Notes and Editorial Reviews
Starring Benjamino Gigli. Arias include: "Di quella pira," songs + excerpts from Rigoletto, Africana, Mignon, Favorita, Marta and Elisir (a total of four high Cs). (U.K., 1935). 73m. Dialog filmed in English (not dubbed). B&W. Includes a 24-page booklet with an analysis of Gigli's singing by Stefan Zucker plus many rare photos.
"The personality of Beniamino Gigli comes across in a video titled 'Non ti scordar di me,' distributed by Bel Canto Society, a New York organization catering to hard-core opera enthusiasts. Despite the Italian title (which means 'do not forget me'), this is an English movie, dating from the 1930s, which is interesting today primarily because Gigli (typecast as an Italian singer)
dominates the soundtrack with operatic arias, a lullaby and some Neapolitan songs, including the one that gives the movie its title and serves as the leitmotif in a simple, marginally plausible but touching love story."
- Joseph McLellan,
The Washington Post
"Of the Bel Canto Society videos I have sampled, three comprise films from the 1930s enshrining the art of Gigli (two) and Schipa (one). At that period famous singers appeared regularly in films to spread their popularity. Each shows the direct, unsophisticated appeal of these two fêted artists, suggesting the power of the tenor voice to cure most ills.
Gigli is cast twice, in his first and second films,
Non ti scordar di me (in English, despite its title) and Ave Maria (BCS Video #511), as a middle-aged singer who has recently lost his wife. In the first he marries a young girl who’s on the rebound from an affair and remains faithful to him (just) when her lover returns—again through the appeal of his voice. In the second his singing wins him the love of a cabaret artist who has been inveigled into conning him. In both Gigli has ample opportunities to deploy his art, the true, honest quality of his singing saving him and the plot from sentimentality.
One gains a wonderful idea of the disarming simplicity and generosity of the man which wholly exonerates him from a charge of ham acting. The voice itself pours out of him in that well-known, heartfelt manner, uniquely his, the honeyed mezza voce a thing to wonder at. In
Ave Maria, Erna Berger joins him in short extracts from
- Alan Blyth, GRAMOPHONE
Works on This Recording
Non ti scordar di me by Ernesto De Curtis
Erna Berger (Soprano),
Beniamino Gigli (Tenor)
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