignani's aria in Gioconda,in my latest podcast, here it is from another perf.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3tZh-9M9Sgk

Category:general -- posted at: 12:14am EDT

Rest in Peace, Sena Jurinac,wonderful soprano

Opera singer Sena Jurinac, one of the most celebrated sopranos of the post-war period, has died aged 90.

Born in Travnik in Bosnia in October 1921, the Austrian star studied in Zagreb, and made her debut there 1942 as Mimi in La Boheme.

She made very few recordings across her career, although the BBC recently issued a CD of her 1961 Proms show.

The Vienna State Opera, of which she was an honorary member, confirmed the singer had died in southern Germany.

In a statement, it said it was mourning the loss of a "legendary artist who shaped not only the Vienna State Opera but also the entire opera world".

Jurinac first sang for the company in 1944, playing Cherubino in The Marriage Of Figaro, and remained a member until 1983, when she made her farewell as Marschallin in Der Rosenkavalier.

She appeared at the Salzburg Festival in 1947, and soon after made her London debut, singing Dorabella at Covent Garden.

Jurinac went on to become a favourite at Glyndebourne, and was renowned for her interpretation of Mozart.

Scholar Peter Branscombe described her voice as "beautifully pure, rich and even throughout its range".

Austrian news agency APA reported that Jurinac died Tuesday at her home near Augsburg.

From other news sites

Category:general -- posted at: 12:19am EDT

HAPPY THANKSGIVING !!!

Hi all,

           Not everyone in the universe celebrates Thanksgiving as we do in the U.S.A. However, it really does not matter, because we all have a lot to be thankful for, and we must also think of those who may have less than we do, and reach out to them always.  I wish you all a very happy Thanksgiving, and all my sincere thanks for your support.

             Hey, when we get to a million downloads, I will have to think of a special podcast.  Maybe Justin Bieber singing the Winterreise????

 My best,

 Charlie

Category:general -- posted at: 8:20pm EDT

Opera Lovers in China

  We have now about 954,000 downloads over 6 years. The U.S. leads with 211,322 and the SECOND country, with 24, 853 is China. Of course the podcasts seem to go all over the world, but I just wanted to congratulate the opera lovers in China for being number 2...not in any way forgetting the rest of the world.

          By the way, I was most surprised to see some downloads from Mars. I wonder if their sopranos used chest voice.

Category:general -- posted at: 1:19am EDT

Ta'u and Samantha


   In  the past I have mentioned my friend, tenor Ta'u Pupu'a and have spoken of how we met at our Rigoletto several years ago, and I could not believe he had never sung an opera before. After a few years, having now graduated from Juilliard, he is surely destined for a wonderful professional career (following a professional career as a pro football player...so do not mess with him!!).
      Last evening at the Good Shepherd-Faith Church on 66th Streeet (down from a theatre where I hope he will some day debut),he and a lovely soprano, Samantha Jeffreys, sang a recital, and it was one of the most exciting events I have had the pleasure of attending. Ms.Jeffreys has a very large and resonant lyric voice, almost too powerful for a church setting. She is so musical, and was able to excell in both popular and opera material. I noted a cute touch during the Mimi aria,when she got to "ma prego assai il signor," and made the sign of the cross.This shows she knows what is going on! It is hard to scale a large voice down in an acoustical live setting, and I hope in the future she  can lighten up somewhat in some of the material( e.g. the "Sombre Foret" from William Tell), but you know they call me "Picky Charlie."
        Ta'u was amazing! His first selections, "Tu che non chiagne" and "Non ti scordar di me' were in some parts of the middle and upper middle voice almost "Wagnerian" in tone, and he places every note so beautifully, with a brilliant easy top range.(Well,he has done Bacchus in Ariadne). He also has the ability to shine in popular music and sang so romantically  songs from Romberg's New Moon, and with Mme.Jeffreys, some West Side Story selections. He also did a "Corelli" by holding the high B flat at the end of the "Recondita Armonia' a couple of seconds longer, his big brilliant voice roused the audience to many bravoes.
           Ta'u  sang,as an encore, a beautiful song from his native Tonga, and the two ended with "You'll never walk alone." This was a divine evening, and we all hope for many future successes for these young artists.
           Since I am also the President of his non-existant fan club and his totally unpaid agent, I always feel such joy that I "discovered'' a guy who asked me if the Duke in Rigoletto was HARD??? Yup!!!!
             Love and best wishes to these marvelous young artists!
                                                                                 Charlie

 

Category:general -- posted at: 5:24pm EDT

Katharine is GOLD!

Katharine Goeldner sang her first Met Jayne Seymour in Anna Bolena last Friday. This is a magnificent voice and a consummate musician and artist. If you go to Youtube, you will hear a Waltraute scene to DIE FOR!!!

 I finally saw a show where everyone was superb,and you know what a crab-apple I am!!    Charlie

Category:general -- posted at: 5:46pm EDT

Angela Meade

 GO to the Youtube page of soprano Angela Meade!! Her first Anna Bolena on Friday was stunning....The voice is big and rich, with an easy top...but the astounding thing for this Milanov lover was that she has pppppianissimi from HEAVEN!!!  She received HUGE ovations, and I say that she will be our newest diva star!!!     

 Hey Charlie...Tell us what you think!

Category:general -- posted at: 5:39pm EDT

How can I thank you enough???

  Hi all,

     As of this moment there have been 938,450 hits on this site over 5 plus years. I wish to thank you all,in all corners of the planet, for your support. I hope some of you (or maybe ALL) have become better acquainted with the great treasures that the vocal art affords to us mortals.

                                           My best,

                                               Charlie

P.S. For those of you who never learned Italian from opera (like me), the photo reads:  "A simple word that comes from the depths of my heart."



Category:general -- posted at: 1:40am EDT

In Memory of Luciano

 Despite some of the extra-hype, how could we deny the incredible voice of Luciano Pavarotti, born Oct.12, 1935...We lost him all too soon.

       When he sang, "Nessun dorma."   Bless his memory!

Category:general -- posted at: 12:50pm EDT

MARIN FALIERO

An exciting live studio performance of the rarely heard Donizetti opera, "Marin Faliero." The cast includes Cesare Siepi, Marisa Galvany, Licinio Montefusco, and Giuliano Cianella, conducted by Elio Boncompagni, with the Orchestra and Chorus of RAI Turino.  (72 min.)

Direct download: Marin_Faliero.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:22pm EDT

Plot of Marin Faliero

Since this opera is so rarely done, here is the plot, and the podcast will follow.

Elena, the wife of Marin Faliero, Doge of Venice, is continually subjected to attacks on her reputation by the patrician Steno whose advances she has rejected. Steno then insults Israele Bertucci, the chief of the Venetian Arsenal in front of his workers. Steno is punished for these offenses, but Faliero is infuriated by the leniency of the punishment. Israele convinces Faliero to join a conspiracy against the Council of Forty, of which Steno is a member.

Meanwhile, Elena is in love with Faliero's friend Fernando, who wants to leave the city to save her from dishonour. During a masked ball, Fernando challenges Steno to a duel for having insulted Elena once again. When Fernando is found dying in the place where the conspirators were to meet, Faliero vows to avenge his death.

The conspiracy collapses following a betrayal by one of its members and the Doge is condemned to death. Before his execution, Elena confesses her love affair with Fernando to him. Faliero begins to curse her, but sensing that his death is imminent, pardons her instead. Faliero is led off. Alone on the stage, Elena hears the sound of the executioner's axe, screams and faints.[2]

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

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO MY FRIEND, TA'U PUPU'A

 A very happy birthday (Aug.25), to my friend and superb artist, Ta'u Pupu'a, who is fast becoming one of our finest tenors,with upcoming engagements in several countries, and a San Francisco Opera debut. When he opened his mouth on "Questa o quella' about 5 years ago, I said, "WOW!" Then he said, "Is the Duke hard??? I never sang an opera before!!!"   So,from football to opera...he is making it BIG!!!!

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

A WONDERFUL NEW VOICE!!!!!!

You know that at times I "discover' a new voice. Here is the Youtube link to a marvelous soprano, Alexandra Lo Bianco. She is marvelous and hope she has a great future!! We NEED sopranos like her!!

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=06lsxnLMJVI

Category:general -- posted at: 12:40pm EDT

Too much???????

I am sure the answer is a resounding "NO!" as i see how many individuals download my podcasts, and as you notice, I have been doing more and more. I am running out of ideas, so send your suggestions to me at Placido21@aol.com. If I do not get any suggestions, I will be forced to do RAP podcasts, and then you will (figuratively)throw rotten vegetables.   (Just kidding of course...I have enough material on CD for at least as long as Placido keeps singing.)

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

MANY THANKS!!!!!!

   I have been looking at the statistics on this podcast site, and I wanted to express my gratitude for all of your interest. In five years, we are approaching one million downloads, and when I look at the various countries all over the globe where people have expressed interest, it is mind-boggling.

     Please do not hesitate to send me comments and/or suggestions to my E-mail address at:       Placido21@aol.com

                                                                                Charlie

Category:general -- posted at: 5:11pm EDT

MARCEL WITTRISCH AND FRANZ VOELKER

 Two magnificent German tenors,Marcel Wittrisch and Franz Voelker, in songs,opera, and operetta. There is a certain similarity in their voices, at least on recordings, but they still retain their individuality, and are truly superb artists.  (59 min.)

Direct download: Witt.and_Voelker.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:34pm EDT

Diana Soviero Award

Founded in 1969 by the internationally celebrated voice specialist Wilbur James Gould, M.D., The Voice Foundation is the world’s oldest and leading organization dedicated to voice medicine, science and education. Since 1972, The Voice Foundation has sponsored an annual, internationalSymposium: Care of the Professional Voice. These meetings are attended by hundreds of medical and scientific experts, speech-language pathologists, performing artists and teachers from all over the world. As part of the conference at this year’s Voices of Summer Gala Concert and Banquet,Ms. Diana Soviero was named a 2011 Voice Education Research Award Winner. This award is presented annually by the Voice Foundation to honor individuals selected for unusual interest in and contribution to the field of voice communication. Past award recipients include: Dame Julie Andrews, Jack Klugman, Teddy Pendergrass, Anthony Quinn, Dan Rather, James Earl Jones, Pattie Lupone, Anna Moffo Sarnoff, and Dr. Nancy Snyderman, among many others.

No one deserves it more than my darling Diana.

Category:general -- posted at: 10:18am EDT

Happy Birthday to Fedora Barbieri

I got to know Barbieri, born June 4, 1920, after I made her some tapes and she came to New York for a master class. I thought she had one of the all-time greatest voices...an organ-like sound, and she OWNED Azucena.

           She used to sing her repertory for me over the phone (an octave down) and was a fun, if nutty, lady. She passed away a short time after I saw her when she was honored at a Licia Albanese Gala. She leaves so many wonderful memories for me, onstage and off.

                   T

Category:general -- posted at: 11:53pm EDT

God Bless Dear Renata

From my video site...and look at the rest of the videoos.

http://www.youtube.com/mrfriendofopera#p/u/2/6fm0txTURvE

Category:general -- posted at: 5:30pm EDT

REST IN PEACE, DEAR GIORGIO TOZZI

One by one, the greats of our past leave us. We called the late Giorgio Tozzi "Signor Legato" after we heard his Gremin in Onegin, and he was a remarkable artist for so many years. May he rest in peace and may we always remember what he contributed to the vocal art.

Category:general -- posted at: 8:25pm EDT

JUST YOU WAIT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

THIS IS PRICELESS!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0N_Yw5_NjRw

We always said that Maria was stubborn and her diction needed work!!!!

  If link does not work, go to Youtube and type in "Gobbi My Fair Lady"

Category:general -- posted at: 12:01pm EDT

Fernando Portari in La Rondine

I just discovered this fine tenor from Brazil. I am so glad to have still another superb tenor in our midst. I strongly suggest you buy the DVD Rondine (regular or Blue Ray).

He is also on Facebook (Who isn't???)

  The link below is to the "Nessun dorma" on Youtube.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iNRY5w_rqgs

Category:general -- posted at: 2:57pm EDT

I suggest you buy DEPENDS before you see this...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vdQU-N8b3HA&feature=player_embedded#at=14

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

An amazing Young Man

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jeeiLh8PccI

This is an amazing young man, son of my friend Justin Hayward. The world would be a better place if we had more like him.   Not opera...but I wanted to share this.....having taught so many wonderful students, I appreciate this so much.

  

Category:general -- posted at: 1:28pm EDT

REST IN PEACE, VINCENZO LA SCOLA

 So very sorry to report the sudden death of tenor Vincenzo La Scola, age 53. He had a sudden heart attack while in Istanbul,Turkey. They leave us too soon...but they leave a beautiful legacy. Rest in Peace.

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

45 YEARS AGO Apr.16

  How I remember the sad day 45 years ago, when the gold curtain slowly fell as the old Met Opera House rang down the curtain for the last time..We all joined hands and tearfully sang "Auld Lang Syne." Little did i realize that NOTHING would ever be the same for me..even though the place was so antiquated and so many of the seats were cramped and mostly partial view

              It was my "home-away from-home as a teen opera lover and a "way-of-life" for us, as we froze outside on the standee line...but it was worth every moment of it. I often dream I am back there standing inside but sadly when I awake, I realize it is gone forever..except for my affectionate memories and my old tapes.

                                With affectionate, but sad memories.   Charlie

Category:general -- posted at: 4:01pm EDT

Franco Corelli,  Born April 8, 1921

Lord!!!! What a sensation he was, although sometimes you wanted to beat him up (like his nutty wife Loretta), but the man had one of the greatest voices EVER.Go to Youtube and sample some material:

 

http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=Franco+Corelli&aq=f

 

Bless his memory on his birthday!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Category:general -- posted at: 11:17am EDT

Happy Birthday to Sam Ramey


    Happy birthday, March 28, to my old buddy Sam Ramey, one of the greatest singers in ANY opera era. Dorothy may have wanted to return to Kansas, but millions of opera lovers for 40 years are glad Sam left there to thrill the opera world with his great voice.
      I was privileged to sing with Sam at the start of his professional career, and those of us who knew him were positive he would make a great success!
Sam has been an operatic icon for so long, and I send him all my best for a happy day.(I keep asking him if his son has a high G yet, but I didn't get an answer yet.)
                                            Love always   Charlie, a lesser basso.

Category:general -- posted at: 8:01pm EDT


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