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Irma Gonzalez: En Vivo, 1945-1965

Puccini / Mascagni / Leoncavallo / Giordano
Release Date: 01/25/2011 
Label:  Urtext   Catalog #: 189   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Giacomo PucciniPietro MascagniRuggero LeoncavalloUmberto Giordano,   ... 
Performer:  Irma GonzalezPlacido DomingoGiuseppe Di StefanoOralia Dominguez,   ... 
Conductor:  Oliviero de FabritiisSalvador OchoaCarlo Felice CillarioAnton Guadagno,   ... 
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Mono 
Length: 2 Hours 22 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews



IRMA GONZÁLEZ LIVE Irma González (s); 1 Plácido Domingo, 2 Giuseppe di Stefano, 5 Jon Vickers (tn); 3 Oralia Dominguez, 4 Aurora Woodrow (ms); various cond & O URTEXT 189/90, mono (2 CDs: 141: 42) Live: 1945–65


Read more class="COMPOSER12">PUCCINI Madama Butterfly: Che tua madre; Con onor muore. La Bohème: Si, mi chiamano Mimi; Donde lieta usci; Quando m’en vo. Manon Lescaut: In quelle trine morbide. Tosca: Vissi d’arte; 1 O dolci mani. Turandot: Signore, ascolta. MASCAGNI L’Amico Fritz: Son pocchi fiori. LEONCAVALLO Pagliacci: Ballatella. GIORDANO Andrea Chenier: 2 Vicino a te. BOITO Mefistofele: L’altra notte; Spunta l’aurora pallida. BELLINI Norma: 3 Mira, o Norma. MASSENET Manon: Adieu, notre petite table; N’est-ce plus ma main. Hérodiade: Il est doux, il est bon. BIZET Carmen: Je dis que rien. TCHAIKOVSKY Maid of Orleans: Adieu, forêts. VERDI La Traviata: Addio del passato. Aida: O patria mia. Requiem: 4 Recordare. Otello: 5 Già nella notte densa; Era più calmo? … Piangea cantando; Ave Maria. La Forza del Destino: Pace, pace mio Dio. VARIOUS Songs from Meet Me in St. Louis


The long, sad list of exceptional singers who made few or no commercial recordings, from Jean de Reszke to Gilda Cruz-Romo, is now extended by these remarkable live performances over a span of 20 years by Mexican soprano Irma González. Previously, she had appeared on one V-Disc (a Spanish song) and a live performance of the Beethoven Ninth Symphony conducted by Bruno Walter, though there exists one commercial recording: songs by Manuel Ponce and Silvestre Revueltas. This two-CD set of broadcasts and live performances, then, fills a void and introduces us to an operatic soprano of remarkable achievement and artistry. The comparison to Cruz-Romo is especially apt. Like Cruz-Romo, González sang everything from Mozart to Verdi and Puccini, and also like Cruz-Romo, González was more than just a voice, she was an exciting, musical, and consummate artist.


When she made her debut in 1939, Giuseppe di Stefano had not yet sung in public, Jon Vickers had not begun vocal lessons, and Plácido Domingo had not been born, yet she sang with all of them—and with Ezio Pinza, Cesare Valletti, Mario del Monaco, Cesare Siepi, Giulietta Simionato, Grace Bumbry, Ettore Bastianini, Sherrill Milnes, Oralia Dominguez, Boris Christoff, Richard Tucker, and Giuseppe Taddei. There’s a remarkable 1980 video (in color) on YouTube of her singing “In questa reggia” from Turandot, at age 64, with a wonderful Calaf named David Portilla. She worked with such conductors as Kleiber, Klemperer, Ansermet, Casals, Walter, Beecham, and Markevitch. Her voice combined the rich, creamy colors of Renata Tebaldi with the brilliant high range of Marisa Galvany, but she was a more intense interpreter than the former and a more musical and finished vocalist than the latter. In short, she had it all. As a teacher, her most famous pupil was tenor Francisco Araiza. She died in 2008 at the age of 92.


By and large, the singing on this two-CD set is simply extraordinary. It takes one’s breath away. The final phrases of “Vissi d’arte,” for instance, are sung exactly as written, without the usual breaks or distortions that sopranos “traditionally” throw into it. The “Recordare” from the Verdi Requiem, with the little-known mezzo Aurora Woodrow, shows off her melting legato; the Ballatella from Pagliacci and “L’altra notte” from Mefistofele display a fine trill. “O patria mia” showcases her faultless line and extremely musical phrasing. Only once, for me, does she disappoint: Her “Addio del passato” is the healthiest- sounding performance I’ve ever heard, too loud and too insensitive to text. Not bad for a soprano you’ve never heard of before.


Considering that this is a Mexican production, the transfers are fairly good. At least some attempt was made to remove some of the surface noise, but not much, and the high notes are somewhat distorted in places depending on the quality of the original. On CD 2, there are also four errors in transfer: The Hérodiade aria is pitched a whole tone too high, Micaela’s aria from Carmen a quarter-tone too low, “Adieu, forêts” a half-tone high, and the “Recordare” a half-tone low, but when the sound is clear and full, with no distortion or blasting, you can hear the voice in all its glory. The bonus track comes from 1945, when González traveled to New York to record as soundtrack double to Judy Garland in the Mexican version of Meet Me in St. Louis, oddly renamed The Wheel of Fortune. Not too surprisingly, the best conducting comes from the well-known names here: Oliviero de Fabritiis, Carlo Felice Cellario, Anton Guadagno, and Igor Markevitch. The lavish booklet is full of interesting photos, including one with a baby-faced, 21-year-old Domingo, but alas, the text is only in Spanish. Full recording data is on the inside back cover. If you are a lover of outstanding vocal art, this has to be the surprise issue of the year.


FANFARE: Lynn René Bayley
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Works on This Recording

1. Madama Butterfly: Che tua madre dovrà by Giacomo Puccini
Performer:  Irma Gonzalez ()
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1904 
Date of Recording: 1949 
Venue:  Live  Radiodifusora XEW 
Length: 2 Minutes 46 Secs. 
2. Madama Butterfly: Con onor muore by Giacomo Puccini
Performer:  Irma Gonzalez ()
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1904; Italy 
Date of Recording: 1949 
Venue:  Live  Radiodifusora XEW 
Length: 2 Minutes 55 Secs. 
3. La Bohème: Si, mi chiamano Mimì by Giacomo Puccini
Performer:  Irma Gonzalez ()
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1896; Italy 
Date of Recording: 1945 
Venue:  Live  Radiodifusora XEQ 
Length: 4 Minutes 51 Secs. 
4. La Bohème: Donde lieta uscì by Giacomo Puccini
Performer:  Irma Gonzalez ()
Conductor:  Oliviero de Fabritiis
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1896; Italy 
Date of Recording: 06/20/1953 
Venue:  Live  Palacio De Bellas Artes 
Length: 3 Minutes 11 Secs. 
5. La Bohème: Quanto men 'vo by Giacomo Puccini
Performer:  Irma Gonzalez ()
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1896; Italy 
Date of Recording: 1945 
Venue:  Live  Radiodifusora XEQ 
Length: 2 Minutes 32 Secs. 
6. Manon Lescaut: In quelle trine morbide by Giacomo Puccini
Performer:  Irma Gonzalez ()
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1893; Italy 
Date of Recording: 1945 
Venue:  Live  Radiodifusora XEQ 
Length: 2 Minutes 33 Secs. 
7. Tosca: Vissi d'arte, vissi d'amore by Giacomo Puccini
Performer:  Irma Gonzalez (), Placido Domingo ()
Conductor:  Salvador Ochoa
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1900; Italy 
Date of Recording: 09/30/1965 
Venue:  Live  Palacio De Bellas Artes 
Length: 3 Minutes 55 Secs. 
8. Tosca: Ah! Franchigia...O dolci mani by Giacomo Puccini
Performer:  Irma Gonzalez (), Placido Domingo ()
Conductor:  Salvador Ochoa
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1900; Italy 
Date of Recording: 09/30/1965 
Venue:  Live  Palacio De Bellas Artes 
Length: 10 Minutes 47 Secs. 
9. Turandot: Signore, ascolta by Giacomo Puccini
Performer:  Irma Gonzalez ()
Conductor:  Carlo Felice Cillario
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1926; Italy 
Date of Recording: 09/08/1960 
Venue:  Live  Palacio De Bellas Artes 
Length: 2 Minutes 56 Secs. 
10. L'Amico Fritz: Son pochi fiori by Pietro Mascagni
Performer:  Irma Gonzalez ()
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1891; Italy 
Date of Recording: 1948 
Venue:  Live  Radiodifusora XEX 
Length: 4 Minutes 0 Secs. 
11. I Pagliacci: Qual fiamma avea nel guardo by Ruggero Leoncavallo
Performer:  Irma Gonzalez ()
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1892; Italy 
Date of Recording: 1948 
Venue:  Live  Radiodifusora XEX 
Length: 5 Minutes 0 Secs. 
12. Andrea Chénier: Vicino a te by Umberto Giordano
Performer:  Giuseppe Di Stefano (), Irma Gonzalez ()
Conductor:  Anton Guadagno
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1896; Italy 
Date of Recording: 08/15/1961 
Venue:  Live  Palacio De Bellas Artes 
Length: 7 Minutes 8 Secs. 
13. Norma: Mira, o Norma by Vincenzo Bellini
Performer:  Oralia Dominguez (), Irma Gonzalez ()
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1831; Italy 
Date of Recording: 1948 
Venue:  Live  Radiodifusora XEX 
Length: 5 Minutes 55 Secs. 
14. Manon: Allons...Adieu notre petite table by Jules Massenet
Performer:  Irma Gonzalez ()
Period: Post-Romantic 
Written: 1882-1883; France 
Date of Recording: 1949 
Venue:  Live  Radiodifusora XEW 
Length: 4 Minutes 5 Secs. 
15. Manon: N'est-ce plus ma main by Jules Massenet
Performer:  Irma Gonzalez ()
Period: Post-Romantic 
Written: 1882-1883; France 
Date of Recording: 1949 
Venue:  Live  Radiodifusora XEW 
Length: 3 Minutes 51 Secs. 
16. Hérodiade: Il est doux, il est bon by Jules Massenet
Performer:  Irma Gonzalez ()
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1881; France 
Date of Recording: 1949 
Venue:  Live  Radiodifusora XEW 
Length: 3 Minutes 39 Secs. 
17. Carmen: Je dis que rien ne m'épouvante "Micaëla's Aria" by Georges Bizet
Performer:  Irma Gonzalez ()
Conductor:  Anton Guadagno
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1873-1874; France 
Date of Recording: 10/03/1963 
Venue:  Live  Palacio De Bellas Artes 
Length: 7 Minutes 2 Secs. 
18. La traviata: Addio del passato by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Irma Gonzalez ()
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1853; Italy 
Date of Recording: 1949 
Venue:  Live  Radiodifusora XEW 
Length: 2 Minutes 40 Secs. 
19. Aida: O patria mia by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Irma Gonzalez ()
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1871; Italy 
Date of Recording: 1949 
Venue:  Live  Radiodifusora XEW 
Length: 4 Minutes 35 Secs. 
20. Requiem Mass: Recordare by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Irma Gonzalez (), Aurora Woodrow ()
Conductor:  Igor Markevitch
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1874; Italy 
Date of Recording: 06/21/1957 
Venue:  Live  Palacio De Bellas Artes 
Length: 4 Minutes 45 Secs. 
21. Otello: Già nella notte densa by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Dora de la Pena (), Jon Vickers (), Irma Gonzalez ()
Conductor:  Carlo Felice Cillario
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1887; Italy 
Date of Recording: 08/31/1965 
Venue:  Live  Palacio De Bellas Artes 
Length: 10 Minutes 28 Secs. 
22. Otello: Piangea cantando "Willow Song" by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Dora de la Pena (), Irma Gonzalez ()
Conductor:  Carlo Felice Cillario
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1887; Italy 
Date of Recording: 08/31/1965 
Venue:  Live  Palacio De Bellas Artes 
Length: 10 Minutes 19 Secs. 
23. Ave Maria by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Dora de la Pena (), Irma Gonzalez ()
Conductor:  Carlo Felice Cillario
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1880; Italy 
Date of Recording: 08/31/1965 
Venue:  Live  Palacio De Bellas Artes 
Length: 4 Minutes 23 Secs. 
24. La forza del destino: Pace, pace, mio Dio by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Irma Gonzalez ()
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1862/1869; Italy 
Date of Recording: 1949 
Venue:  Live  Radiodifusora XEW 
Length: 5 Minutes 25 Secs. 
25. Radio Broadcast of Irma Gonzalez by Recorded Sound
Performer:  Irma Gonzalez ()
Date of Recording: 1945 
Venue:  Live  Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios, Culver City 
Length: 10 Minutes 17 Secs. 
26. Maid of Orleans: Adieu, forêts by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Performer:  Irma Gonzalez ()
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1878-1879; Russia 
Date of Recording: 1949 
Venue:  Live  Radiodifusora XEW 
Length: 4 Minutes 29 Secs. 
27. Mefistofele: L'altra notte by Arrigo Boito
Performer:  Irma Gonzalez ()
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1868-1875 
Date of Recording: 1949 
Venue:  Live  Radiodifusora XEW 
Length: 4 Minutes 27 Secs. 
28. Mefistofele: Spunta l'aurora pallida by Arrigo Boito
Performer:  Irma Gonzalez ()
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1868-1875 
Date of Recording: 1949 
Venue:  Live  Radiodifusora XEW 
Length: 2 Minutes 59 Secs. 

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