Tonight, spurred on by the ongoing FANCIULLA discussion, I was inspired enough to break my long respite of the piece, by listening to the Opera D'oro release with Renata Tebaldi, Daniele Barioni, and Gianguelmo Guelfi in the pivotal leads. It's a live performance from Rome, July 1961, conducted by Arturo Basile.
What a revelation. The opera itself is just incredible, so Puccinian, and yet unlike any other opera. I feel now like giving it a major study.
What struck me most though, was the power of Tebaldi's singing. I can't imagine a more impeccably correct voice and style than hers. Her way with this music, the natural, spontaneous manner with the accompanied "dialogue" seems so inborn and *complete* to my ears. Yes, there are some notes that go awry, but the sheer beauty of her voice and her ability to sustain soft passages without losing the body of her tone is amazing. And you can hear just how torrential the sound and size in this live recording. Tebaldi embodies the very spirit of verismo Italian singing.
Daniele Barioni, here in his youthful prime, had one of the most beautiful tenor voices to come out of Italy. Like Tebaldi, some of the very top notes are a bit on the strained side, but that God-given, Mediterranean tone is so suitable for this kind of music. Barioni's singing is blessedly unfussy, his characterization appealing. There may not be an ideal sense of nuance, but how we'd kill for such a voice today.
More report later....
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