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Subject: Re: Tebaldi Aida under Karajan
From: Michael McPherson <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Michael McPherson <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Mon, 26 Sep 2016 17:05:39 -0400
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Bob,

Unless I am completely losing it — which is a definite possibility — I recall being in Vienna the summer of 1959 and going to the opera to hear Aida with Tebaldi singing. I am positive I heard that she either had just recorded it in Vienna or was about to.

Michael

Michael J. McPherson
[log in to unmask]




> On Sep 26, 2016, at 3:16 PM, Bob Rideout <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> 
> Hi Les and list
> 
> There are a number of conflicting statements about this recording, including
> the dates. I have seen 1957, several sources that claim 58' and others that
> say 59.  I would be very grateful to know definitively which, among them, is
> correct. In the absence of other firm evidence I'm going to assume that Max
> is correct and that it was recorded in the latter part of 1959.
> 
> What makes it important, you may ask. Well, as Max pointed out, if it was
> in late 59, it was the very last time she ever performed the role. There was
> a performance at Paris in June of 59, and that, I'm almost certain, was the
> last time she ever sang it on stage. Those things are important to those who
> honor operatic history, and Renata Tebaldi holds an enormously important
> place in that very large book! It would be nice to know, for which, my
> thanks.
> 
> Bob
> 
> On Monday, September 26, 2016, Les Mitnick <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> 
>> Bob:
>> You're right about Simionato on the Tokyo performance. I own it and love
>> it. Simionato sounds like Simionato and burns up the place. Tucci is
>> excellent also. I don't know why she didn't enjoy a bigger career. If I
>> remember, she started to experience vocal problems kind of early. I've got
>> some great Aidas, and this is one of the most ones. Still, I'm going to
>> gibe my VonKarajan/Tebaldi another listen. I also must confess that while
>> Aida may not be Callas' ideal role, I find her exciting and wonderful in
>> her 1851 Mexico City recording (with that stupendous top E flat!) as well
>> as on her EMI recording (the high C in "O Patria Mia" be damned!). By the
>> way, Oralia Dominguez was a great and powerful Amneris (kind of reminds me
>> of Anna Magnani!) and she can hold her own more than grandly alongside of
>> Callas.
>> I admire Tebaldi, but I'm not sure that Aida was really intended for her
>> voice, though she sang it a lot in the beginning of her career
>> ------------- but abruptly dropped it after 1959, and with good reason.
>> Les
>> 
>> 
>> ----- Original Message -----
>> 
>> From: "Bob Rideout" <[log in to unmask] <javascript:;>>
>> To: "OPERA-L" <[log in to unmask] <javascript:;>>
>> Sent: Monday, September 26, 2016 12:06:02 PM
>> Subject: Re: Tebaldi Aida under Karajan
>> 
>> I'll comment only on Simionato, since, overall, I really do not much
>> like this recording, especially the much too loud orchestra, and the
>> often out of tune Tebaldi. The oft asserted observation that it's only
>> the top C in "O Patria Mia" is a "pants on fire" comment..
>> Enough on that!
>> 
>> Simionato strikes me as fine on this performance, but if anyone wants
>> to know just how great her Amneris could be, turn to the Aida from
>> Tokyo in 1961 with Tucci, Del Monaco and Protti under Capuana. Hers
>> is among the dozen, or so, most remarkable performances I've ever
>> heard. From the deepest chest tones, to the most brilliant tops
>> imaginable, in that music, she astounds, both musically and dramatically.
>> The Judgment Scene is truly jaw dropping!
>> 
>> Tucci is a wonderful Aida, with superb pianissimi, and the men are fine.
>> It is a very impressive recording, overall.
>> 
>> The sound, as preserved on the Frequenz label, is superb, studio quality,
>> more or less.
>> 
>> I know Simionato's Amneris from a number of revivals,, but this one
>> is in a place apart. If you are a fan, treat yourself to the best. It cost
>> me
>> about seven bucks twenty years ago. I doubt it's even that much these
>> days.
>> 
>> Bob
>> 
>> On Monday, September 26, 2016, Maxwell Paley <[log in to unmask]
>> <javascript:;>> wrote:
>> 
>>> Different strokes for different folks. The recorded sound has always been
>>> spectacular on whatever system I’ve had to play it on. I first bought it
>>> in the late 1960’s on Ampex 4-track open reel tape and the sheer dynamic
>>> range and sense of depth and space were incredible.
>>> 
>>> I never heard anything puny about Simionato as reproduced here and being
>>> able to really hear how she and Tebaldi soar over the massed chorus and
>>> orchestra, in a way that’s very different from recordings that put the
>>> singers up close, is a great thrill.
>>> 
>>> I think the orchestra is so important in this work that I’d have a hard
>>> time recommending as first choice a recording that doesn’t have first
>> rate
>>> stereo sound. While the Rome Opera Orchestra is no match for the Vienna
>>> Philharmonic, Solti does get much better playing and precision out of
>> them
>>> than most conductors.
>>> 
>>> In overall approach, probably the closest thing to getting Toscanini with
>>> (somewhat) better singers is the commercial Abbado set, although
>>> Ricciarelli’s unsteadiness is a weak spot. To me, though, even worn and
>>> frayed Obraztsova is better than Eva Gustavson. But the framework Abbado
>>> provides reminds me a great deal of Toscanini. There’s also, from about a
>>> decade earlier, the live Abbado (in good stereo) from the Scala tour in
>>> Munich which has an Aida (Arroyo) whose voice is more suitable, if you
>> can
>>> put up with her constant lagging behind the beat.
>>> 
>>> Max Paley
>>> 
>>>> On Sep 25, 2016, at 12:39 PM, Les Mitnick <[log in to unmask]
>> <javascript:;>
>>> <javascript:;>> wrote:
>>>> 
>>>> I've long had mixed feelings about this particular Aida recording, for
>>> what I think are valid reasons. The real bone of contention for me is the
>>> manner in which it was recorded. I understand what John Culshaw was
>> aiming
>>> for, and of course it is natural that the orchestra be placed in front of
>>> the singers. All well and good. However, when a voice like Simionato's
>>> comes off sounding like Cherubino, something is definitely wrong. Amneris
>>> was one of her greatest roles, and there are many live recordings which
>>> substantiate that (not only that early Cetra recording either). Carlo
>>> Berganzi produces a beautiful lyrical tone, but in no way does he sound
>>> like Radames. His singing is beautiful and refined, however, and he
>>> certainly fits well into Von Karajan's conception of the opera. I don't
>>> find Tebaldi as much of a problem as I used to in this recording, though
>>> she sounds like Mimi instead of Aida. That she experiences difficulties
>>> with the top C in "O Patria Mia" is not surprising. Her pitch sags badly,
>>> and she relinquishes the note pretty quickly. Her high B flats in the
>> Tomb
>>> Scene are hardly any better. Despite the number of times she performed
>> it,
>>> I wonder whether Tebaldi's voice was really intended for this role to
>> begin
>>> with, though her opulent singing in the middle register is always
>> beautiful
>>> and creamy.
>>>> What I DO admire this recording tremendously for is the way Von
>>> Karajan's orchestra plays the orchestral accompaniment. The strings and
>>> brass are incredible. If I were left to choose only one recording of this
>>> opera, it would have to be the Milanov/Bjoerling/Barbieri version on RCA,
>>> (now newly remastered). And probably the Price/Vickers/Gorr under Solti.
>>>> 
>>>> 
>>>> 
>>>> ----- Original Message -----
>>> 
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