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Rosa Ponselle - Verdi, Meyerbeer, Bellini, Ponchielli


Release Date: 05/27/2010 
Label:  Rca Victor Gold Seal Catalog #: 7810   Spars Code: ADD 
Composer:  Giuseppe VerdiGiacomo MeyerbeerGasparo SpontiniCharles Gounod,   ... 
Performer:  Rosa PonselleGiovanni MartinelliEzio PinzaRomano Romani,   ... 
Conductor:  Rosario BourdonGiulio Setti
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera ChorusMetropolitan Opera Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Mono 
Length: 1 Hours 11 Mins. 

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This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.

Notes and Editorial Reviews

Such moments as the legato of the prayer in La vestale and the beauty and control of the soft major-key phrases in La Gioconda proclaim the truth of the general verdict that at her best Ponselle stood supreme among the sopranos as Caruso did among tenors.

RCA's return to the historical field is as welcome as it is timely; timely, that is, in showing a renewed interest in their own priceless archives and, particularly with this Ponselle recital, in providing the listener with a choice. Ponselle was one of the three singers honoured by Nimbus with a complete recital devoted to her recordings in the launch of their highly publicized Prima Voce series. This (0 NI7805, 10/89) includes six items that are also to be heard on
Read more the RCA disc (seven with the Ernani aria, of which Nimbus have the pre-electrical version and RCA the better-known remake of 1928). The choice, then, lies between contents as far as the rest of the programme is concerned, and between quality of transfer throughout.

To take repertoire first; both concentrate on opera but add a few songs. The Nimbus disc scores with two charming Italian ones by De Curtis and Di Capua from 1924, rare in their original form and sung with the incomparable beauty of the young voice. RCA have two fascinating items from the series made at the singer's home in 1954, 17 years after her retirement: they are well chosen, both of them showing how much of the rich, powerful tones had survived and how vividly communicative her art had become. Among early operatic recordings Nimbus have the magnificent Nile duet from Aida with Martinelli, while RCA select the solo from L'Africaine, a glorious piece of singing and all that survives of one of Ponselle's most accomplished performances at the Metropolitan. From the later and more famous series comes the excellent "Ritorna vincitor" on RCA, so much more expressive than one tends to remember, and on Nimbus there is the Norma duet with Marion Telva. With the rival merits balanced so evenly a deciding factor might be RCA's inclusion of the final trio from La forza del destino, but Nimbus also have a place for that on their Martinelli recital (0 NI7804, 10/89), which has its own attractions as yet without competition from the American company.

What, then, of the transfers? RCA's are certainly better at picking up the consonants and at bringing the singer into sharp focus in a face-toface relationship. The Nimbus disc takes her away from us to the extent of placing her in a hall or opera house resonance—which, one could argue, is where she belongs. One of the complaints about her recordings always used to be that they are too confined and boxy: listening to the RCA transfers I see, very clearly, and in the 1939 song recordings with uncomfortable closeness, a singer in a studio, whereas with Nimbus I see a figure on the stage. Both have their advantages, and both, it should be added, very successfully lift the voice out and free from all the gubbins of the old 78rpm surfaces.

Ponselle, of course, was one of the great singers of the century, and acquisition of either of the recitals is quite likely to lead to that of the other. This will be in spite of some frustrations, for not everything in the singing is as the heart desires and she was always considered difficult to catch adequately under recording conditions. Yet the first note of "Pace, pace, mio Dio", with its long steady swell and retraction, the trill and magically light staccatos of Ernani, the legato of the prayer in La vestale, the beauty and control of the soft major-key phrases in La Gioconda: all of these moments and so many others proclaim the truth of the general verdict that at her best Ponselle stood supreme among the sopranos as Caruso did among tenors.

-- Gramophone [1/1990]
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Works on This Recording

1.
Ernani: Ernani, involami by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Rosa Ponselle (Soprano)
Conductor:  Rosario Bourdon
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1844; Italy 
Date of Recording: 06/1929 
Language: Italian 
2.
La forza del destino: Pace, pace, mio Dio by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Rosa Ponselle (Soprano)
Conductor:  Rosario Bourdon
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1862/1869; Italy 
Date of Recording: 06/1929 
Language: Italian 
3.
Aida: Ritorna vincitor! by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Rosa Ponselle (Soprano)
Conductor:  Rosario Bourdon
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1871; Italy 
Date of Recording: 03/1938 
Language: Italian 
4.
Aida: O patria mia by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Rosa Ponselle (Soprano)
Conductor:  Rosario Bourdon
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1871; Italy 
Date of Recording: 02/1926 
Language: Italian 
5.
Otello: Piangea cantando "Willow Song" by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Rosa Ponselle (Soprano)
Conductor:  Rosario Bourdon
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1887; Italy 
Date of Recording: 1924 
Language: Italian 
6.
L'Africaine: Sur mes genoux by Giacomo Meyerbeer
Performer:  Rosa Ponselle (Soprano)
Conductor:  Rosario Bourdon
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1865; Germany 
Date of Recording: 1925 
Language: Italian 
7.
La Vestale: O nume tutelar by Gasparo Spontini
Performer:  Rosa Ponselle (Soprano)
Conductor:  Rosario Bourdon
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1807; Paris, France 
Date of Recording: 05/1930 
Language: Italian 
8.
Ave Maria by Charles Gounod
Performer:  Rosa Ponselle (Soprano)
Conductor:  Rosario Bourdon
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1859; France 
Date of Recording: 03/1928 
Language: Latin 
9.
La Gioconda: Suicidio! by Amilcare Ponchielli
Performer:  Rosa Ponselle (Soprano)
Conductor:  Rosario Bourdon
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1876; Italy 
Date of Recording: 03/1926 
Language: Italian 
10.
La forza del destino: Io muoio! Confessione! by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Giovanni Martinelli (Tenor), Ezio Pinza (Bass), Rosa Ponselle (Soprano)
Conductor:  Rosario Bourdon
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1862/1869; Italy 
Date of Recording: 03/1929 
Language: Italian 
11.
Norma: Casta diva by Vincenzo Bellini
Performer:  Rosa Ponselle (Soprano)
Conductor:  Giulio Setti
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Chorus,  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1831; Italy 
Date of Recording: 07/1929 
Language: Italian 
12.
Songs (4), Op. 2: no 2, Enslaved by the rose, the nightingale by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov
Performer:  Rosa Ponselle (Soprano), Romano Romani (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1866; Russia 
Date of Recording: 1939 
Language: English 
13.
When I have sung my songs by Ernest Charles
Performer:  Rosa Ponselle (Soprano), Romano Romani (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1934; USA 
Date of Recording: 1939 
Language: English 
14.
A l'aimé by Nicholas de Fontenailles
Performer:  Rosa Ponselle (Soprano), Romano Romani (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: France 
Date of Recording: 1939 
Language: French 
15.
Amuri, amuri by Geni Sadero
Performer:  Rosa Ponselle (Soprano), Rosa Ponselle (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: Italy 
Date of Recording: 1954 
Language: Italian 
16.
Carmen-Carmela by Anonymous
Performer:  Rosa Ponselle (Soprano), Igor Chichagov (Piano)
Date of Recording: 1954 

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