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Symposium Opera Collection Vol 18 - Titta Ruffo


Release Date: 07/17/2007 
Label:  Symposium   Catalog #: 1364   Spars Code: ADD 
Composer:  Giacomo MeyerbeerGiuseppe VerdiHector BerliozGioachino Rossini,   ... 
Performer:  Titta RuffoGiuseppina Finzi-MagriniMaria GalvanyGraziella Pareto,   ... 
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Mono 
Length: 1 Hours 20 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

MEYERBEER L’africaine: All’erta marinar. Adamastor re dell’acqua. VERDI Rigoletto: Pari siamo. Deh non parlare al misero.2 Ah! veglia, o donna.1 Povera Rigoletto . . . Cortigiani, vil razza dannata. Miei signori. Piangi, piangi, fanciulla.1 Si vendetta.1 Lassù in ciel.3 Otello: Credo in un dio crudel. Era la notte . . . Si pel ciel.4 Falstaff: L’onore! Ladri! Nabucco: Tremin gl’insani del mio. BERLIOZ La damnation de Faust: E che tu qui? ROSSINI Il barbiere di Siviglia: Largo al factotum. Dunque io son.1 FRANCHETTI Cristopho Colombo: Aman lassù le stele. Dunque ho sognato? PUCCINI La Bohème: O Mimi, tu più non torni.5 GIORDANO Andrea Chénier: Nemico della patria • Titta Ruffo (bar); Maria Galvany (sop);1 Read more Giuseppina Finzi-Magrini (sop);2 Graziella Pareto (sop);3 Enrico Caruso (ten);4 Beniamino Gigli;5 Uncredited accompaniments • SYMPOSIUM 1364 (79:41)

Baritone Ruffo Cafiero Titta (1877–1953) was initially pushed into the family business by his father, a Pisan smithy focused on decorative wrought-ironwork. But the young man soon rebelled, moving to Rome where he initially studied engineering. Later claims that he was completely self-taught as a singer were as disingenuous as Verdi’s repeated efforts to portray himself as an unschooled musician. Ruffo attended some classes at Rome’s Liceo Musicale di Santa Cecelia, and studied privately with Lelio Casini in Milan.

His debut was in 1898 as the Herald in Lohengrin. That performance did not take the world by storm, but there were future engagements. Gradually, word began to spread. His 1903–1904 season at La Scala proved a breakthrough and quickly led to great popularity during tours in Russia, Italy, Argentina, and the U.S. During his heyday, the Italian baritone had the reputation (and vanity) to match any of his celebrated tenor and soprano colleagues. Ruffo retired from opera in 1931, but continued giving concerts for many years. Curiously, his last public performance was when the he sang the Marseillaise in 1943 from a balcony in Florence after Mussolini’s arrest. Upon refusing to go on radio after the Thousand Year Reich’s subsequent invasion, he was advised to go into hiding.

During his heyday, Ruffo’s voice was considered a world-beater. Reviews describe it as a beautiful and evenly produced instrument, extremely powerful, dark in sound, and full in range. Fortunately, acoustic recordings caught and preserved it well. Take “Pari siamo” (1920) from Rigoletto: the opening line immaculately bowed, the voice aggressive and tightly focused, a call to attention. Or again, how he darkens the tone and drops the volume for the phrase, “ei quell che spegne,” then very broadly floats an appropriately hollow sound on the repetitive Cs of the first “Quel vecchio maledivami!” Some things could be bettered. Despite his extraordinary breath support, there are a few moments where phrases are cut short—perhaps the cost of pressurizing the tone, which gleams like that of a fine lyrico-spinto tenor. Too, “Ma in altr’uom qui mi cangio!” is taken too loudly, against the meaning of the words and the clear influence of Gilda in the music. But these are minor blemishes in a fine reading from what must have been among the great Rigolettos to grace the stage.

Symposium includes eight excerpts from Ruffo’s Rigoletto, but there’s far more to enjoy, as well. At one end of the spectrum is his “Largo al factotum” from 1906, delightfully fluent in its patter, and richly colorful in its evocations “colla donnetta” and “col cavaliere,” despite some out-of-sync calls for “Ehi, Figaro!” (The duet “Dunque io son” from 1907 contains some good coloratura as well, more effective than many contemporary baritones even in our age of glorious bel canto revival.) His Falstaff (1921) is not a natural, being too young a knight, not vocally fat enough; but the section from the Honor Soliloquy starting with “Può l’onore riempirvi la pancia?” is delightful in its sarcasm and variety of color.

Elsewhere, the opening of his “Era la notte” (1914, with Caruso; it continues into “Si, pel ciel”) is delicate and nicely solicitous. If much else here and in “Credo in un dio crudel” (1920) is generalized in effect, both are extraordinary for sheer magnificence of sound. The same can be said for the unaccompanied “All’erta marinar” (1915), as splendid a piece of perfectly placed voice and full-bodied resonance as any I’ve ever heard. There are vintage singers who have been accused of not giving their all before the phonographic horn, but not Ruffo.

A few of the baritone’s electrics are included, as well. The best of these is probably “Nemico della patria,” which still gives a sense of the power of the voice and its range of color despite a dryness that might have been as much a product of aging as it was of any fault in method. There is no evidence in it of a loosening in the natural vibrato, which one might expect from the kind of trumpet-like squillo that Ruffo worked hard for.

As in past Symposium releases, the best copies possible are used with minimal interference in the re-recording process. Decent liner notes are provided, and the disc length is, as usual, exemplary. What else is necessary to add? Only this: if you want to hear one of the greatest Verdi baritones in recorded history, and discover for yourself what today’s crop of singers should aim for, look no further.

FANFARE: Barry Brenesal
Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
L'Africaine: Adamastor, roi des vagues by Giacomo Meyerbeer
Performer:  Titta Ruffo (Baritone)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1865; France 
Length: 4 Minutes 0 Secs. 
2.
Rigoletto: Pari siamo by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Titta Ruffo (Baritone)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1851; Italy 
Length: 3 Minutes 54 Secs. 
3.
Rigoletto: Deh, non parlare al misero by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Giuseppina Finzi-Magrini (Soprano), Titta Ruffo (Baritone)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1851; Italy 
Length: 3 Minutes 50 Secs. 
4.
Rigoletto: Veglia, o donna, questo fiore by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Maria Galvany (Soprano), Titta Ruffo (Baritone)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1851; Italy 
Length: 2 Minutes 39 Secs. 
5.
Rigoletto: Povero Rigoletto...Cortigiani, vil razza dannata! by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Titta Ruffo (Baritone)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1851; Italy 
6.
Otello: Credo in un Dio crudel by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Titta Ruffo (Baritone)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1887; Italy 
Length: 4 Minutes 35 Secs. 
7.
Falstaff: L'onore! Ladri! "Ford's Monologue" by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Titta Ruffo (Baritone)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1893; Italy 
8.
Nabucco: Tremin gl'insani del mio furore by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Titta Ruffo (Baritone)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1842; Italy 
Length: 2 Minutes 43 Secs. 
9.
La damnation de Faust, Op. 24: Devant la maison "Serenade" by Hector Berlioz
Performer:  Titta Ruffo (Baritone)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1845-1846; France 
Length: 2 Minutes 8 Secs. 
10.
Il barbiere di Siviglia: Largo al factotum by Gioachino Rossini
Performer:  Titta Ruffo (Baritone)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1816; Italy 
Length: 4 Minutes 13 Secs. 
11.
Il barbiere di Siviglia: Dunque io son la fortunata by Gioachino Rossini
Performer:  Maria Galvany (Soprano), Titta Ruffo (Baritone)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1816; Italy 
Length: 3 Minutes 50 Secs. 
12.
L'Africaine: Hola! Matelots by Giacomo Meyerbeer
Performer:  Titta Ruffo (Baritone)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1865; Germany 
Length: 1 Minutes 46 Secs. 
13.
Rigoletto: Povero Rigoletto...Cortigiani, vil razza dannata! by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Titta Ruffo (Baritone)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1851; Italy 
Length: 3 Minutes 32 Secs. 
14.
Rigoletto: Miei signori, perdono by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Titta Ruffo (Baritone)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1851; Italy 
Length: 2 Minutes 54 Secs. 
15.
Rigoletto: Tutte le feste...Piangi, fanciulla by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Titta Ruffo (Baritone), Maria Galvany (Soprano)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1851; Italy 
Length: 3 Minutes 27 Secs. 
16.
Rigoletto: Si, vendetta! by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Titta Ruffo (Baritone), Maria Galvany (Soprano)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1851; Italy 
Length: 2 Minutes 17 Secs. 
17.
Rigoletto: Lassù in cielo by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Graziella Pareto (Soprano), Titta Ruffo (Baritone)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1851; Italy 
Length: 4 Minutes 17 Secs. 
18.
Otello: Era la notte by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Titta Ruffo (Baritone), Enrico Caruso (Tenor)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1887; Italy 
Length: 8 Minutes 31 Secs. 
19.
Falstaff: L'onore! Ladri! "Ford's Monologue" by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Titta Ruffo (Baritone)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1893; Italy 
Length: 3 Minutes 44 Secs. 
20.
Cristoforo Colombo: Aman lassù le stelle by Alberto Franchetti
Performer:  Titta Ruffo (Baritone)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1892; Italy 
Length: 3 Minutes 48 Secs. 
21.
Cristoforo Colombo: Dunque ho sognato by Alberto Franchetti
Performer:  Titta Ruffo (Baritone)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1892; Italy 
Length: 4 Minutes 47 Secs. 
22.
La Bohème: O Mimì, tu più non torni by Giacomo Puccini
Performer:  Beniamino Gigli (Tenor), Titta Ruffo (Baritone)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1896; Italy 
Length: 4 Minutes 33 Secs. 
23.
Andrea Chénier: Nemico della patria by Umberto Giordano
Performer:  Titta Ruffo (Baritone)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1896; Italy 
Length: 4 Minutes 1 Secs. 

Sound Samples

L' Africaine (The African Maid) (Sung in Italian): L' Africaine (The African Maid), Act III: All'erta, marinar! (Sung in Italian)
La damnation de Faust, Op. 24 (Sung in Italian): La damnation de Faust, Op. 24: E che tu qui (Sung in Italian)
Il barbiere di Siviglia (The Barber of Seville): Act I: Largo al factotum
Il barbiere di Siviglia (The Barber of Seville): Act I: Dunque io son
Nabucco: Act I: Tremin gl'insani del mio
Rigoletto: Act I: Pari siamo
Rigoletto: Act I: Deh, non parlare al misero
Rigoletto: Act I: Ah! veglio, o donna
Rigoletto: Act II: Povera ... Cortigiani, vil razza
Rigoletto: Act II: Miei signori
Rigoletto: Act II: Piangi, piangi, fanciulla
Rigoletto: Act II: Si vendetta
Rigoletto: Act III: Lassu in ciel
Otello*: Act II: Credo in un Dio crudel
Otello*: Act II: Era la notte
Falstaff: Act I: L'onore! Ladri!
Cristoforo Colombo (Christopher Columbus): Act II: Aman lassu le stelle
Cristoforo Colombo (Christopher Columbus): Act II: Dunque ho sognato?
L' Africaine (The African Maid) (Sung in Italian): L' Africaine (The African Maid), Act III: Adamastor, roi des vagues profondes (Sung in Italian)
La boheme: Act IV: O Mimi, tu piu non torni
Andrea Chenier: Act III: Nemico della Patria

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