Macbeth from Berlin, Part 2

The second part of the Berlin 1980 Macbeth with Olivia Stapp and Renato Bruson  (51 min.)

Direct download: Macbeth_Stapp2.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 6:45pm EST

Macbeth with Olivia Stapp-Part One.

 The first part of a marvelous live Macbeth from Berlin, 1980 under Giuseppe Sinopoli. Olivia Stapp and Renato Bruson (still singing close to age 80) are the evil pair, with Victor von Halen as Banquo and Veriano Luchetti as Macduff.  (51 nin.)

Direct download: Macbeth_Stapp-1a.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 6:26pm EST

Pique Dame from 1972

One of my personal favorite operas, this Pique Dame under Kazimierz Kord features Nicolai Gedda,Raina Kabaiwanska, Regina Resnik, John Reardon (Tomsky), and William Walker (Yeletsky) (70 min.

Direct download: Pique_Dame_Gedda.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 12:44am EST

Dorothy Kirsten's 25th Anniversary Tosca at SFO

When Dorothy Kirsten passed away, we learned she was born about 10 years later than we thought;this Tosca in 1970 from San Francisco under James Levine is therefore more amazing than we thought, so she was closer to age 70 than was originally reported. Placido Domingo and Louis Quilico join her in this nostalgic presentation.  (74 min.)

Direct download: Tosca_Kirsten_25th-2.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 8:14pm EST

La Boheme with Licia Albanese

The 100 year old plus Licia Albanese and Carlo Bergonzi head the cast of this 1958 Boheme under Thomas Schippers. Laurel Hurley, Mario Sereni, Norman Scott, and Clifford Harvuot complete the cast of this truly beautiful performance.  (73 min.)

Direct download: Boheme_Met_1958.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 2:28am EST

Mario del Monaco, Born July 27, 1915

The very first singer I ever saw on a stage (Radames 1951). I saw him 40 times.he was NOT a "shouter," but tried his best to shade that enormous "bronze column of sound." We simply adored this man, who gave 1000% every night!!!!! Bless his memory!

Del Monaco was born in Florence to a musical upper-class family.[2] As a young boy he studied the violin but had a passion for singing. He graduated from the Rossini Conservatory at Pesaro, where he first met and sang with Renata Tebaldi, with whom he would form something of an operatic dream team of the 1950s. His early mentors as a singer included Arturo Melocchi, his teacher at Pesaro, and Maestro Raffaelli, who recognized his talent and helped launch his career.

That career began in earnest with Del Monaco's debut on December 31, 1940, as Pinkerton at the Puccini Theater in Milan. (His initial appearance in an opera had occurred the previous year, however, in Mascagni's Cavalleria rusticana in Pesaro.) He sang in Italy during the Second World War and married, in 1941, Rina Filipini. In 1946, he appeared at London's Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, for the first time. During the ensuing years he became famous not only in London but also across the operatic world for his powerful, metallic voice. It was almost heldentenor-like in scope but Del Monaco was no Wagnerian, confining his activities overwhelmingly to the Italian repertoire.

Del Monaco sang at the New York Metropolitan Opera from 1951 to 1959, enjoying particular success in dramatic Verdi parts such as Radamès. He soon established himself as one of four Italian tenor superstars who reached the peak of their fame in the 1950s and '60s, the others being Giuseppe Di Stefano, Carlo Bergonzi and Franco Corelli. Del Monaco's trademark roles during this period were Giordano's Andrea Chénier and Verdi's Otello. He first tackled Otello in 1950 and kept refining his interpretation throughout his career. It is said that he sang Otello an astonishing 427 times. However, the book published by Elisabetta Romagnolo, Mario Del Monaco, Monumentum aere perennius, Azzali 2002, lists only 218 appearances by him as Otello, which is a more realistic figure. Aptly, the tenor was buried in his Otello costume. Although Otello was his best role, throughout his career, Del Monaco sang a number of other roles with great acclaim, for example: Canio in Pagliacci (Leoncavallo), Radames in Aida (Verdi), Don Jose in Carmen (Bizet), Chenier in Andrea Chénier (Giordano), Manrico in Il trovatore (Verdi), Samson in Samson and Delilah (Saint-Saëns), and Don Alvaro in La forza del destino (Verdi).

Del Monaco made his first recordings in Milan in 1948 for HMV. Later, he was partnered by Renata Tebaldi in a long series of Verdi and Puccini operas recorded for Decca. On the same label was his 1969 recording of Giordano's Fedora, opposite Magda Olivero and Tito Gobbi.

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

An "I Puritani" for the Ages!!!

  The audience reaction to this Philadelphia 1963 Puritani under Richard Bonynge tells the story! This is indeed the kind of bravura singing that thrills you beyond compare. Joan Sutherland and Nicolai Gedda head a cast that also features Justino Diaz, Ernest Blanc, and  Betty Allen. The "Vieni fra queste braccia" duet is in the high key and the attacks on those D's cause pandemonium in the theatre. Enjoy!  (72 min.)

Direct download: Puritani_Gedda.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 1:57am EST

William Tell with Paolo Silveri

A RAI 1954 recording of highlights from William Tell under Nino Sanzogno. It features the beloved Paolo Silveri, who sent this CD to me. The king of the high notes, Mario Filippeschi is the Arnoldo, with Anna Maria Rovere as Matilda, Nicola Zaccaria as Gessler, Raffaele Arie as Gualtiero,, Margherita Benetti as Jemmy, and Giannella Borelli as Edwige.     (71 min.)

Direct download: Tell_Silveri.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 7:06pm EST

Don Carlo With Some Fine artists

  Here are some scenes from a 2004 Philadelphia Don Carlo with some superb artists.The conductor is Maurizio Barbacini, and the cast is headed by Eduardo Villa, a tenor I have just "discovered," and I hope we see much more of him. The cast also includes Angela Brown, Ewa Podles, Franco Vassallo, and Vitalij Kowaljow. I find that whoever recorded this was sitting a bit closer to the orchestra than I would like, but the voices come through pretty well.  (72 min.)

Direct download: DC_Villa.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 10:23pm EST

Boris Godunov With Mark Reizen

 Highlights from a Bolshoi 1948 recording of Boris Godunov under Nikolay Golovanov. The famous Mark Reizen is the Boris and the cast features Georgy Nelepp (Dimiitri), Nikhander Khanayev (Shuiski), Maria Maksakova (Marina), Maksim Mikhailov (Pimen), Vassily Lubenzov (Varlaam), and Ivan Koslovsky (The Simpleton.)   (65 min.)

NOTE: Error in the photo.Reizen and not Pirogov is the Boris.

Direct download: Boris_Nelepp.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 6:54pm EST

Happy Birthday to Licia Albanese

  Licia was born on July 22, but perhaps earlier than 1913. She remains a legend in opera history. I met her a few times and it was like touching history, considering her career. Here she kisses the stage, with great affection, at the old Met closing.

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


Rossini's rarely heard opera "Zelmira," from San Carlo 1965 under Carlo Franci. The cast is as follows:

   Virginia Zeani (Zelmira), Gastone Limarilli (Antenore), Nicola Tagger (Ilo), Anna Maria Rota (Emma), and Paolo Washington (Polidoro.)   (69 min.)

The Mytilene warriors are mourning the death of Azor. Antenore, with the help of Leucippo, plots to take over the throne of Lesbos by trying to incriminate Zelmira in the deaths of Azor and her father. At first, even Emma, Zelmira's confidante, believes the accusations. Fearing for the safety of her young son, Zelmira reveals to Emma that her father is still alive and asks her to take the child into hiding. Prince Ilo returns to the island. Zelmira is afraid to tell him of the accusations against her or to defend herself. Instead, Prince Ilo hears only Antenore's version of the story. Antenore is crowned King of Lesbos. Leucippo attempts to murder Ilo, but is stopped by Zelmira. Found with the dagger in her hand, Zelmira is now also accused of attempting to murder her husband and is imprisoned.

Act 2

Leucippo intercepts a letter from Zelmira to Ilo in which she tells him that her father is still alive and that the accusations against her are false. He and Antenore temporarily free her from prison and trick her into revealing her father's hiding place. Both father and daughter are recaptured and await their deaths at the hands of the plotters. Meanwhile, Prince Ilo is distraught at what he believes to be the death of Polidoro and the unhappy end to his marriage. Emma appears and tells Prince Ilo the truth about Zelmira. He and his men rescue Zelmira and Polidoro. Zelmira is happily reunited with her husband and child, while both Antenore and Leucippo are led off in chains.[3]

Direct download: Zelmira.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 9:40am EST

Elizabeth Blancke-Biggs New Album

 Here are three exquisite selections from the new album with songs by Donaudy entitled "Vaghissima Sembianza" on the La Sirena Label. The selections are "Vaghissima Sembianza,"Tempo alfin di muover guerra," and "Oh del mio amato ben."

I am sure you will agree with me that Mme.Blancke-Biggs is one of our finest artists.

Direct download: Blancke-Biggs1.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 1:14am EST

The James Levine 25th Anniversary Gala

Highlights from James Levine's 25th Anniversary Gala in 1996. All selections are announced.

  We all will welcome the maestro as he returns to the Met in Cosi Fan Tutte on Sept.24, 2013.

(68 min.)

Direct download: Levine_Gala.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 10:40am EST

Giuseppe Taddei in Il Trittico

The superb baritone,Giuseppe Taddei, appears as Michele in "Il Tabarro." This is from Venice, 1969 under Oliviero de Fabritiis. Angelo Mori is Luigi, Jolanda Michieli sings Giorgetta, and Anna Di Stasio is La Frugola.

    This is followed by some scenes from Gianni Schicchi with Taddei, Adriana Martino (Lauretta), Luciano Saldari (Rinuccio), and Mafalda Masini (Zita.)     (69 min.)

Direct download: Tabarro_Taddei.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 10:18pm EST

Tosca with Birgit Nilsson

 From Philadelphia in 1963 under Carlo Moresco, here is an exciting Tosca, despite a somewhat distant sound. The cast includes Ferruccio Tagliavini and in a baritone role toward the end of his career, the famous Ramon Vinay. (70 min.)

Direct download: Tosca_Phil.1963.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 12:20am EST

Fernando Portari

  ANOTHER superb young tenor...Go to YOUTUBE and see the clips of Fernando Portari.  I discovered him on the Rondine video w.Cedolins.That last scene breaks your heart!!! I highly recommend him, and you know I have seen good tenors....

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

An Andrea Chenier for the Ages

  Tears came to my ancient eyes this morning as I made this 1966 Andrea Chenier podcast.  It brought back so many memories of my misspent youth and what Renata Tebaldi meant to us personally, and even though I go faithfully to the Met, they do not scream and carry on like this, because the "bigger-than-life" sounds of Tebaldi and Corelli just do not exist. Anselmo Colzani is the Gerard, with Raymond Michalski as Mathieu, William Walker as Roucher, and Andrea Velis as Incredibile. Lamberto Gardelli  conducts. (73 min.)

Ovations are cut on this tape, but I have heard it uncut and they go on forever!!!

Direct download: Chenier_1966.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 11:03am EST

Beniamino Gigli in Manon Lescaut

  The great tenor (at 60) Beniamino Gigli in highlights from Manon Lescaut from RAi Milano,1950 under Alfredo Simonetto. Adriana Guerrini is the Manon,with Mario Boriello as Lescaut.

This is followed by Carmen highlights (in Italian) from 1949 under Vincenzo Belleza with daughter Rina and Ebe Stignani.  (66 min.)

Direct download: Lescaut_Gigli.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 1:44pm EST

MANON LESCAUT with Diana Soviero

Highlights from a 1990 Manon Lescaut under Nello Santi from the Bastille,Paris. Diana Soviero is joined by tenor Vasile Moldoveanu.   (40 min.)

Direct download: Lescaut_Soviero.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 1:14am EST

Ailyn Perez Album

Here are two excerpts from the beautiful new album recorded by Ailyn Perez, one of the finest young sopranos in the world of opera. She sings the song "Del cabello mas sutil" and the Manon aria "Adieu,notre petite table." I highly recommend this album to opera lovers everywhere.  (8 min.)

Direct download: Perez.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 2:13pm EST


From La Scala, 1953, under Carlo Maria Giulini, we hear Catalani's "La Wally" with Renata Tebaldi in the title role, Mario del Monaco as Hagenbach, Renata Scotto as Walter, Giangiacomo Guelfi as Gellner, and Giorgio Tozzi as Stromminger.  (73 min.)

The story is set in the Austrian Tyrol where the free-spirited but vulnerable Wally is in love with the handsome Giuseppe Hagenbach, the son of her father's implacable enemy. This leads to the inevitable disastrous conclusion.

Act 1

The village of Hochstoff

A shooting contest is being held in celebration of the 70th birthday of Wally's father, Stromminger. A hunting party arrives from the nearby village of Sölden led by Hagenbach. Old enmities quickly surface and a quarrel develops between Stromminger and Hagenbach, who trade threats and insults before Hagenbach is drawn away by his companions.

Vincenzo Gellner has his own heart set on Wally and is quick to notice that during the quarrel she is clearly infatuated with her father's enemy. When left alone with Stromminger, he tells the old man of his suspicions. Recognising that Gellner is in love with his daughter, he insists that Wally agrees to marry him within a month or else leave his house forever. Wally retorts that she would rather take her chances in the Alpine snows than marry Gellner.

Act 2

The Eagle Tavern at Sölden

A year has passed; Stromminger has died and Wally has inherited his fortune. However, Hagenbach has become engaged to Afra, the landlady of the Eagle Tavern, and is apparently not interested in Wally.

A festival is taking place in Sölden and Wally is drawn to the tavern knowing that Hagenbach will be there. Hagenbach is persuaded to accept a challenge to try to win a kiss from Wally. What begins as a game quickly develops into something more serious, and Hagenbach easily wins his wager. When Wally realises she has been the victim of a cynical bet, her jealousy and fury boil over. She turns to Gellner, who is also at the festival, and insists that if he loves her he must kill Hagenbach.

Act 3

A ravine

La Wally returns to her home. The anger she felt has now subsided and she wishes she could take back her words. At that moment there is a knock at her door. It is Gellner, who describes how under cover of darkness he was able to set upon Hagenbach and hurl him into a deep ravine.

Wally is horrified and hurries to the ravine in the hope of saving Hagenbach, even though she believes he loves Afra. She herself goes down a rope to rescue him and successfully raises his unconscious body back to the surface.

Act 4

High in the Alps

Lonely and depressed, Wally has climbed into the mountains above the village. Her only friend, Walter, has followed and urges her to come down for the Christmas festivities and reminds her of the dangers of avalanches. She sends him away and contemplates her imminent death.

Wally hears another voice. It is Hagenbach, who has recovered from his injuries and come to confess his love. The lovers are reconciled and Hagenbach goes to find a safe path back down the mountain. He shouts up to Wally, but the noise of his call sets off an avalanche which carries him away. Wally stands for a moment on the edge of the precipice before hurling herself down to her death.

Direct download: Wally.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 9:51am EST


From the Vienna Stadhalle in 2011 under Marco Armiliato, we present a superb concert that features Anna Netrebko, Erwin Schrott (Mr.Netrebko!), and Jonas Kaufmann, The selections are announced. (70 min.)

Direct download: Net-Kauf-Schr..mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 11:30pm EST

Olga Peretyatko's New Album

   Opera lovers are looking forward to the Met debut of lovely soprano Olga Peretyatko in "I Puritani' next season. Here are two arias from her new album entitled, "La Bellezza del Canto." They are from Les Contes D'Hoffman and La Rondine. I am sure you will enjoy this fine young artist.  (10 min.)

Direct download: Peretyatko.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 12:04pm EST

Fedora with Virginia Zeani

In a performance from Teatro Verdi, Padova in 1974, Virginia Zeani sings the role of Fedora, with Aldo Bottion as Loris, Elena Baggiore as Olga, and Guido Mazzini as De Sirieux. The conductor is Francesco Maria Martini. It is a performance recorded live in the theatre, so some of it is a bit distant, but it does capture the wonderful performance   (68 min.)

Direct download: Fedora_Zeani.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 12:43am EST


More Great Music

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