Prima Voce - Great Singers In Donizetti

Release Date: 6/23/1998
Label: Nimbus
Catalog Number: NI7892-3
Number of Discs: 2

Physical Format:

CD
In Stock
$18.99
Notes and Editorial Reviews
This is an interesting, if uneven, collection of Donizetti arias and duets comprising nineteen acoustic and eleven electrical recordings spanning forty years. The bias here seems to be towards singers more familiar to, and more according to the taste of, British collectors. This is so much so that certain choices are, to say the least, eccentric. I wonder, for example, who decided that the duet from “Lucia di Lammermoor” by Pertile and Anna Rosza merited inclusion, given that he is so stylistically inept and incongruous and she so dull and droopy. Or who opted for the tame and indifferently sung 1947 account of “Cheti, cheti, immantinente” when we might have had the celebrated 1907 version by Giuseppe de Luca and Ferruccio Corradetti? There is no Sembrich, no Renaud, no Galli-Curci, no Pini-Corsi, and a case might be made for the inclusion of many another singer omitted here – but that is in the nature of compilations and there are still many treasures to enjoy amid some less than stellar performances.
 
After so many lighter tenors with sometimes comically tremulous vibratos such as Albani and Anselmi, it is certainly a pleasure to stumble across the dark, velvety tenor of Alfred Piccaver and the virile, metallic voice of Giovanni Martinelli – but no voice is more stentorian than that of the delightful and redoubtable six-foot-contralto Dame Clara Butt in the showpiece “Il segreto”, unless it is the rounded splendour of great French bass Marcel Journet, who is given two arias in which to display his chestnut tones. Lovely, too, to hear a great bronze-voiced baritone like Riccardo Stracciari rein in his vibrant tone to sing with restraint and elegance in “Vien, Leonora” from “La favorita”, just occasionally allowing a veiled passion to emerge through the intensity of his mezza di voce. It is also good to hear the sixty-five-year-old Matti Battistini, still extraordinarily elegant yet also sounding almost improvisational in his freedom with the notes and text without being wilful. His elder by three years but recorded much earlier is baritone Franceso Navarrini, who has slightly laboured top notes but is a model of Donizettian comedic style. I cannot say the same for the aria which opens the disc; Mario Stabile’s dim rendering of “Cruda funesta smania” is in rather nasal style and indulges in clumsy rallentandi. Matters pick up with the extraordinary pure, piping, disembodied coloratura of Luisa Tetrazzini as Lucia. She balances the brilliance of her top notes by drawing on a salty lower register. However, it is not she but Toti dal Monte who gets the lion’s share of soprano arias on this compilation, including the extended Mad Scene from “Lucia di Lammermoor”. One of the great delights of this double disc is her famous collaboration with the grainy, satinate tenor of Tito Schipa, who also contributes a melting “Una furtive lagrima”. There is both aesthetic and curiosity value in hearing the thirty-year-old Lauri-Volpi intone “Spirto gentil” rather strenuously – but he is another tenor whose youthful voice was characterised by so marked a vibrato that it sits ill with some modern ears; I much prefer the smoother, burnished tenor of Renato Zanelli in which you may still hear his baritone roots. Sigrid Onegin sings “O mio Fernando” in stately fashion but makes little dramatic impact.
 
The concluding extended duet which brings down the curtain on “Lucia” is evidently meant to represent the climax to this two-disc gala. I am afraid that I am one of those who does not really respond to Gigli in lachrymose vein. That said, I realise that I am in a minority here and others will revel in it. This is especially the case as he is paired with perhaps the greatest Italian bass ever, Ezio Pinza. He is also allocated a majestic aria from “La favorita”, “Splendon più bello”, which he sings with his customary grave authority and richness of timbre.
 
Transfers are as good as ever from Nimbus.
 
This set represents a pleasing, if slightly obtuse and incomplete survey of Donizetti singing from the first part of the twentieth century.  


Ralph Moore, MusicWeb International
Works on This Recording
1. Lucia di Lammermoor: Cruda, funesta smania...La pietade by Gaetano Donizetti
Performer: Mariano Stabile (Baritone)
Period: Romantic
Written: 1835 ; Naples, Italy
2. Lucia di Lammermoor: Regnava nel silenzio by Gaetano Donizetti
Performer: Luisa Tetrazzini (Soprano)
Period: Romantic
Written: 1835 ; Italy
3. Lucia di Lammermoor: Quando rapito in estasi by Gaetano Donizetti
Performer: Luisa Tetrazzini (Soprano)
Period: Romantic
Written: 1835 ; Italy
4. Lucia di Lammermoor: Dalle stanze, ove Lucia tratta avea by Gaetano Donizetti
Performer: Marcel Journet (Bass)
Period: Romantic
Written: 1835 ; Italy
5. Linda di Chamounix: O luce di quest' anima by Gaetano Donizetti
Performer: Rosina Storchio (Soprano)
Period: Romantic
Written: 1842 ; Italy
6. Lucrezia Borgia: Di pescatore ignobile by Gaetano Donizetti
Performer: Carlo Albani (Tenor)
Period: Romantic
Written: 1833 ; Italy
7. Lucrezia Borgia: Vieni la mia vendetta by Gaetano Donizetti
Performer: Francesco Navarini (Bass)
Period: Romantic
Written: 1833 ; Italy
8. Lucrezia Borgia: Il segreto per esser felice "Brindisi" by Gaetano Donizetti
Performer: Dame Clara Butt (Alto)
Period: Romantic
Written: 1833 ; Italy
9. Don Pasquale: Sogno soave e casto by Gaetano Donizetti
Performer: Giuseppe Anselmi (Tenor)
Period: Romantic
Written: 1843 ; Italy
10. Don Pasquale: Quel guardo il cavaliere...So anch'io la virtù by Gaetano Donizetti
Performer: Olimpia Boronat (Soprano)
Period: Romantic
Written: 1843 ; Italy
11. Don Pasquale: Pronta io son by Gaetano Donizetti
Performer: Lucrezia Bori (Soprano), Giuseppe de Luca (Baritone)
Period: Romantic
Written: 1843 ; Italy
12. Don Pasquale: Com' è gentil by Gaetano Donizetti
Performer: Giovanni Martinelli (Tenor)
Orchestra/Ensemble: Metropolitan Opera Chorus
Period: Romantic
Written: 1843 ; Italy
13. L'Elisir d'Amore: Chiedi all' aura lusinghiera by Gaetano Donizetti
Performer: Aristodemo Giorgini (Tenor), Maria Galvany (Soprano)
Period: Romantic
Written: 1832 ; Italy
14. L'Elisir d'Amore: Obbligato! son felice! son contento! by Gaetano Donizetti
Performer: Fernando de Lucia (Tenor), Ernesto Badini (Baritone)
Period: Romantic
Written: 1832 ; Italy
15. Maria di Rudenz: Ah! Non avea piu lagrime by Gaetano Donizetti
Performer: Mattia Battistini (Baritone)
Period: Romantic
Written: 1838 ; Venice, Italy
16. La Favorita: Vien, Leonora, a piedi tuoi by Gaetano Donizetti
Performer: Riccardo Stracciari (Baritone)
Period: Romantic
Written: 1840 ; Italy
17. La Favorita: Il nome del Pastor by Gaetano Donizetti
Performer: Marcel Journet (Bass)
Period: Romantic
Written: 1840 ; Italy
18. La Favorita: A tanto amor, Leonora by Gaetano Donizetti
Performer: Renato Zanelli (Baritone)
Period: Romantic
Written: 1840 ; Italy
19. La Favorita: Spirto gentil by Gaetano Donizetti
Performer: Giacomo Lauri-Volpi (Tenor)
Written: 1843 ;
20. Dom Sébastien: Deserto in terra by Gaetano Donizetti
Performer: Alfred Piccaver (Tenor)
Period: Romantic
Written: 1843 ; France
21. La fille du régiment: Il faut partir by Gaetano Donizetti
Performer: Toti Dal Monte (Soprano)
Period: Romantic
Written: 1840 ; Italy
22. L'Elisir d'Amore: Udite, o rustici by Gaetano Donizetti
Performer: Salvatore Baccaloni (Bass)
Period: Romantic
Written: 1832 ; Italy
23. L'Elisir d'Amore: Una furtiva lagrima by Gaetano Donizetti
Performer: Tito Schipa (Tenor)
Period: Romantic
Written: 1832 ; Italy
24. Don Pasquale: Cheti, immantinente...Aspetta, cara sposina by Gaetano Donizetti
Performer: Martin [Classical] Lawrence (Bass), Mariano Stabile (Baritone)
Conductor: Alberto Erede
Period: Romantic
Written: 1843 ; Italy
25. Don Pasquale: Tornami a dir by Gaetano Donizetti
Performer: Tito Schipa (Tenor), Toti Dal Monte (Soprano)
Conductor: Franco Ghione
Orchestra/Ensemble: Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra
Period: Romantic
Written: 1843 ; Italy
26. La Favorita: Una vergine, un angiol di Dio by Gaetano Donizetti
Performer: Aureliano Pertile (Tenor)
Period: Romantic
Written: 1840 ; Italy
27. La Favorita: O mio Fernando by Gaetano Donizetti
Performer: Sigrid Onegin (Alto)
Period: Romantic
Written: 1840 ; Italy
28. La Favorita: Splendon più belle by Gaetano Donizetti
Performer: Ezio Pinza (Bass)
Conductor: Giulio Setti
Period: Romantic
Written: 1840 ; Italy
29. Lucia di Lammermoor: Sulla tomba che rinserra...Verranno a te by Gaetano Donizetti
Performer: Aureliano Pertile (Tenor), Anna Rozsa (Soprano)
Conductor: Carlo Sabajno
Orchestra/Ensemble: Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra
Period: Romantic
Written: 1835 ; Italy
30. Lucia di Lammermoor: Ardon gl'incensi "Mad Scene" by Gaetano Donizetti
Performer: Toti Dal Monte (Soprano)
Period: Romantic
Written: 1835 ; Italy
31. Lucia di Lammermoor: Fra poco a me ricovero by Gaetano Donizetti
Performer: Beniamino Gigli (Tenor), Ezio Pinza (Bass)
Conductor: Giulio Setti
Period: Romantic
Written: 1835 ; Italy
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